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You're From New Zealand?!? Where is That?

Hi everyone, I’m Katie and I live in beautiful New Zealand. It’s a little island country of just 4.8 million people in the South Pacific. It really is beautiful here, some of our scenery is up there with the best in the world (think Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit / The Chronicles of Narnia type scenes) – that beautiful scenery is literally in our back yard. And yes, it is most definitely gorgeous to get out and about in, I can assure you of that!! I run and train for triathlons most days, but when I’m not swimming, biking, running, or gymming, I can be found as a Physiotherapist (a.k.a. Physical Therapist in some states in the US) at my local hospital.

Making the Connection

I first realized how important running was to my mental health when I was studying exercise psychology during my first degree. I’d been using running as a bit of an escape time since high school, but it wasn’t until it was actually pointed out to me how it helps, that I realized it already had helped me. From a mental health perspective, I’m pretty lucky. I’ve only had two episodes of major depressive disorder where I’ve needed to seek external help from pharmaceuticals and trained therapists. Both times, running and exercise have been a major part of getting back on my feet (literally and figuratively). Since then, I’ve been a major advocate of promoting mental wellness by adding regular exercise into daily regimes. I can’t tell you how excited I’ve been the last few years seeing members of my family fall in love with running too. Despite me living in a different country than them, I’ve loved being a small part of encouraging them to make positive changes in their lives.

My Training

My training goals this year were pretty short: 1. Complete my second Ironman distance triathlon and 2. Run a half marathon under 1 hour 50 minutes. The weekend before last was my unicorn race of perfect conditions combined with a race course that was perfectly suited to my strengths. With that, I was able to scrape in just below 1:50 with a watch time of 1:49:40 (apparently my official time was 1:49:39 – it must have been the 1 second I took to smile at the finish line photographer before stopping my watch). I was beyond thrilled and now have decided to work towards sub 1:45 for the half marathon distance. It must have been my lucky SIR singlet that got me there! My other goal, to complete my second Ironman distance triathlon, is actually happening in less than two weeks. On Saturday, 2 March, I will swim 3.8km / 2.4 miles, cycle 180km / 112 miles, then run a marathon 42.2km / 26.22 miles. To say I’m a bit nervous would be an understatement. I know, I know, if it’s my second that means I’ve done it before.  So yes, I know I CAN do it, however, it’s still a daunting task, despite having done it before. So that’s me in a nutshell. Besides all that, I look forward to getting you to know you all a little more through our Facebook group or on my Instagram page. See you out there!! xoxo


By Katie Bennett

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