Born to run

For some, it is a struggle just to get out of bed every morning, so when a 64-year old can put herself through a gruelling 42.195 kilometre run, it is something to be applauded.

Swan Hill's Bronwyn Leschke returning to the tree where it all started, and while the tree is yet to grow, Leschke certainly has, holding the New York Marathon medal to prove it. Picture: COHEN MORTIMER

Swan Hill's Bronwyn Leschke returning to the tree where it all started, and while the tree is yet to grow, Leschke certainly has, holding the New York Marathon medal to prove it. Picture: COHEN MORTIMER

Swan Hill's Bronwyn Leschke was one of more than 50,000 runners who managed to complete this year's New York Marathon, with a time of 4:50:19.

While there was evident exhaustion approaching the end, the scenery through all five of New York City's boroughs, including Manhattan's iconic Central Park — with each displaying their culture through music — was something to behold.

"It was a fantastic experience — it's like a magical mystery tour. I just loved it from start to finish," Leschke said.

"I was a bit wobbly nearing the end. There are lots of little hills, something you don't really get here, and approaching the finish, you start to get a little bit fatigued and start to think 'goodness, where is the finish line?' as you're going around corners.

"Then there it is and you're just ecstatic. When you cross it, it's the best feeling and the relief just hits."

Leschke was fortunate enough to share the journey with one of her sons, Wilhëlm, along with husband Gordon, but there was plenty of support at hand throughout the race.

"The atmosphere just carts you away and it was electric really. To imagine that for 42kms, there were people just lining the streets supporting us and supporting the runners, it's amazing," she said.

"I was literally running along, clapping people and thanking them for coming out because I've never seen anything like it."

While running is involved in many sports, the thought of the action without chasing after a ball tends to be off-putting to a lot of people, with Leschke once a part of such choir.

"I used to wag school when the cross country was on. Never liked running, but played all kinds of sports growing up," she said.

Till this day, Leschke still does not know what spurred her on to begin running, but she recalls how it all begun.

"When we moved out here to Tower Hill ten years ago around this time of year, there was a little dusty pond with basically nothing. They had planted them, but it was during a very hot, droughty time," she said.

"So I went down and I thought I'd just have a run from one tree to the other. That was the challenge. I didn't think I was going to survive. I could hardly breathe.

"The next night I thought, 'right, I'm going to run from that tree to a further tree' and I just went further and further. 

"Then I said to the family one night, by October, I'm going to run right around that pond non stop and I managed to do it in August, so I just continued running around and around the pond."

Having conquered the Melbourne Marathon in 2015, it was a simple fib she told early in her running days which she eventually decided to turn into a reality.

"While I was running, people would say to me, 'what are you running for at your age?' and I'd say, 'Oh, I'm training for the New York Marathon' just to get people off my back basically," she said.

"But one day, two years ago, I thought why not do the New York Marathon. So I registered and off I went."

Having the support of running group Run With Voyage in Swan Hill was instrumental in growing Leschke's belief she could achieve the distance in the leadup.

"I'm really fortunate in Swan Hill that we have the Voyage Fitness and the running group and being able to join people that just love running," she said.

"Every Tuesday morning, we go out running and another group of passionate runners that we'd meet on a Saturday morning, we meet out in Tower Hill and maybe do 20km and a lot of them did the Melbourne Marathon in October, too."

If anyone is interested in joining the group as well, Leschke had a clear message.

"The best thing is everyone can do it. All you need is some trainers and off you go," she said.

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