SAYING ‘yes’ to a friend introduced Mel Haines, 45, to distance running - an activity she now can’t live without.
Just over five years ago Danielle “Dan” Squires, a close friend of Mel’s, was facing the biggest challenge of her life.
Her 4-year-old daughter Moni had brain cancer, a battle which was sadly lost.
Dan wanted to raise funds to support research and asked Mel to join her for Run For the Kids.
Mel didn’t hesitate, even when she found out she had agreed to a 15km run.
Mel was fit, she enjoyed tennis and netball, but the furthest she had run was 2km.
She didn’t consider herself a runner, and didn’t really ‘understand’ those who loved to run.
Training started soon after and just weeks later, Dan and Mel conquered Run For the Kids together.
While it wasn’t easy, Mel’s thoughts weren’t on her own discomfort but were centred on what Moni was going through.
Mel has now ran 11 half marathons and 1 marathon, and every time she runs events she thinks of Moni.
She’s kept running even when in a world of pain and perseveres when she “hits the wall” and feels she can’t run any further.
Running is now an important part of Mel’s routine, running 10km three or four times a week.
At first she felt selfish taking some ‘me time’, but came to appreciate that it’s ok to take time for herself.
Now if Mel misses the opportunity to run, she often feels sluggish.
Running makes her feel good in herself and gives her the energy she needs as a wife and mum of four.
Mel lives on a dairy farm and often runs on country roads where she takes in the beauty of nature and enjoys the fresh air.
Whatever the distance Mel’s happy to run solo, with her thoughts only interrupted by the occasional tractor or ute passing by.
Mel embraces the opportunity to run for a cause.
She finds it satisfying to run in events with a mission to raise money or awareness.
She is also often amused and motivated by placards held by spectators on the sidelines.
One of her favourites has been a sign “smile if you aren’t wearing undies”.
Mel is an osteopath with her own private practice.
Currently she’s taking a break.
She has worked for the past 22 years and feels the time is right for long service leave, and has found it beneficial to slow down.
Mel plans to keep running and in the future may dabble in triathlons.
She’s keen to tick off an ultra-marathon (maybe the Kokoda Trail) and possibly even a half Ironman before she turns 50.
Mel is strong - physically and mentally.
She’s positive, focused and determined.
She’s a loyal friend, a fantastic role model, and a generous community contributor.
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