Jacquie Walters ran 132 laps around her backyard last month since the City2Saxton fun run was postponed. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Running 132 rings around Covid-19

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At the beginning of the year, Jacquie Walters set herself a goal to run a 10km race before she turned 50.

So, she signed up for the annual City2Saxton fun run, which was due to be held on 5 April.

But with the event being postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, and her birthday looming on 8 May, she decided to get creative in reaching her goal.

“I had some sponsors who had donated to the cause, so to meet my side of the bargain I completed it by running 132 laps of my backyard on the day when the event would have been held,” she says.

She had her two daughters helping – one on music duty and the other counting down the laps on pieces of paper.

“It took me an hour and fifteen minutes … it definitely took on a meditative aspect.”

Jacquie says the main reason she took up running was for her mental health.

With her ex-husband and the father of her girls passing away during Level 4, running became important for her.

“I thought, ‘if I can’t get to the gym, I’ll get back into running’. I downloaded a running app and started slowly. I have now done two 10km runs and most days I do 6 or 7km.

“Running has definitely helped me, it keeps my mind clear and the endorphins are great.”

One thing Jacquie needed before taking up running was a decent pair of shoes, and she managed to get some just before Level 4 lockdown restrictions took effect, thanks to the kindness of a stranger.

“I bought them off a guy on Trade Me and he only had one day to get them to the post office, so he sent them to me before I had even paid him.”

She says Sport Tasman has also been a huge influence on reaching her goal.

“They have been doing training posts on Facebook and there is a really nice community feeling behind it.”

For completing her 10km, Jacquie still managed to raise around $500 for the Victory Community Centre, thanks to her sponsors.

“I really wanted to do it by the time I turned 50 and I wasn’t going to let Coronavirus stop me.”