Maria and I were thrilled to hear some inspirational speakers at the London Marathon Expo. They included Paula Radcliffe who has the World Record at 2 hours 15 minutes. She is the runner I most admire for her sheer determination and mental toughness. 6 time para-olympic gold medallist David Weir was also speaking and will be competing in the para-athletics world marathon Champs as part of the London Marathon, as will our very own Maria Williams who will be in the T11 visually impaired championship race. Each year London Marathon has a theme, and this year it is 'Hand in Hand' in honour of the two runners, who in the very first London Marathon in 1981 held hands as they crossed the line. Very fitting for both Maria and I who will be 'Hand in Hand' the entire 42km.
Her guide and coach, two times World Mountain Running Champion and a former New Zealand Sports Woman of the year Melissa Moon will be there to help achieve this inspirational goal with Maria who lost her sight 13 years ago.
Listen to Melissa and Maria on National Radio.www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/20174640/blind-runner-to-compete-in-london-marathon
Melissa has two motivational presentations to do while in New York city
to the staff at the Carlyle Hotel. Check out the race details at
A 4th placing the Vertical World Series final race held in Hong Kong yesterday, secured Melissa's spot at one of the top two stair climbers in the world. Her solid placings in races throughout the year meant that she managed to retain 2nd place overall in the Vertical World Series. Her next goal is the run up the Empire State building early next year. Results
Melissa takes 2nd place.
Melissa finishes 2nd to the world ranked #1 runner.
Melissa finished 2nd to the current world ranked number one Stair Climber in the SydneyTower Stair Challenge, a race of over 1504 steps and 309m of vertical height. Her time of 9:12 saw her beat 3rd place by over a minute. The Sydney Tower is the same height as the Eiffel Tower and 4 times the height of the Sydney Opera House. Results
Melissa Moon is off to Hanoi soon to massage disabled streetkids.
She will compete in a vertical stair race while she is there but this story is not about running, it is about a Wellington woman who can't do enough for the needy.
For 10 years Moon served at the soup kitchen in Wellington before deciding to hang up her apron and help in another way. Read More
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING RACE!
My sleep patterns have been all over the show since arriving in New York, I am tired from about 6pm -9pm and then wide awake from 1am -5am and I can tell you it has been very hard to break that pattern. There was a sense of relief that the race was not until 8pm at night so I could have a sleep in on the day of the race and even though the race was during the time frame I seemed to get tired I knew the adrenaline keep me going!
I had a long day ahead and wanted to conserve energy and keep my mind distracted for a period of time during the day and the nerves under control, so the perfect solution was to take in a broadway show, I love live theatre and nothing beats seeing a show on Broadway or the West End in London. I have seen many but this time picked the absolute perfect show take my mind off the race and allow me to go back in time to Memphis, Tennessee in the 1950's experiencing fame, love and the birth of rock 'n' roll through this musical, it was one of the best musicals I have seen and it had my emotions all over the show. There were only a few moments my mind drifted back to the up and coming race with a brieft wave of nerves and then I was back in Memphis rocking and rolling with the rest of the cast.
Back to reality as I walked up Broadway to my hotel, it was 5pm and I had three hours to the race, I had my race kit all organised the night before, I am a great believer in preparing everything the day before, so on race day I just have to worry about getting my mind focused and nothing else. I had half an hour lie down and then at 5.45pm I got up and started getting myself into the zone, put my race gear on and tested my legs and lungs out on 3-4 flights up my hotel stairs, focusing on my key words and visulising the last 20 floors of the Empire State Building - repeating Kia Toa, Kia Kaha, Kia Manawanui - Be brave, Be Strong, Be persevering!
In my room I did some stretching with my ipod on, listening to my two songs that I have used as part of my visulising while training in New Zealand and then here in New York, music is very important to me and I always select a couple of songs that connect me with a particular race. When I did my visulisation process in Alaska preparing to win my World Mountain Running Title on Mt Alyeska it was Madonna's 'Live to Tell'
For the Empire State Building it has been Lady gaga's 'You and I' where she talks about the city New York and 'just knowing when something feels right' and for me that was coming over to race here! There was one other song that I felt quite empowered by and that was Fleetwood Mac's ' Gold Dust Woman'
There was also a very special person I thought about before I left my hotel room for the walk to the Empire State Building - Ness Green, my dear friend and fellow athlete who passed away last year suddenly, a huge loss for many of us, she would be with me every step of the way up the Empire, I knew that, I also felt her with me as I walked down 5th Avenue to the race and remember what my friend Tony had said in a txt 'Ness will make sure you get away well off the start line' I felt a real sense of comfort and with my little budgies lucky feather tucked down my top I was ready to race.
The foyer of the Empire State Building was a buzz with 100's of people, media and participants , I collected my race number, put my timing chip on my shoes and at 7.15pm went to do my warm up outside the building on the busy streets, on the way out I saw Suzy Walsham ( she has won the race three times) we were both informed that there had been a late entry in of Chrissie Wellington from Great Britian the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 World Ironwoman Champion, I remember feeling a sense of calm on being told this and reminded myself of the Personal Best time I had done in my training run up the Majestic Tower in NZ and then said my 3 key worlds to myself to maintain a sense of strenght in my head and my body.
I felt good in my warm up , light and free and at 7.45pm the elite woman's field assembled on the start line in the foyer of this iconic building, we were given our starting instructions ' Take your marks' and then a loud horn!!!!!!!!!!
I was 2nd into the stair well door behind a 5 times winner of this race Cindy Harris, from past experience I do know she starts fast, too fast for me, my biggest concern is pace judgement for the first 5-10 floors so as not to build up too much latic acid too quickly. There were a group of 4 of us chasing closely behind, I was in my zone, aware of them behind me, but concentrating solely of technique and pace. We passed Cindy at about floor 16th and then changed stair wells so there was a brief bit of running. The next part of the race would be hard from floor 20 - 68, i knew this and prepared my mind for it, put my head down, did not look at the floor level once and kept pushing the pace, 4 runners we were now 3 at about floor 40, myself , Suzy and Chrissie Wellington the Ironwoman, and then at about floor 50 we dropt Chrissie. I had visulized that this could be the case and remained composed knowing that another change of stair well was about to occur at floor 68, this is where I would have to guts it out for the next 20 floors to the end. I grabbed a cup of water, splashed it on my face, repeated my 3 key words and just went for it............and well crossed the finish line clocking 12minutes 39seconds, 30 seconds faster than my 2010 times and nearly 30 seconds ahead of Suzy who clocked 13mins 08 seconds and Chrissies 13mins 15 seconds. It was an exhilerating feeling finishing, on top of the worlds most iconic building, at night with snow flakes and feeling a very very proud KIWI - we might be a small nation but it is a wonderful feeling being able to fly the kiwi flag showing the rest of the world what we can do!
Both myself and Jason Pine ( Sports DJ at Newstalk ZB) are the ambassadors for the Malaghan Institute which is a world class research institute based here in Wellington
Malaghan is the official charity of AMI Round the Bays which attracts up to 13,000 wellingtonians to run/walk 7km around our beautiful waterfront.
Athletic Career Highlights
Two Times World Mountain Running Champion
World Stair Racing Champion
2 Times Empire State Building Champion - 86 floors in 12 minutes 39 seconds
21 New Zealand Athletic Titles
Times New Zealand Cross Country Champion ( NZ record)
10 Times North Island Cross Country Champion ( Course Record)
New Zealand Sports Woman of the Year
Athletics New Zealand Athlete of the Year
JCI Top Outstanding Young Person of the World Award
Next Magazine Sports Person of the Year
New Zealand Universities Sports Person of the the Year
Masters in Business Studies ( MBS)
Diploma in Teaching ( Physical Education/ Special Needs)
Certificate in Relaxation Massage