Running literally changed my life...
Growing up, like many people in the creative industries, I was more likely to be found with my head in a book than out on the field. Team sports didn’t jell (too unco), gyms never appealed (sweatboxes with questionable soundtracks); running was something sporty people did. I definitely wasn’t.
I grew up in Perth - the most isolated capital city in the world - but absconded to Melbourne to chase the creative dream, where the demands of a deadline-heavy, late-night industry resulted in a largely sedentary lifestyle. Fatigue, anxiety and stress levels were high, but seemed normal. It was all work, sleep, party, repeat – fashion was life, 14hr days were regular, exercise didn’t factor – brilliantly unhealthy, but I neither cared nor understood how poorly I was functioning.
In 2012 everything changed. My father had been battling cancer ever since I’d moved away, and time was up. I dropped my life and headed home to help provide palliative care. The experience was a shock in every way – watching someone I'd always known to be unerringly strong lose control of themselves, moving back to a city I’d actively escaped from, leaving behind work, networks, relationships…my reaction under pressure is to get on with the job, but the visceral reaction was to leg it – so I ran.
For someone who had never, ever had any inclination to exercise and actively avoided running (I had literally verbalised that my knees weren't built for it) this was unprecedented, but I listened to my body and did what it told me. The reward was incredible – clarity in a time of chaos, headspace like I’d never achieved before, complete transformation of my body from something I despised to something powerful. I kept running, slowly further, slowly faster, and continued to benefit physically, mentally, emotionally…so I haven’t stopped since.
Caring for my father made me value life and, experiencing firsthand the profound power of movement, I wanted to help other people make the most of it. I embarked on a radical career shift and started a degree in Physiotherapy. Design is, after all, all about problem solving – I learned how to apply those skills to the human body as well as the creative world.
The creative pursuit pulled me back - but I'll never stop running. The in-depth understanding of anatomy, physiology and hands-on healthcare has given me a unique perspective on what makes it such a powerful tool for physical and mental health. Running changed my life.