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Running a marathon is a popular bucket list item. It is one that is achieved with dedication, time and energy. For those who decide to tackle a 42.2km event, they commit to regular training, an endurance diet and mindset preparation. The payoff is crossing the finish line and the sense of achievement, elation and exhaustion. For some, a marathon is a one-off deal, and for others they become hooked, that is exactly what happened to one local.

A marathon was not on Vickie Woodbury’s radar. The Lake Macquarie teacher had always enjoyed sport, staying fit and doing 10km fun runs. She doesn’t have a bucket list. However, Vickie loves to seize opportunities, so when events started to align to run her first marathon in New York City, she took it and ran with it – literally!

“I never thought I would compete in a marathon (42.2km); they were for the elite, I only did 10km events. Then friends started to do half marathons and off I went and did 21.1km events at Port Macquarie, Lake Macquarie, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast,” Vickie said.

Her friends then started to compete in marathons and Vickie was in awe. At the 2015 Gold Coast half marathon, another friend set the goal to celebrate his 70th birthday with a marathon.

“It didn’t happen, as he had a knee replacement. And it struck me; if I wanted to do a marathon, it needed to be sooner rather than later, and I wanted it to be a special one, a World Marathon Major, Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago or New York City,” she said.

“The NYC marathon weaves through five boroughs – Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan, and ends in Central Park – so of course, it got my vote!”

Qualifying was not a viable option for Vickie (in her age group it is 3 hours and 51 minutes), so, she decided to go with the specialist travel agency, Travelling Fit, along with 450 other Australians to compete in the 2016 New York City Marathon.

“As I came down the finishing chute, the roar was unbelievable. I could hear the crowd yelling my name (all Travelling Fit runners had race shirts with Australia and our names on them) I was cold and tired, but this encouragement filled me with pride, a sense of achievement and lifted me over the finish line.”


Above: Vickie after the Chicago Marathon.

Top: The Monday after the NYC Marathon, finishers are encouraged to proudly wear their medals (Vickie in Central Park).


On November 6, 2016, Vickie became a marathon runner and finished one of the world’s biggest marathons with more than 50,000 finishers ranging from amateurs to professionals and world-record holders.

Nearly a year later, on October 8, 2017, she returned to the US with Travelling Fit to compete in the Chicago Marathon. In this event, Vickie finished alongside 40,000 other runners, who had traversed the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods with performers in drag at Boystown, mariachi bands in Pilsen, lion dancers in Chinatown and ending in Grant Park.

As for this year – she is heading to Berlin in September. Once Vickie has finished running marathons, she wants to return to her passion for trekking. She has already walked the Great Ocean and Milford tracks and wants to trek into Machu Picchu. Then she will be ready for a quieter pass with a river or canal cruise.

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