This month we feature runner, teacher and mother of three teenagers, Rachelle Brutnell!
This month we're actually doing something a little different. Rachelle provided such a beautiful write-up with a heart-felt message that really hit home so we thought we'd let her tell her story herself. Take it away Rachelle...
"My mission is to remain active my whole life, to be grateful for my health and to inspire others to use their ‘two feet and a heartbeat’. Most of us are gifted from birth with the ability to walk, run and be active. But how many of us actually make the most of this gift?
Early in my life, sport and being active was about being the best with a focus on winning. Now with years of wisdom as a teacher, I see all too often students who loose motivation when the focus is on the result and not the process.
The same is true for being healthy and active. Many people are too concerned about the result and forget to enjoy and cherish the journey an active lifestyle brings.
In 2006 a family friend, Rowlo, was diagnosed with MND (Motor Neurone Disease). His 7-year battle of living with MND had a significant impact on me. Together, with his family, Rowlo took my family and friends on a courageous journey that was nothing short of heroic. Despite losing his ability to move, walk, eat and eventually communicate, he remained incredibly positive. He would have given anything to be able to run again!
Rowlo helped fuel my motivation to keep moving. In the years to follow, I completed mother’s day classics, several half marathons and a full marathon. Each year I line up with the MND and ME orange army at the Gold Coast and I run knowing I carry a hero within.
In 2016, I decided to celebrate turning 40 simply by “living life”. It was my year to say yes to all sorts of challenges and to inspire others by showing how much I appreciated my health. During the 12 months of that year, despite fearing heights, I climbed all of the Glasshouse Mountains, the story bridge in Brisbane and jet skied through the Noosa Seaway. I ran in the colour run, the Gold Coast half marathon for MND, became a blood donor and completed my 50th parkrun.
In 2016, I also started as a run director for parkrun, a role I currently hold. Being run director allows me to motivate and inspire people of all ages to come and join in a free community event each week. At parkrun, I am known for my cakes, which I bake to celebrate milestones with those who show true commitment to being healthy. I will complete my 100th parkrun this year and I am fitter and faster than ever thanks to a long-term pledge to stay fit.
I was fortunate to speak at Rowlos funeral and share his favourite quote “Don’t wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain.” Three years have passed since we said our final goodbyes, but it was a farewell with a promise to dance.
Spending the GC 2017 Marathon weekend with Rowlos family supporting me as I ran the half marathon and raised funds for MND, I had every reason to dance. Just last month I hung my Gold Coast half marathon medal on my medal display with pride and a new PB 1h 39 mins 58 s.
My running singlet says it all “I run because I can”. How easy it could be to take a simple gift of running for granted."
We want to say a huge thank you to Rachelle for sharing her journey and we hope she can continue inspiring and motivating others for many many more Parkruns to come!
For more information about the MND and Me Foundation, visit http://www.mndandme.com.au
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Plus, you never know who you might inspire!
We're super excited about this as we know that behind every collection of medals is an awesome story!