runner profiles

Jodie Scantlebury


Jodie Scantlebury'S final blog:

Well... what a journey that was! We ran the wall and we conquered!

This whole exercise has been such a wonderful experience on so many levels. I faced a huge personal challenge with two great and incredibly inspiring ladies, I have enjoyed the support and encouragement from a bucket full of fabulous and positive people, and all in aid of supporting women with breast cancer through the Pink Pilates programme.

I have learnt a great deal over the past few months and there have been times I have been way out of my comfort zone! In training, I thought I could never push through one hour of running and I did (thanks Lou and Hells Bells!). When the website went up live, I thought "crickey" "what have I done?".. but I made it to the start line!. And at the start line, I thought "can I do this?" as my calves burned from the Wall 'famil' the day before and butterflies threatened to burst out of my tummy! But now I look back... and like everything in life...no matter how tough...no matter how hard it seems, you break it down and before you know it -you're out the other side and "wow" it feels great!

I feel stronger physically and mentally than I ever have. I thank Lou for her inspiration and tenacity, I look at Judith one year out from chemotherapy and hope other women with breast cancer draw inspiration from her and remain positive despite how hard their journey may be. And to those who have been touched in some way by breast cancer, I hope you will feel encouraged by the fact that whilst you or your loved one don't need to conquer the Wall or any marathon for that matter, there is life after a diagnosis. Its so important to get out there and live it for each day!

For me, its all about mind over matter. This isn't the end of my endorphin rush! Back into training next week, we'll see where this journey takes us...and who we can drag along for the ride!

Thank you everyone, for your incredible support and encouragement. I am grateful that our efforts in conquering the Great Wall will in some way offer support and comfort to the women like Judith and I who whose Pink Pilates journey will hopefully lead to great things!


Jodie was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2006. A mother of two beautiful girls (both under five years) Jodie was 39-years-old and to all intents and purposes healthy and reasonably fit. Following an exhaustive course of chemo and radiotherapy treatment Jodie found herself barely able to walk up a flight of stairs. Jodie credits Lou's Pink Pilates programme as being instrumental in both her physical and mental recovery.

"I have embraced the Great Wall of China Challenge not only to raise awareness and support what I believe is an integral programme for women on their journey with breast cancer, but to challenge myself and enhance my own physical fitness to encourage others to do the same. Each woman's journey with breast cancer is very unique and I know from my own experience, that the support of others, as well as maintaining my health and fitness, have been paramount in my positive outlook to the future," Jodie says.

Judith Ansell


Judith Ansell's final blog:

What an amazing experience that was! I feel so privlileged to have been part of Team RunforyourLife. I can't imagine two better team mates to travel and have an adventure with. We also met some really wonderful people - imagine 1800 people all crazy enough to do this, brought together in one place!

We went there to run on the wall, and run we did. All 3 of us finished - Lou the full marathon in 5 hrs 09 mins (or 4 hrs 69 according to one runner we met!). Jodie and I both finished the half marathon in respectable times. To be honest, coming 8th of 22 in my age group is the most competitive running result I've ever had :-) The best part of the run for me was on the wall, it felt good, I felt well prepared for it and it all fall into place well. By the turn around in the village and heading back to the Finish (about 15km mark) I was feeling pretty tired, but flagging energy was helped by the distraction provided by the people of Huangyaguan village who turned out en masse and waved and cheered. My favourite was the little boy who called out to each runner "Welcome to Our China".

It was 30 degrees C by midday, which was challenging in itself. I was glad to finish, elated to have done it and so happy that the run went so well for Jodie and Lou. Would I go back? Well, never say never, I couldn't help wondering what it would feel like to finish the marathon.....

A million thank yous to family and friends who have provided support, encouragement, expertise and donations. Running a half marathon has been a long campaign. It's nearly 2 years now since Hayden, my PT at the time, said the fateful "Yeah mate, you can do it!". It's been a rollercoaster of a ride and quite overwhelming to now be able to look back on the ups and downs of the journey. Not unlike the Great Wall :-)

Long distance running? I love it. I love it for what I have learnt, for the friendships, and the energy it gives me. I love it because it is now something I share with my family. It's probably a cliche by now, but I love it for the way it is a metaphor for life. It's not about the running, it's about keep on going.

To the many wonderful people who have been there for me. Thank you! And in your own journey, go well, don't stop. Kia kaha! Kia kaha! Kia kaha!


Prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, Judith enjoyed an active lifestyle, with climbing in Nepal and a cycle ride from Takaka to Christchurch under her belt. Having gone through a mastectomy, reconstruction and chemotherapy Judith was determined to regain the best level of fitness she could.

The invitation to join Lou running the Great Wall Half Marathon came on the 12 month anniversary of her final chemo treatment and Judith says it was an easy decision. Pink Pilates was an important support and part of managing her health during the breast cancer process and Judith says this adventure offers a chance to now give something back and hopefully encourage other women to take the time to find their own health and fitness goals.

"I know it's not going to be easy but I'm going to make the most of every minute of the training and the trip. The inspiration is thinking about fund raising for Pink Pilates which is such a valuable organisation in the lives of so many women".

Lou James


Lou is in training for her toughest chanllenge yet. Her quest to run one of the worlds most chanllenging marathons is two fold , to raise money for New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation to help subsidise women through the Pink Pilates programme and to promote the benefits of exercise for women diagnosed with cancer.

"This is without doubt the biggest challenge of my life. It requires huge amounts of training, a lot of planning to fit in training around work and the demands of my young family, and lots of physio to get my body to the start line in one piece. Getting to the finish line will be incredible and hopefully through my journey I can help to encourage women diagnosed with cancer to take up an exercise regime of their own. There is a substantial amount of research which indicates that physical activity can not only help to improve quality of life and some of the debilitating effects of cancer treatment, but may even reduce the mortality rate due to breast cancer. Following a diagnosis of breast cancer however, many women reduce their activity levels. I want to inspire those affected by cancer to commit to an exercise schedule that will allow them to feel more a part of the real world, less like cancer patients, and stronger in their heart, soul, body and mind."


Participate - get involved and train along with us for your own run/walk
Click here to receive your own training programme and sponsorship sheet.
You will get fitter, feel better and all money raised goes directly to help more women through the Pink Pilates programme.

Training Blogs

Jodie Scantlebury

Thanks for Supporting such a Great Cause!
18 Apr 10 21:08 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
Three weeks to go!

I've had a slightly more relaxed training week to recover from the Xterra half marathon and to factor in the school holidays and my husband being away. A couple of hour runs and two longer walks have kept the stiffness at bay but a longer run is planned for tomorrow. I will be gravitating towards hills and stairs!

This last weekend, our girls set up a little shop outside our house where they sold the neighbours feijoas and their own home-baked cookies to anyone passing by. I feel very proud of them for raising the $20 they did for our cause and for their effort and initiative. :-)

I am also very humbled by and would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support and encouragement. It is hugely motivating to know so many people are behind us in our support of women with breast cancer.

Thanks for Supporting such a Great Cause!
18 Apr 10 21:03 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
Goodness! Where did that time go! We are counting down now with three weeks to go before we scale that wall! Training has been constant and is now becoming a little more serious as are the aches and pains! Nothing the magical hands of my physio Helene can't sort out though.

As a build up to the Wall, Judith suggested we enter the Xterra 21 km half marathon run around the Blue and Green Lakes in Rotorua during these school holidays. Before I knew it, I was saying "why not" again, the car was packed and we were heading South to Rotorua for the weekend!

The outcome? Somehow, and much to my own astonishment, I completed my first half marathon in one piece and it was great! All that training was finally coming together.

I have decided running is a mental thing. At 7kms I made the mistake of asking an official roughly where I was at and she responded with "7kms love, 7kms". For the next 15 minutes I tormented myself as I tried to determine whether I had only completed 7kms or whether (hallelujah!) I had 7kms to go! Sadly, I soon realised I hadn't been running long enough for it to be the latter and was mortified when it dawned on me that I still had 14kms to go! "Crumbs", I thought, "and people call this fun!" That's when the wisdom of my good friend Hells Bells kicked in and her reassuring "slow and steady" pulled me through. Compared to chemo-this was a breeze!

Before I knew it, I was coming out of the bush onto the beach and towards the finish line where Lou, my girls, mum and my faithful husband were all cheering me on with a look of total disbelief that the 'old girl' had actually made it!

So, I'm thinking 'that Wall' is just going to be a mental thing. A little tougher than Rotorua, factoring in the gradient, overall terraine, altitude and middle-aged stiffness after a long flight. But hey, as far as I'm concerned, every ache and km will be worth it!

Judith Ansell

Thanks for Supporting such a Great Cause!
19 Apr 10 18:25 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
Oh my goodness! I can't believe this is real! Starting to feel a bit excited and quite nervous with only 3 weeks to go. There is still plenty of training to go - plenty of stairwork and cardio to try and fit in in that time.

The week after Xterra was given over to recovery which included a great stretching session with Nigel early Monday morning and a good long review session with Kelly Sheerin at the AUT running mechanics clinic. Kelly has been an important part of my running development and has been a great source of support over the last 18 months in particular. The week also included a massage therapy sesion with the amazing Mandy Crawford.

This week is another build week so I started it back at the gym with Nigel, lifting weights, climbing stairs with weights and trying to combine strenght with coordination - lol!. There will be 2 longer hill runs this weekwith a good long run planned up north this Saturday.

I feel so incredibly forunate to have so much excellent professional support. As well as that I have been overwhelmed by the expressions of support that I have had from my friends and colleagues. I have not yet found the words to describe the effect that this encouragement has - but it's keeping me running and it's getting me through the 'hard stuff' so thank you all. If I listed all your names the Run for your life team would be very large indeed! :-)

Thanks for Supporting such a Great Cause!
12 Apr 10 19:59 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling - the utter frustration and devastation and a frightening and unfamiliar ANGER when I realized that all of the training I had done to run the Auckland half marathon in November 2008 was going to come to nothing. A big fat NOTHING. Following the 3 biopsies that were part of the diagnosis I was not meant to do any exercise that was likely to stimulate my circulation - after all that I was just meant to STOP! The diagnosis left me feeling numb, but the stopping just about undid me.

Hayden, my good friend and Personal Trainer at the time, said he was glad I'd told him about it over the phone because I sounded upset enough to hurt someone - ahh lol!

I heard many people say they knew I would get back there - but in my heart of hearts I wasn't sure. The surgery was pretty extensive and even now I'm still learning to adjust to uncertain energy levels after chemo. Somedays I still come home feeling speechlessly tired; the Tamoxifen makes my joints ache and feel stiff. There are still times when Peter 'sends me to bed' and brings room service so I'll stay there and rest. How was I ever going to get back to running

Quite simply, I had to. I really felt it was uphill challenge or downhill slide. I had a huge fear of spending the rest of my life doing less and less, so it was dig deep and get going. The encouragement and support of my family and friends has been an essential part of what I'm doing, and much of the energy has come from the people in my life. Along with the many professionals it feels like a small village! So what did this small village achieve? Two days ago I finally ran my first half marathon. :-) The Xterra half marathon is a trail run around the Blue and Green Lakes in Rotorua - stunning scenery - it took just about every last drop of energy and the last 5 km were really hard. Peter and Melissa stuck with me, slow as I was, and I did it!! I finished a half marathon :-) But the truly brilliant thing is that this was just part of the TRAINING for the main event.

So my training to run the Great Wall half marathon is on track, and now that I've come this far I can look back at 18 months ago and finally let go of it. No excuses - I just did it. I have no idea how to thank so many people, but I guess there are plenty of kilometers left to think about that :-) Aroha xoxo

Thanks for Supporting such a Great Cause!
28 Mar 10 16:11 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
Wow! What a journey! I have just finished relay for life in Wellington - walked many Kms around Frank Kitts Park on the Wellington waterfront - slept very little, got a bit sunburnt, a bit wind burnt and it's all been wonderful. But it wasn't really about the walking and running. Angela, the name behind Team Angela, has been a great friend to me and overnight I met many of her friends and some of her family. The event raised a lot of money, but it was also incredibly uplifting. I met women who belong to Sweet Louise, set up for women with advanced/metastatic breast cancer and was left feeling really humbled by their strength and composure.

My own training is getting pretty hard - I feel like I'm right at the boundaries of my fitness and running ability, and still I'm learning about how to just keep going. I did my long run on Friday so that I could do it before spending the weekend doing relay for life. That meant I did my long run on my own, without either Peter or Melissa to keep me company. I ran for 80 minutes on the cliff path from Browns Bay to Campbells Bay. Questions>>> How did they manage to include so many hills in a coastal track - aren't beaches meant to be flat??? and why, of all days was my i-pod battery flat??? Was it the bunch of vaccinations I'd just had for the china trip that left me feeling like I too had a flat battery

Am I whining? No, because I still managed to finish the run. But it's not about the running.....and sitting here in my hotel room, sleepless in wellington, just thinking about that makes me smile. xoxo

Thanks for Supporting such a Great Cause!
23 Mar 10 21:46 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things.' " I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Brilliant stuff from Lewis Carroll!!

Some days - like Sunday's long run - the training teeters on the edge of impossible. It all started well enough. Peter and I headed out on my favourite run and it only took me 7 mins to get to the top of the 10 min hill - big mistake! 10 minutes later the breeze had stopped, the sky was clear, the day was hot and I felt really sick. I think that means that I did lots of things wrong. In fact, the only thing I feel happy about is that somehow I managed to keep going!

It was high tide when I got back and cool water has never felt so good! It was great to just lie in the water - and to think about the run. I had so wanted to stop running at one stage, it just felt impossible...it's that word again..but then again, getting breast cancer was impossible. I always knew that I wouldn't get breast cancer. I was completely sure it was something I didn't need to know too much about. How hilarious is that?! So much for impossible. Lol! I guess that means I can just keep on running too.

Thank you so much to our supporters and donators - you are making the effort worthwhile xo

Thanks for Supporting such a Great Cause!
19 Mar 10 17:28 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
How exciting! (and a little scary!) - it's real!! Air New Zealand has donated tickets to Beijing. Thank you :-) and now the website is up and running, so the casual - oh by the way conversations with friends are now about to become quite public.

I feel a little like Alice in Wonderland (so where's Johnny??) no but seriously how did I get here? It does feel a little unreal. I was ready to run the half of the Auckland Adidas Marathon in November 2008, and then I got the breast cancer diagnosis. Getting back to that level of fitness has seemed like a very distant goal, and at times I've wondered if it's realistic to think I can... but there have been small goals along the way which have strengthened my resolve and keep me thinking that nothing's impossible. But more of that later....

Lou James

12 April 10 16:11 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
Aww ..... Very Stiff today!!!!! I had the hardest stair workout yesterday with personal trainer Nick Blundell! The Great Wall Marathon has over 5000 stairs (of varying heights) to run over...... so hard Stair Workouts are apparently what i NEED! Nick had me running, jumping, hopping and carrying weights up a large, very painful set of stairs in the Domain. I finished in a sweating, leg shaking, gasping mess!!!

18 April 10 17:18 PM
posted by the Run For Your Life Team
Luckily, my battered legs recovered enough after this weeks training for my long run of the week. 2 and 1/2 hours up and over Mt Albert, Mt Eden, and One Tree Hill. Will and Mac, my active little boys wanted to play soccer with me as soon as I arrived home and were a little disappointed that i only wanted to play goalie!!!!!!!!

Participate - get involved and train along with us for your own run/walk
Click here to receive your own training programme and sponsorship sheet.
You will get fitter, feel better and all money raised goes directly to help more women through the Pink Pilates programme.