Meet Maddi, a big inspiration to us and true Road Runners fan!

The legend that is Maddi has taught us humility, strength and charisma.
Beside running, Maddi is on a mission to inspire and support anyone in their mental health.
See why we find her so intriguing below

Maddi, at the beginning of August you went for your first run in over a year. You have since been running twice a week. What made you stop running? And How have you felt since running again?

Stopping running was out of my control, it was a mix of a respiratory infection, back injury and then a concussion - the trifecta of sorry no running for you. Not getting back to running was in my control though, for me, running is something when I think about doing it after having not done it for a long time it sounds like the worst thing in the world. Couldn't think of anything worse. But. As soon as I start running again, it makes me feel in control, safe and like I have a say in the narrative, a good run can make me feel more free and independent than anything else.

Whenever I see you rock up to our Road Runners session you seem to be gleaming with excitement and you talk so graciously about the Road runners. What gives you this emotion and what gets you coming back?

The sense of community and belonging Fitness All Together has given me since I started going in 2019 is wild, even more emphasis that no matter how long you take off when you come back there are open arms welcoming you back into the fold. Road Runners is an extension of this, but in the best way, it is always so exciting to see people turning up for the sole reason of running, especially when I know a lot of those people don't necessarily say they 'enjoy' running. It shows the power of community and the power of Road Runners. To have such positive people leading it is contagious and you know by just turning up you will leave ina good mood regardless of how you were feeling before or how your day was.

You havent been shy to post about mental health on your gram, which I think is very humbling and amazing! Has running been apart of your journey in this area at all?

100%, I have had a long journey with running, from it being used as a fitness tool for football to it being a way I can feel free and in control. Running is a massive journey for my mental health now and it comes down to the mindset going into the thought of the run. For me it is an easy way to move my body and feel like I have accomplished something, sometimes my runs turn into walks and sometimes my walks turn into runs but as long as I have gone into it with the mindset of moving my body then I'm stoked regardless of how far or how long I ran for. Running is a journey much like mental health and I have always found it is a good way to clear the head and really figure out where you are at emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.

Could you please tell me 3 points you would give to someone going through a mental hardship?

1. It sucks, but it is allowed to suck and no matter what you are going through - do not compare your troubles to someone else's, don't feel like you shouldn't be feeling that way because you think someone 'has it worse' - it is all relative.

2. You are not alone, no matter how alone you feel I can promise you that you aren't - something that helped me was learning what my love language was, once you know what it is it is a whole lot easier to tell loved ones what will help give you a boost.

3. Move your body, even if it is walking around the block once, moving your body in someway shape or form whether it is light or heavy exercise is a positive step in lookingout for yourself and loving yourself.

4. Fourth because I'm a bad listener but this is for everyone, I read a quote recently which put peoples hardships into perspective and it is the paper plate theory. In short the theory says, when you look around all you can see at most from an outsiders perspective is the amount of pressure, stress etc being put on others and how they are reacting to that. It would be unfair to judge someone from their reactions as there foundations may be different to yours. Lets say everyone's foundations are plates - some people may have plates made from marble or steel, some from made from china or paper - some may be the size of a dinner plate or that of a side plate. Essentially what the theory is saying is don't be quick to judge how they are handling something, your plate might be made of steel and you may have been through a lot of trauma and from your perspective, someone might be having a hard time with something you may deem a small issue but their plate might be made from paper and can hold a lot less than yours.

Nice and easy one for ya, how did you start running?

Short, sharp and simple. I played a lot of football growing up and through high school, as a full-back you gotta be able to run.

Do you have any fitness and lifestyle goals set for the rest of the year?

I was hoping to run the Auckland Half Marathon, but the way lockdown is looking it might have to be a next year thing. Honestly my fitness and lifestyle goals is to try move my body in some way shape or form each day.

Finally Maddi, what would you say to a person who is not a fan of running?

If you don't like running, first question why you are running or what you are wanting to get out of running. Then just start, even if you stop every minute and walk in between parts - as long as you are moving in a direction it is a start - don't be hard on yourself either if you arent training for a race race - running shouldn't be and isn't a competitive activity it should just be about you.