Sammy?s miracle marathon

By Tony White

YAMBA athlete Sammy Hunt is living testimony to what can be achieved through endeavour and the human spirit no matter how old you are.

Around three years ago Hunt was diagnosed with life threatening breast cancer.

Fortunately for the 58-year-old the disease was successfully treated, but it triggered a complete change in Hunt's thinking and lifestyle.

Once fully recovered, Hunt embarked on a journey of personal discovery with a new found will. At an age when many people are slowing down and rather than mope around and succumb to frailty, Hunt took an opposite tack.

"I stopped work and decided to do a few things for myself rather than concentrate on the family as I'd always done," she said.

"You can't live forever, I wanted to get out and do some things I'd never done in my life. Get out there and have a go."

Hunt had never walked or ran competitively in her adult life.

Last year, with much trepidation, she elected to enter a 7.5km walk on the Gold Coast.

"I came fifth in my section. I couldn't believe it," she recalled.

"I was so excited and surprised.

"I hadn't even done any training other than walking the dog.

"After that I thought 'gee I might go all right if I get a bit serious at this caper (competing).'"

Her 29-year-old daughter Peta Gatland accompanied Hunt on her competitive walking foray.

"Peta was terrific. She stayed with me all the way encouraging me to go faster even though she could have gone much quicker. Peta finished 10th in her class."

This July Hunt has stepped up the ante. She will attempt to tackle the 10km Gold Coast Airport Marathon TelstraCountry Wide Run.

Hunt will be one of 10,000 competitors taking part and has entered the 55-60-year-old category.

"I've been running 5 kilometres twice a week and 10km once a week," Hunt said.

"I'm doing gym and bike work too. It's crazy. I'm doing things when it's pitch black.

"It's all for fun. It's been great. I can't wait to get to the Gold Coast.

"It's a fantastic event with a great reputation, I just hope my training between now and the race allows me to perform at my very best on the day.

"If I do all right I hope to go in a half marathon later on and I want to compete in other events in Queensland and New Zealand."

Hunt's daughter Peta has also entered the Gold Coast event.

"Peta's been training with me," Hunt said. "She reckons she's not going to wait for me this year, but I'm not either. There's a bit of family rivalry."

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