Tracey Groves is half the woman she used to be and twice the person she was.
The mathematics of that is simple. She has shed a staggering 65 kilograms since determining to change her life in January of last year, and more recently, since October, becoming a runner.
"I've gained some self-respect," the 48-year-old former journalist, cum primary school teacher said after winning the five kilometre David O Jones Ararat Mitre Handicap at Dunneworthy Common last Sunday at only her second start with the Stawell and Ararat Cross Club.
"I played state level netball in Queensland, but gave that away when I became busy first with work and then with becoming a mother. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of who I was and who I wanted to be."
Her weakness was carbohydrates, "butter, cake, sugar, bread", and when the kilograms piled on she looked the other way rather than the way forward.
"I had never run five kms in my life until I joined Park Run. I took baby steps at first...a bit of a walk and a bit of a run until there were no walks. I changed my diet and my whole outlook changed. I now prioritize my life around where my next run will be and I'm happily obsessed."
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Second on debut with the club in Stawell a fortnight ago, Groves quickly found her competitive groove in the Mitre 10, chasing the front runners down and charging to the lead with 500m to run.
From then on, she was never challenged and greeted the timekeepers with 1.15 minutes to spare from returning runner Nathan Bendelle with their coach and advisor Sue Blizzard proudly running into third place after giving her protégés a start. Groves has returned to swimming with a view to a future triathlon and then a half-marathon.
"You are never too old to try something new," she said, looking forward to her next challenge, the eight km Thompson Family Handicap at Ararat's McDonald Park this Sunday.
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