The Air New Zealand Queenstown International marathon attracts many Aussies over the ditch each year, with a record
1,641 making the trip in 2019, but not all will have the inspirational back-story that Jose and Kathie Alonso bring with
them from Ipswich in Queensland.
The amazing police officer couple have been on quite the journey these past three years, motivating each other and
friends and family along the way, losing a combined 67 kilograms – Kathie an incredible 52 and Jose 15.
Kathie says the urge to run has only come on in recent times and she can’t quite believe that she and Jose will on
Saturday take on the marathon distance for the very first time.
“We definitely haven't been runners all our lives. At the end of 2016, I decided I needed to lose weight, so I started
walking and then because I am a very determined person, I wanted to go further and faster, hence the running,” said
Ironically Jose only tagged along in those early days as something of a ‘security officer’ for Kathie.
“Jose only came with me to begin with to make sure that I was safe as I would normally leave home in the dark. I knew
that he hated the alarm going off and being shift workers, our time off is important. In 2017, I came home one night and
told him that I had a deal for him. I asked him if he wanted to do a 10k fun run in every State of Australia in 2018. He
loves travelling so he jumped at the chance but of course he didn't want to come last, so he started training with me.”
2018 was then a very busy time for the couple who have both been in the police force for over 25 years, as they found
the time in their schedules to work, train and travel to different events across Australia, achieving their goal.
But with one goal ticked off, another soon loomed large on the horizon as this amazing pair pushed themselves even
further on their fitness journey.
“Last year we completed what we set out to do but like everyone else, we wanted to see if we could push ourselves even
further. This year we have mainly done half marathons. I had seen the Queenstown Marathon a few times on Facebook and we
decided that if we were going to only ever do one full marathon then let's make it a memorable one.”
Those memories will be made this week, with the pair arriving into Queenstown today (Monday) to explore the region and
prepare for Saturday’s Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon, an event tagged as ‘the world’s most scenic
marathon’ so is one they will no doubt enjoy in amongst over 12,000 keen participants.
Kathie says they have had a little taste of what it will be like when running the Outback event last year.
“We ran in the Outback Marathon at Ayers Rock last year and upgraded from the 11kms to the half marathon at the last
minute and loved the atmosphere and thought the number of visitors from overseas running was unbelievable. This was
probably the highlight of the year.”
Jose is loving every moment of the journey and is immensely proud of Kathie and what she has achieved.
“If our story and in particular Kathie’s story can motivate someone else, then that is a good thing. If she can do it,
anyone can. She is such a determined little thing and has achieved amazing things these past few years.”
Hard to believe that in just over two years this couple has taken on a new passion that sees them travel Australia and
now the world in pursuit of the next challenge.
Along the way they have looked to share their story through their Instagram Account ‘bigheartslittlesteps’, as they have
told their story in pictures and inspired others along the way.
“It seems like we have been on fast forward for a couple of years and Jose is 15 kilograms lighter, I am 52 kilograms
lighter, we have made some fantastic friends and we are going to run a marathon - an unbelievable 42.2kms this weekend,”
Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon by the numbers
All races Saturday November 16, further information at www.queenstown-marathon.co.nz
• Air New Zealand Marathon 2,726
• New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Half Marathon 5,907
• Cigna 10km 3,002
• Queenstown Airport Kids Run (limited entries still available) 321
• 61% female, 39% male
• 71% of all entries from outside the Otago/Southland region
• 44 Countries represented, the top five being: New Zealand 9,567; Australia 1,641; United States 146; China 144;
United Kingdom 90
• Oldest competitor: Clasina Van der veeken, 88 years old
Youngest competitor: numerous five-year old’s in the Kids Race
• Skyline Volunteer Crew: 620