Proud Sister Running Marathon in Memory of Her Brother

Published: Thu 27 Oct 2016 04:36 PM
Queenstown, 19th November 2016
October 27 2016
For immediate release from the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon, for further information visit
For Michelle Anderson, the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon on 19 November is all about her late brother.
Originally from the UK, Michelle has been living in New Zealand for 14 years and is set up in life and in business in beautiful Pohara, in the Tasman region. She and her brother ‘Our Ste’ (the ‘Liverpool version of Stephen!) loved running together and he had done quite a few half marathons and marathons.
Tragically, ‘Ste’ took his own life two years ago, so Michelle has made it her mission to run the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon in memory of her special brother, who she loves and misses dearly.
She also wants to beat his time though!
“I have five brothers, all six of us were born in eight years. We were always trying to beat each other when we were growing up. So I guess in a light-hearted way he can’t beat me - because he can’t, so I’m going to beat him!”
The last time Michelle went to the UK was two and a half years ago with her family, around the time her brother had just started getting ill.
“We have three kids so it’s always hard getting to the UK because of the cost, but suddenly we said we are going and I am so glad we did because that was the last time we saw Ste. It was great because the kids made a connection with their uncle. He was trying to put on a brave face, but you could tell something wasn’t right. This was also the last time we went running together. One day I said to him, come on we are going for a run, you’ll feel better. We went for this lovely run and I have some very special memories of that day.
“Obviously we said our goodbyes and came back to New Zealand and it was a few months later we found out he had gone missing and had left a map.”
The weekend of the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon will be a special one for Michelle as it will mark the two-year anniversary of her brother’s death, as well as the anniversary of her Dad’s death, who passed away when she was 18.
The Golden Bay mother also wants to raise awareness to the link between exercise and mental health. She is a PE and Health teacher and she has her own business, Energise You Personal Training.
“I’d been teaching for 19 years before setting up my personal training business which I have been doing for the past two years. I have quite a holistic approach and I never come from a place where I’m just working on the physical aspect. I look at the whole wellbeing model – spiritual, social, mental and emotional. I really do believe that the exercise a person does can enhance mood. Running and exercise is great for your physical and mental health.”
Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon Director Nicole Fairweather is delighted that the event will provide an opportunity for Michelle to pay tribute to her brother, and is glad that the event can help raise awareness of depression and the part that exercise can play in a healthy lifestyle.
“Mental health is such an important issue facing New Zealand and there is a great deal of research that links exercise and the outdoors as helping fight the effects of depression. We can help promote those links and through the telling of stories like Michelle’s and in doing so encourage people to reach out and get the right help, then we are glad to play our part.”
Unfortunately, Michelle has had a slight setback in her preparation for the Queenstown Marathon. After racing in the New Zealand adventure racing event, the Spring Challenge three weeks ago, she knocked her pelvis and back out.
“I’m really gutted, but I am trying to be positive. I’m not able to run at all at the moment and I haven’t been able to exercise in three weeks. I am seeing an osteopath and I can bend and put my shoes back on now and go for a light jog. I’m sure I will be fine, whether or not I will be able to run at pace we will see. I can’t control what will happen at the moment. It is what it is and I’ll still be smiling when I cross the finish line.”
Michelle has done two marathons before and is the first to admit it’s not her favourite running event, but she wanted another task after the Spring Challenge. She took about a week to make her mind up and then entered the Queenstown Marathon without even looking at the course, but knowing it fell on the right weekend for the right reasons. She’s since had a look at the course and likes it.
For the month of October, Michelle has been getting her clients to donate a gold coin every time they exercise. Last year she did the same, and the money was donated to Breast Cancer. This year she has decided the money will go towards a local community health group.
Michelle has a quirky trait and loves doing star jumps. She often poses for photos doing a star jump and she said it’s all about not taking the world too seriously.
“The star jump allows me to do something stupid and just relax. Something like this is all about letting go and being silly and just allowing ourselves to be a little bit freer.”
Please note that entries close at midnight tonight (Thursday), for more information about the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon visit HERE
If you or someone you know needs help or someone to talk to, contact:
• Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354
• Suicide Crisis Helpline (available 24/7) – 0508 828 865
• Kidsline (for those aged 5-18, available 24/7) –0800 54 37 54

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