A year ago, Tammy Kara couldn’t run six kilometres.
A week ago she completed her first 21km half marathon in Rotorua in a time of two hours, 11 minutes.
Next week, she flies to China where she’ll run twice that distance, 42km - with 5160 uneven steps - taking part in the Great Wall Marathon with an eight-hour time limit.
“I just wanted to do something for my kids and show them that nothing’s impossible,” she says.
The Te Puna Mātauranga-based Senior Procurement Officer is one of 88 members of the New Zealand team, Influence Crew.
She has been working for a year with trainer Doug Healey, who had provided plenty of inspiration during the tough times.
Healey broke his back in a workplace accident and was told he’d never walk again but pushed himself to beat the odds and now runs marathons around the world and trains people to overcome their own battles.
After her first training session, “I thought what the hell have I got myself into,” Tammy says.
But perseverance has paid off, and she’s now running the equivalent of 84km a week in training.
Tammy says she applied to run the marathon along with husband Ullysis, although she didn’t tell him about it until their entries were confirmed. Theirs was one of 1500 applications.
“He’s not a runner,” she says, but the pair have trained and worked together and are excited about what lies ahead.
“It’s been a year in the making, and we are really looking forward to it.”
It will be a reward for the long hours training alongside fulltime work as well as running their own business.
“Sometimes we’re starting at 4 am. I try to do the long runs in the weekend, but It’s been hard on the kids. I want to be a role model for the kids, and I tell them dreams can be achieved if you work hard for it.”
She has also had to deal with injuries, and Tammy says a month ago she thought her dream was over.
“I sprained my lower back cross fitting on April 7, and I thought it was over for me then.”
But she’s recovered now and is heading to China not really sure what to expect.
“It’ll be my first time to China. I’m a bit worried about the heat.”
And she has just one expectation on what she’ll achieve.
“I just want to finish.”
Tammy leaves for China on Wednesday, and The Great Wall Marathon is on Saturday, May 20.