Liz Laban running towards Masters Games with ASB Summer Starter
Liz Laban fought chronic pain to run the Summer Starter last year and will not stop there.
The Christchurch woman was diagnosed Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) in 2013, but set herself the goal of running the 4 kilometre leg of the race.
"I was aiming to try and jog all the way. It was doubtful whether I'd actually be able to jog the 4km, but me and my daughter managed to do it," she said.
"Pretty slow, but we still managed to jog."
EDS is a genetic defect in the connective tissue that provides support to many body parts such as the skin, muscles and ligaments. For Laban, that meant three years ago she could barely walk.
This year, she wants to challenge herself further by taking on people from across the globe in the 2017 World Masters Games.
She recently turned 65 and will compete with others her age. However, she did not imagine others with EDS would take part.
"I've progressed since last year . . . I've increased my training up to about 6km now, can't quite make the 10km yet, but it has to be a very gradual increase, you can't make giant strides."
Held in Auckland in April, Laban said the event's proximity to home played a part in her ambition to compete.
"I used to be a sprinter, so I guess I thought if I'm not going to be able to do the half marathon at the World Masters Games, I might try a bit of sprinting."
However, she said she did not know how her body would hold up to the pace, so she planned ahead to ensure she would not miss out.
"I've got no idea what event I'll be able to do when it comes around to it, so I've entered the 100 metres, the 200, the 400, the 800 and the long jump."
"I'm not going to do them all, I'm just going to select out of those five."
Formerly a representative for Great Britain at the 1976 Olympic Games, Laban was no stranger to training for an event.
She would soon begin training with Max Wood, "an inspiration" and a master himself, previously competing in the 80-and-over 200m category at the games.
Running with other local veterans at Rawhiti Domain in New Brighton within the next couple of weeks would be how that began, she said.
"I'll be doing that just to test my legs out and then progress from there. If it all goes well I'll aim for the 100 and as I get fitter I'll move up a distance and see where I end up.
"It may well be that I have to stop at 100, but who knows."
Laban would be running to support the SPCA.
* Register now to enter the 2016 ASB Summer Starter at summerstarter.co.nz