When Alison King moved to New Zealand she was "pretty lazy".

Thirteen years later she has completed four Ironman races, 11 marathons, about 15 half marathons and five half Ironman races.

She has turned her life around and just 14 days after competing at the Rotorua Marathon she will be on the start line at the inaugural Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon on May 14.

Ms King said she was "pretty lazy", eating a lot of fast food. Then she joined Weight Watchers, which led her to aqua aerobics and swimming.

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The Rotorua mum heard about the Special K triathlons and saw some photos of women larger than her, and thought if they could do a triathlon then she could too.

A year later, she completed her first Ironman race in Taupo.

Running has become a big part of her life. She is now a registered running coach with Athletics New Zealand and she's also an accredited coach through Athletics Australia.

"I've changed my whole way of thinking and have come to realise that it doesn't matter what you look like, just as long as you are a good role model."

Ironman Oceania managing director Dave Beeche said King was an example of someone not only taking on a challenge but impacting on their personal health.

"Alison's story reminds us that each and every participant will have their 'back story' as to why they are on the start line - we want each and every one of those experiences to be memorable ones."

- Read more about the Air New Zealand International Marathon in Saturday's edition.