When Alison King moved to New Zealand in 2003, she would never have imagined that 13 years later she would have completed four Ironman races in Taupo, 11 marathons, roughly 15 half marathons and five half Ironman races.
The Rotorua mother has turned her life around, and just 14 days after competing at the Rotorua Marathon this amazing woman will be on the start line at the inaugural Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon on Saturday 14th May.
"I moved here from the UK in 2003 and I was pretty lazy. I would eat fast food for all my meals really and then I decided that wasn't a good way to be so I joined Weight Watchers. That led me to going to Aqua Aerobics, which then led me to wonder if I could swim a length of a 25 metre pool, which at the time I couldn't."
King heard about the Special K triathlon's and she saw some photos of women who were larger than her and she thought if they could do a triathlon, then she could. A year later, she completed her first Ironman race in Taupo.
"It was only because running is at the end of a triathlon that I decided to get into it properly. I have a four-year-old son and after he was born, running was the easiest thing to get back into. I just love it."
Running has indeed become a big part of King's life. She is now a registered running coach with Athletics New Zealand and she's also an accredited coach through Athletics Australia.
"I have also done a personal training qualification too. That was something that I wanted to do six years ago, but I didn't think I would be able to because I didn't look like the stereotypical personal trainer. 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 and exercising and eating well."
Managing Director of event organisers Ironman Oceania Dave Beeche indeed says that King is an example of someone not only taking on a challenge, but impacting on their personal health and wellbeing through participation in events such as the Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon.
"These are the stories that excite us and motivate us to ensure we are on top of our game and putting on the best possible event in the best surroundings. 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 and will applaud everyone to the finish line as if they are the first home."
King has only just competed in the Rotorua Marathon in late April and so has effectively completed her training for the Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon, with essentially just small maintenance work required before race day.
King had been helping out four runners from the Lake City Athletic Club in Rotorua in the build-up to last week's marathon but says Hawke's Bay will be different.
"We had three 'marathon virgins' and the goal was to help them out and we had a 100% success rate. I ran with one of the groups for the whole way and it was actually quite good as we helped each other out. However, in Hawke's Bay I will be doing it all on my own. I know quite a few people who will be doing it, but this one is all about doing it myself and seeing how I go this time."
She took part in the first ever Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon, so King was excited to hear another one was being put on in the North Island.
"The organisers put on a great event in Queenstown and this is another chance to do another amazing race in a beautiful location in the Hawke's Bay, which isn't too far away."
King will indeed delight in the surroundings throughout the event, with the course winding its way through wineries, orchards and the Hawke's Bay countryside on smooth off-road trails before finishing in the surrounds of a wine and food festival at the stunning Sileni Estates Winery, where the best of the region will be on hand to help competitors and supporters celebrate their own remarkable achievements.