A New Year's Day promise to herself has sent Api Theodore to the Great Wall of China for a marathon.

The 67-year-old flew to China yesterday where she will run a marathon on the Great Wall, next to the Huangya Pass, Tianjin, section.

It's new territory for Theodore, who often runs marathons to fundraise for charities, as she heads to China for the first time.

"It's just something that when I woke up on New Year's Day I said to myself 'well Api what are you going to do this year?' and I thought about it and it just came to me.


"I looked at myself in the mirror and said 'well that's magic, that's what we'll do'," the charismatic great-grandmother said.

"When the shops opened, I was straight down and booked and paid for my ticket before I could back away."

The Great Wall had an appealing factor for Theodore as she is a history lover, but rather than read about the Wall's significance she would rather see it first-hand.

Wanting to see what the fuss is all about, Theodore jumped on YouTube and researched the Great Wall and the marathon.

Having spent almost the past six months preparing, the already fit Theodore has added gym work to her training along with running every day, including up and down the steps in the hospital 20 times.

However, for the chirpy Northlander it is not all about running marathons.

Theodore has two great-grandchildren and six grandchildren, with the oldest being 12 and youngest just turned 7.

"I've got to keep myself fit because I want to be around for my great-grandchildren. I want to be around a long time for them. I like to keep myself fit, I like running for any charity but this one is for myself.


"I talk to myself and talk to my body and tune into it. That's what I do lots when I'm out running is tell myself 'yeah you can do it'."

Some would consider Theodore as a bit of a Northland legend, but she says what inspires her is other Northlanders achieving great things.

This trip to China will hopefully be one of many for Theodore who plans to do more international marathons, one of particular interest was a winery tour marathon in Scotland.