Cancer survivor Rebecca Francis hopes to put the frustration of 16 years of living with chronic fatigue syndrome behind her when she takes on the 10km event at the Rotorua Marathon next weekend.
The Rotorua-based radiographer was diagnosed with melanoma, which had spread to her lymph glands and lung and she was given a five-year survival rate of 10 per cent.
However, Francis survived the odds, and to celebrate her recovery and then aged in her mid-20s she trained to compete for the Christchurch Marathon.
The preparation had gone well only to wake one morning around three weeks before the big day feeling like she'd "been run over by a truck".
"Damn, I thought, not the time to get the flu," Francis said.
"If only. Six months on, I was still sleeping 12 to 15 hours a day, could barely walk for 10 minutes, and had all but stopped working.
"I was labelled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Being so active, this was hard to deal with, especially being told, 'we don't think you will run 10km again'."
Recovery has been a slow process and she has faced many setbacks in her journey.
At different points, over the past decade-and-a-half, she tried to complete short runs only to reach another tipping point.
"Suddenly I'd suffer fatigue and have no energy," she said.
"The challenge I faced was I was advised not to decrease activity too much, but this took great courage when I was worried that this would make things worse.
"I remember a real low moment was when a very dear friend of mine, who was going through a tough time of her own, asked if I could keep her company one evening.
"Unfortunately, I just had no energy at all to spend on her, and thinking back this shocks me as I am incredibly loyal to family and friends."
Enjoying a couple of years without any major symptoms, Francis has gradually returned to running. Last year, the radiographer relocated from Melbourne to settle in Rotorua.
She joined the Jogging the Powerpoles running group and has advanced from a 20-minute run/walk to being able to string together longer runs.
"I've had many setbacks in the past few years but now I am set for my first race in 16 years. I am so excited. I am finally ready to race again."
Embracing stunning running routes through the Redwood Forest and Sulphur Point in Rotorua she is targeting a sub-one-hour time for the 10km race.
For Francis to finish will be a huge moment in the 42-year-old's life after many years of struggle.
"I've labelled it the end in my long and difficult journey with chronic fatigue," she said.
"The journey has taught me patience and to be grateful for small victories, and running 10km in Rotorua will be a massive victory."