Nicole Leslie has already proven anything is possible. She has lost half her body weight and in the process discovered a love for running. Now she has signed up for the Tarawera Ultramarathon 50km.
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"There is no quick fix to getting healthy. There's feeling miserable every day of your life and blaming circumstances or there is doing something about it, for yourself."
Those are the words of Rotorua's Nicole Leslie who at her heaviest weighed 150kg and after dropping half of that, a whole 75kg, is getting ready for this weekend's Tarawera Ultramarathon.
Weight issues are something 44-year-old Leslie says she has struggled with her whole life.
"It's been a lifelong battle, you put it on, you lose it, you put it back on and you get to a point where you can't live because you're so god damn fat. I knew I had to do something about it. Everything drags you down; the folds of skin, the sweat, the chafing, everything that comes with holding a bigger weight.
"I was at Weight watchers and Kilo Club from age 11. I left school when I was 14 because of bullying. I was always looking for the quick fix."
With a change of job in April 2018 she met a co-worker who was into long distance running and just over a year ago ran on a treadmill for the first time. Now, the woman who used to consider it a chore to have to walk 10 metres has trained for and entered the Tarawera Ultramarathon 50km on Saturday.
"I lost 26kg before I started the new job through diet, I dropped all sugar and carbs, everything was natural. Then I met [Rotorua Hospice chief executive] Jonathon Hagger who was into running and he's been a massive influence.
"I know my body can do it - it's going to be mental, the mental side and whether I can fight it. At 150kg, I had no motivation, even walking down the road you get so tired. You never ever think in a million years you could run 10m, let alone 50km.
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"There's no way I'll run 50km, I'll run 25km and walk/run the rest. I have a plan, I don't intend to run the whole thing."
"It is mental more than physical - you huff and puff and feel like you're going to die at every corner but you don't. It shows you how much you can push, you're always looking for the next thing and pushing yourself."
Leslie said her weight loss and newfound love of exercise had changed her outlook on life but it was not easy.
"You really need to make that decision and nothing can hold you back because it's only yourself that you're accountable to. No-one else really cares if you lose it or not, you have to want to do it for yourself."
Leslie has well and truly discovered the runner's high. She looks forward to her time away from life's stresses, cruising through the forest.
"It's knowing that I can do it. It is mental more than physical - you huff and puff and feel like you're going to die at every corner but you don't. It shows you how much you can push, you're always looking for the next thing and pushing yourself. When I've got stresses or anything that happens in my life I think 'when can I go for a run and forget it all?'.
"I haven't allowed myself to think about [crossing the finish line] yet. At the moment I'm working towards every aid station and when I get to the Redwoods I know there's one left, it's mini goals.
"The weight loss was the same. If you look at it and think I've got 150kg to lose you won't even start. You look at losing 10kg and then you make yourself the next goal after that. It's all about the little goals that get you to the big final one."