Active Ageing: Anne Boyd is happily running into old age
WHAT do the skills of a music academic, a classical art music composer and a marathon runner have in common?
Well, according to Anne Boyd, they come together in a quite a lot of ways.
"They meet in terms of connecting to the natural world, particularly on long runs," 71-year-young runner Anne said.
"You enter a meditational space when you are out running.
"I can compose while I am running or if I am running with someone else. An orchestral work I was working on I actually imagined while I was running in Centennial Park, sometimes discussing it with other people who were interested - that is what I was imaging in my head.
"When you compose music it comes from a very deep place inside you and when you are running you are breathing very deeply and you go into a very deep space in which you seem to connect to everything around you."
Anne also connects her music with her running rhythm. She will think about an energising Chopin piece or part of a Beethoven symphony or a fabulous Vivaldi piece.
"I tune into my musical memory and use that to get myself motivated."
Anne came to marathon running after a lifetime of keeping reasonably active through swimming and walking - when not teaching or sitting composing music.
But at 67 she looked in the mirror and saw a person who needed to make some important life changes.
She took up jogging after taking part in a Seventh Day Adventist weight management program.
"I was 84 kilos and 66 at that stage, putting on two kilos steadily every year. I didn't really want to be a fat old lady and I am aware of all the health issues that go along with being overweight," she said.
"I had tried every diet under the sun to shed my kilos, so this was my last-ditch stand."
Anne started with fast walking and then progressed to gentle jogging. Once she got to comfortably jog 3km, Anne took part in a running festival in Canberra.
"My daughter ran alongside me and I abused her soundly during the last 2km.
"At the end I was red as a beetroot but so happy. Next day I could hardly walk," a jovial Anne recounted.
She then took on the Gold Coast Marathon's 5km race.
Carrying an injury from that race, Anne found herself a physiotherapist, Martin Doyle, who taught her the value of weight-bearing strength exercises.
From there she completed the 9km Bridge Run, a 10km race at Homebush and another in Canberra, plus the Sydney Fun Run before completing her first half marathon.
"I was at the tail end, but the tail end in any distance race is where the parties are held. If you jog along, you swap stories and give each other encouragement - it's a community," Anne said.
Finally, with the help of a running group and a running coach, she made it to her first marathon in 2014. She described the thrill of finishing that race as a feeling she'd never experienced.
Anne has now completed three marathons, with another one scheduled for later this year.
There isn't much rhythm and pace going on for her right now. Anne is laid up in hospital with two broken arms after falling at the end of a 10km race.
She is, however, using the hospital time to work on her plan to document her uplifting experience of taking up running at an older age, with the book due for release late 2018.
Anne is also pushing herself to be ready in time for the Gold Coast Marathon on July 1.