Fifty-nine-year-old Wendy Dinning taught herself to run through terrible pollution, heat, humidity and overcrowding while living in Mumbai, India, so running this September in the Maritime Race Weekend should be a clean breeze for the retired director of communications for Boeing, Australia.
"Oddly enough, when I first started running here, I had huge problems breathing in the clean, crisp air. My lungs had obviously adapted to heat, humidity and extreme pollution," she said.
When Wendy moved to Mumbai in 2007, she says it was the best and worst of everything.
"Your mind at first has trouble comprehending everything you see around you. I started to go for walks on a regular basis, just to get outside and to see the city close up."
Then her husband bought her an ipod with a Nike plus footpod for her 57th birthday. Her first tentative running steps soon began.
"Some of my running was inside, on a treadmill. Some was outside, but very early in the morning before it got too hot, dusty and crowded. It was hard, as even though the temperatures were often around 40 degrees, women dress very modestly and I had to run in heavy cotton trousers and T-shirts."
Her first running shoes were cheap, but comfortable.
"My doctor said women my age should be resting, not running and that running was dangerous for my health, but I ignored that advice."
The scenery during a typical run for Dinning during her 3.5 years in Mumbai was nothing like what she experienced when she moved to Halifax 15 months ago.
"Many people lived on the beach there, in makeshift shelters and you would see them bathing, washing their clothes, going to the toilet, cleaning their teeth and fishing in the water."
Dinning would run past sweating men in loin cloths, dragging wagon loads of goods up the hill.
"They would stare at me, bewildered, wondering why a mad foreign women would be choosing to exert herself that way."
As she continued to train, Wendy soon got the racing bug and competed in her first half marathon in Melbourne in 2010. It was the first sporting event she had ever entered.
Dinning even achieved her goal of running a full marathon before she turned 60 by competing in the Toronto Marathon.
She now trains with "a great lady," Mim Rostek, and they are running together in the Tartan Twosome at Maritime Race Weekend.
This event includes the Coastal 5K on Friday night, Sept. 14 and either the 10K, half or full marathon on Saturday morning.
Maritime Race Weekend, a collection of races to be held Sept. 14 and 15, has added a ‘Tartan Twosome' component to their schedule. In addition to running one of the three weekend races (10K, half-marathon or marathon), participants can also run the Coastal 5K on the Friday evening and receive "extra swag" for the extra effort. Tartan Twosome runners will get more gear in their race kit, including short and long-sleeved tech shirts and a third medal for their dual race effort. For more information on the Tartan Twosome, go to www.maritimeraceweekend.com. The Weekly News is a proud sponsor of Maritime Race Weekend.