Winmalee runner Leigha Wills wins Regional Distance Running Championships

Leigha Wills started running three years ago to lose weight and 10,000km later she can’t imagine her life without pounding the pavement.

The Winmalee resident and St Thomas Aquinas Primary music teacher has won the 2018 Regional Distance Running Championships women’s title.

Consisting of six road races over the past year in regional NSW, Wills won half marathons in Bathurst, Mudgee and Forbes, was second in a half marathon at Dubbo and second in a marathon at Carcoar. She was also fourth in another half marathon in Orange in February when she ran unwell.

“I’m shocked I can run. After 38 years of not being able to, it still shocks me,” Wills said.

Running is now embedded in her life. She’s up at 4.30am to run before work, and knocks out between 90 and 115 kilometres a week.

“The first kilometre is always hard. I love the feeling of achieving something and getting better; that sense of achievement,” the 40-year-old said.

She’s also enjoyed setting an example for her two boys, aged eight and nine, that adults can be fit and healthy.

For the past year, Wills has been coached by Jo Brischetto of Up Coaching.

“It’s been good to have her so I don’t push it too hard,” Wills said.

In 2019 Wills wants to run a sub-three-hour marathon, most likely at the Australian Running Festival in Canberra or the Western Sydney Marathon in Penrith. She was 3 minutes off that goal at the Western Sydney Marathon this year.

“[Jo] has helped me to achieve amazing things in my running I never dreamed of three years ago. I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds for me,” Wills said.

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