The Women’s 50+ section of Wellington Scottish contains some of our most impressive athletes. Over the next few weeks, Tricia Sloan will introduce us to some of those athletes and their backgrounds and motivations. Tricia begins today with a conversation with Maria Williams.

Maria Williams is the first of our MW50 to be introduced to the wider Scottish community. Maria is perhaps the most inspiring and brave athlete I have had the privilege to run with. As Maria has no sight, she relies on her own ability and trust in others to guide her. Maria’s dedication to running and her drive to tackle tough events such as cross-country races makes her an example to the rest of us when we falter in out motivation to train and race.

What motivates you to run?

I enjoy the social side of running with different people, I also enjoy being in the outdoors and running on different terrains: flat, hills and trail or road. Training for events is also a good motivator and having time to clear my head and feel I have done something for myself.

When and why did you start running?

A work colleague who had got into marathon running kept badgering me that I had the build of a runner and should make a good runner. I kept fobbing her off as I had never run and at the ripe old age of 42 did not really think it was going to be a starter. I also am blind so I didn’t really know how to be guided. However she was quite persistent so I thought the best way was to go for a run, disprove her theory then she would leave me alone. We did go for a run along the Auckland waterfront and first it was 2km then 4km then 6km…………the rest is history!

What has kept you running?

I shifted to Wellington the following year and was seeking new running guides. By chance I was introduced to Melissa Moon who came out of running retirement to run with me. Neither of us anticipated we would be doing the London marathon 9 months later!

I have also been lucky to meet Tricia who had no reservation to guide me in the Redwood Forest trail the day after she met me at Rotorua Road Relays. She managed to lose me of the side of the track as I slipped towards the river! Then she offered to take me ocean swimming and we have been doing splash and dash events since!

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Completing London marathon with Melissa Moon representing NZ as part of the Para Athletic World Marathon Champs (25 April 2015) in 3:44.

Being part of the Golden Girls MW50 win in the 2019 Road Relays at Feilding.

What has been the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?

Missing out on trying to qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympics due to fractures and stress fractures. This required me to wear a moon boot for six weeks.