42ks in 42 Days: Meet Perth’s Most Inspirational Marathon Runner
For Jo Penkin, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is no barrier to accomplishing her life goal of completing 10 marathons.
A Londoner by birth, Jo was diagnosed with MS in 1988. When she watched her husband (then fiancé) Jack cross the line in the 1990 London Marathon she was inspired to take up the challenge herself.
“The next day, I went out the front of my flat and ran 30 meters and I thought – okay, I’ll run a Marathon,” Jo said.
Since then, Jo has completed nine Marathons around the world, including the London marathon five times, the Dorset marathon twice, the Dublin marathon and the Abingdon marathon.
“I’ve always thought I might as well just get on with life. I’ve never let anything hold me back,” Jo said.
If you thought that running 42km with MS would be a challenge, Jo has also run while dressed as a bean tin and many other colourful costumes. In one instance, Jo completed a shorter race while pregnant.
“I hoped they’d give me two medals for that one,” Jo said.
Jo moved to Western Australia in 1999, where she has been very happy and kept her love of fun runs alive.
Then in 2013, Jo suffered a serious MS attack while on a flight. As a consequence, she feared that she might not be able to run again.
"Running was the least of my concerns. Everything just became a struggle, I was always exhausted and constantly falling over,” Jo said.
She has spent the last five years building her strength back up. Last year, Jo was fitted with a Functional Electronic Stimulation (FES), which allowed her to walk on her treadmill again.
“From the moment I knew I could walk, I knew I had to make the most of it,” Jo said.
The Chevron City to Surf for Activ is Activ’s signature fundraising event and is WA’s oldest and most loved community fun run. Jo has run in shorter races at the Chevron City to Surf for Activ four times. However, she has never run in the event’s marathon and earned medal number 10.
That is about to change this year.
Activ is proud to support Jo to participate in the marathon event for the Chevron City to Surf for Activ 2018 and finally finish her 10th marathon.
Starting on 16 July, Jo will complete one kilometre every day on her treadmill for 41 days.
Then on 26 August, the day of the Perth Chevron City to Surf for Activ, Jo will finish her final kilometre on the track and cross the line to complete her 10th marathon.
“I’m calling it 42ks in 42 days,” said Jo.
Jo has been training hard for a year in preparation.
"Having the city to Surf as a goal was a great motivator," Jo said.
To support Jo, you can donate to her page here.
Activ looks forward to seeing Jo on the track and thank her for allowing us to be part of her story.
“I’m not always brave, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not always be brave. But don’t give up – whatever life throws at you.”
Be an #ActivHero like Jo – register for the Chevron City to Surf for Activ at www.chevroncitytosurf.com.au.