Coogee

Heather Hawkins…a 52 year old mother of two from Coogee NSW…

2007: Stage One Ovarian Cancer

In 2007, aged 41, and unfortunately like many other women in Australia, Heather was diagnosed with Stage One Ovarian Cancer – within one week of her diagnosis her tumour had grown from 8cm to 18cm. Surgery was nine days after diagnosis where the surgical team removed the tumour and performed a complete hysterectomy…plus took out some extra bits also.

Heather was then scheduled to have extreme radio and chemotherapy, with all the side effects heading her way. But this was not to be, instead, and due to the work of some amazing re-searchers, Heather undertook some new treatment for post ovarian cancer surgery, that was based on major cancer research out of England … this being a surveillance program of regular scans and blood tests, which lasted for a five year period. During that time should the Cancer had returned, then chemotherapy would have commenced. Thankfully now, ten years later, Heather is now in remission, without undergoing any chemo.

2009: Reigniting my Adventurous Spirit by becoming a Surf Lifesaver

In 2009 two years after diagnosis, Heather obtained her SLS Bronze Medal and became a Surf Lifesaver at Coogee SLSC. This was a major turning point in her life…taking on the new world of the ocean, rescues, physical challenges, and some pretty big rescue boards.

2012: My First big race...at 47!

In 2012, Heather decided to run the Mother’s Day Classic which is a 4km event – after training in Centennial Park for the MDC, she exclaimed that 4km’s is a long way to run…Following this first ever run at 47 years of age, and after finishing with a smile, Heather undertook the 14km City to Surf three months later in August 2012.

2013: Moving up to my first marathon

Just one month later Heather decided to lift the bar, and ran her first ever Half Marathon in Sept 2012… and still smiling.From here the story becomes a little more serious …Heather is now enjoying her new found love of long distance running, and decided to take it another level and run the Sydney Marathon a year later in Sept 2013.

2015: Going to extremes in the North Pole

Heather was traveling to Paris in April 2015 to celebrate her 50th birthday, and her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband Doug. After missing out on registering for the Paris Marathon Heather then sought out another option while in Europe, and up popped the North Pole Marathon..,held at the North Pole on the ice floe.

Heather registered for the Nth Pole Marathon in January 2015 with this extreme event only three months later. After training on the soft sand of Coogee Beach, Heather now 50 yrs of age, ran the North Pole Marathon on April 11th 2015 ,and won the Women’s Division …while also getting eighth overall, and beating twenty seven men from around the world, who had all been doing some serious training..

Our own Rob De Castella, who was the starter for the 2015 North Pole Marathon, described the event, which was held in -41C, temperatures, as the hardest marathon ever run in marathon history. In August 2015 Heather achieved 3rd place in the Women’s division in the Centennial Park Ultra, running 100km in under 12 hrs – and then jumped on a plane 11 hrs later to join her husband Doug to assist him in delivering the first ever Surf Life Saving Nippers program in Israel. (Doug had been working on this project for the last 14mths)

2016: 7 Marathons in 7 Days on 7 Continents

In May 2016, and looking for her next challenge, Heather signed up for the The World Marathon Challenge, covering 7 Marathons in 7 Days on 7 Continents, held between January 23 and Jan 30th 2016. Commencing in the Antarctic, this event is the ultimate personal and physical challenge.

From the first marathon in the Antarctic, where the clock started counting down from 168 hrs, Heather then flew to Chile and ran 42.195kms – back on another flight to Florida, and then ran another 42.195kms, and then a hop across the Atlantic to Madrid, where she ran her fourth 42.195km..on completion of that run a quick flight to Morocco being around 3 hrs, and another 42.195kms..and then off to the wonders of Dubai, and a solid 42.195kms next to some amazing skyscrapers…and then finally the long flight home to Sydney…and at 11.00pm on the 29th Jan 2016 Heather commenced her seventh marathon in seven days on her seventh continent at Manly beach – five hours later Heather completed the World Marathon Challenge.

Heather is one of the two Australian woman to achieve this stunning feat, and she also became a member of the Intercontinental Marathon Club, having completed 7 Marathons on 7 continents in 7 days.

But the story is not just about physical achievements and running around the world.. it’s about living life to the full, doing those things that put that smile on your face that won’t go away, its about putting the past behind you, being thankful for the amazing research that got her through her fight with Ovarian Cancer, and making a path for the future.

2016: The Great Himalaya Trail

That future took a big turn in August 2016 when Heather, along with her two children, completed the worlds longest and highest trekking challenge, the Great Himalaya Trail. This trek crosses Nepal from east to west, 1,700km’s to be precise, across the peaks of the Himalayas in 152 days – basically trekking everyday, across every terrain possible, from valleys to lakes, to forest to high passes at 6,200m. Heather trekked this trail with her son and daughter, and a team from World Expeditions.

Since 2015 In Heather has also been inspiring others, via her work with ANZGOG, and as an Ambassador with CanToo. In Nov 2016 Heather ran the New York Marathon with a team from CanToo, in her capacity as CanToo Ambassador and will certainly be back for another Marathon in one of the worlds most amazing cities.

So, what’s the next challenge

Currently Heather has a Trek in Nepal booked with Huma Charity Challenge raising over $30,000 for CanToo and then on completion flies to Chile for the worlds highest desert marathon in the Atacama Desert in Chile at 4,400m – The Volcano Marathon.

All this running, and while she is still smiling, is for all the women who have encoun-tered cancer, for them to live life to the full..no matter who they are, or what their situation.
  • Mother’s Day Classic 4km
  • City to Surf 14km
  • Sydney Half Marathon 21km
  • Trekked to Everest Base Camp Nepal
  • Mothers Day Classic 4km
  • Sydney Half Marathon 21km
  • City to Surf 14km
  • Sydney Full Marathon 42km
  • Marysville Half Marathon 21km
  • Canberra Full Marathon 2014
  • Mothers Day Classic 8km
  • Sydney Full Marathon 42km
  • Centennial Park Ultra 50km
  • Melbourne Full Marathon 42km
  • Marysville Full Marathon 42km
  • Six Foot Track Trail Marathon 45km
  • North Pole Marathon 42km – Winner Female
  • Mothers Day Classic 8km
  • Centennial Park 100km – Third place Female
  • Sydney Full Marathon 42km
  • World Marathon Challenge 7 Marathons, in 7 Days, on 7 Continents.
  • Trekked the Great Himalaya Trail 1700kms across Nepal : March – August
  • Sydney Full Marathon 42km
  • New York Full Marathon 42km
  • The Rollercoaster Trail Marathon Victoria 43km
  • Mothers Day Classic 8km
  • Great Ocean Road Full Marathon 44km
  • July Lifesaving Training in Thailand
  • September Sydney Marathon
  • October 3.5 week trek to Everest Base camp Nepal with Can Too
  • November The Volcano Marathon in the Atacama Desert in Chile
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