5Strengthen Your WingsExpand your capacity to soar

The first time I ever saw someone jogging, my six-year-old brain wondered what on earth they were doing. We were driving along the single-lane country road between my parents’ farm and my one-room school and there she was, doing the strangest of things: just running along on the gravel beside the road. Not chasing anything. Not running away from anything. She was wearing turquoise shorts and a bright terry-towelling headband, Olivia Newton-John style. I marvelled at the idea that someone would just go running for the sake of it (as distinct from trying to win the 100-metre egg and spoon race or get the heck out of the bull paddock after mistakenly wandering into it to pick wild mushrooms as I once did.)

I was soon to learn that her name was Mrs Oberg. Mrs Oberg was American, which was itself extremely novel and rather exotic in our rural area. My own mother was also technically an American, which always made her a little more exotic than other kids’ mothers (at least to me). However, having set sail to Australia at age seven, Mum had long ago lost any traces of her accent, so, as my friends argued, she didn’t really count. But Mrs Oberg, she had an accent. And she looked American. (It was the neon headband.) And she jogged … for fitness … along a quiet country road, every morning, in her turquoise shorts (or sometimes bright crimson ones).

It was many years later before I came to appreciate the benefits of jogging. And I was ...

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