Ben Piggott – Week 1 of training for the Sydney 42.2km (19 – 26 June ’23)

My name is Ben Piggott and I am 36 years old and I am training for the Sydney marathon. Big deal you might say. Well when you hear my story – you might realise just how big a deal it actually is.

Just over 2.5 years ago, I had started serving an 18 month prison sentence. Addicted to meth and alcohol and weighing in at 106kg – my life was not a pretty picture. I would have laughed out loud if you had suggested I take up running!

When released from prison, I had lost about 30kg, but not my addiction. Weeks later, homeless and intoxicated – I was assaulted and one of my kidneys ruptured. A low point – yes – but it led to my turning point. After been hospitalised, I was put into a medical respite centre. I heard about this charity On My Feet who showed up there and took us for weekly walks. I joined in and it was like a light was switched on. I felt so much better after each walk, even with my recovering kidney, and kind of knew that when I was out of rehab – I needed to find these guys to help me get back into shape. And yes 9 months of intense rehab was needed. But inspired by On My Feet – I started walking and running on the beach every morning during rehab. I was determined to change my whole approach to life and started caring for myself and eating better.

As soon as I was out of rehab, I contacted On My Feet and found out where they held their walking and running sessions. I now weighed about 66kg, was able to comfortably run 10 – 12km, and had moved into transitional housing. I started attending two On My Feet Training evening sessions a week, as well as the weekly parkrun at Claisebrook Cove. They also entered me into some running events which were amazing! I loved the feeling of community On My Feet offered and that I was surrounded by people making healthy choices who also looked out for each other. I also started volunteering at WAMC and parkruns. I wanted to give back as well, to those who helped me so much.

I couldn’t believe it when I was offered the opportunity to take part in the Sydney Marathon along with a group of fellow On My Feet participants. I was literally beaming from ear to ear for days!

The process for getting ready to run a marathon is not easy and not quick. The training is tough and the self- doubt constant. But knowing that I have the support and faith of the On My Feet team, which is more like family, gives me the drive, confidence and the belief I need. I also have my very own mentor who checks in with me regularly and gives me extra support. Plus we have been given a scientifically designed marathon training program to follow – and have access to a dietitian, an exercise physiologist, a personal trainer and lots of experienced runners and nurturing people.

This past week – which was 13 weeks to the Sydney marathon – I completed my longest training run ever of 16.2 km. I run 3 days a week and I am involved with HIIT training at my local gym where I lift weights every other day.
I know that surrounded by my On My Feet family – I can accomplish this massive task and I will conquer Sydney marathon on 17 September 2023 ☺️.