Runner Overcomes Bone Deformities

Before marriage brought Kiwi Anne Audain to Evansville, her fleet feet took her all over the world.

The record-setting athlete is the spokesperson for the Healthier Evansville Event kicking off later this month.

Born in New Zealand with bone deformities in her feet, doctors taught her to walk after having reconstructive surgery at age 13.

Doctors put a wooden rocker, similar to a rocking horse, on the bottom of her black leather boots. Therefore, she never used crutches.

Audain recalls, "The pain was just amazing. But the genius of it was that it taught me, as my bones healed, it taught me the correct motion of walking. And after I'd gone through this and a year of rehab, I found that I actually ran easier than I walked, and I still do."

That ease qualified her for six Olympic games. She also set a world record for 5000 meters in 1982 and became the first female athlete to sign an endorsement contract with Nike.

She went on to win a gold medal in the British Commonwealth Games. She was the first female runner ever to do so.

"I did what I always thought I could do, but it took a long time and a lot [of] frustration. So it was a matter of sheer relief, sheer relief," Audain states.

Upon retiring from the track, she became a motivational speaker who founded a 5k walk in Idaho that now boasts 17,500 participants.

Now on board with the "Healthier Evansville" Initiative, Audain doesn't expect people to follow in the footsteps made by her running shoes. She says all anyone really needs is the three things that made her a success.

She replies, "It's discipline. It's choosing something that you love to do, and it's consistency."

The Healthier Evansville event kicks off on April 30th with a health fair and ends the following Sunday with a two-mile walk at Garvin Park.

Audain says two miles is the perfect length for people of all ages and abilities. And remember, she says you don't have to run, you can just walk.