Shannan Ponton, 39, Sydney, The Biggest Loser personal trainer
When I was a kid, my dad played rugby league and he’d run laps around our block. I’d always ask, ‘Dad, can I run with you?’ He wouldn’t let me because I was too slow, so I used to ride my bike with him. By the time I was 13, I was kicking his arse. It was really important that I had a positive role model in my father – every little boy wants to be like his dad.
Every year, I run the City2Surf in Sydney and City-Bay in Adelaide to raise money for CanTeen, a charity that supports young people living with cancer.
My PB for the City2Surf [14K] is 56:20, which was a top 500 finish. On average, I try to run it in 63 or 64 minutes. We’re filming The Biggest Loser through July, so time constraints will be a little tight this year, but I’d love to run a sub-65.
We have an eight-month-old baby and it was difficult to get out and run at first, but now I’m back running with him in the running pram. It strips away all those excuses you have as a new dad to not go to the gym.
I love running with other people. I can run anywhere and as long as I want – as long as I’m with someone I can talk to and people-watch with. When I run by myself, I don’t enjoy it as much.
I have five mates who I run with sporadically throughout the year, and none of us do much on New Year’s Eve because we all have kids now. On New Year’s Day, we get up at 6am and go for a run together, checking out the road kill and leftovers from the night before. People look at us like we’re freaks, but really it’s the other way around. It’s hilarious.
Running toughens your mind as well as your body. If there’s a twinge in your Achilles tendon, you have to work through it mentally. Then you run up the hill and you’re out of breath and you have to work through that. But once you’re over it, you think, ‘I really like this!’ It’s that mental ebb and flow that I love – the mind games that come with running.
When I’m running and doing a hard effort, I think about what I put the [Biggest Loser] contestants through on a daily basis and that really motivates me. I think, ‘You guys did it so hard today. I’d be weak if I didn’t finish this, so let’s go.’