AT THE start of the year Horsham’s Simone O’Brien set herself a pretty typical goal – to tackle the Melbourne marathon.
But O’Brien is not your typical woman.
Four years ago she was violently attacked, and now dedicates her time to starting a public conversation about domestic violence.
Sunday was another milestone for O’Brien on a long, tumultuous journey, which started back in 2012. O’Brien said there were, understandably, tears flowing as she crossed the finish line.
While it was a great personal achievement for O’Brien, who trained for months and endured two surgeries during preparation, her mind was elsewhere.
“I thought about my son who set the goal with me,” she said.
“He said, ‘Mum, you have to do this.’
“He was inspired. I wanted to let women know that there are more and better things in life and to always keep going.”
Despite the raw emotions, O’Brien said every step of the run was fantastic.
“In the last three kilometres I choked up,” she said.
“I had to work around the operations in my training but I was so focused and determined to not let it go.”
O’Brien said she received an unbelievable amount of support from friends and strangers alike.
”There were 30 people from the Horsham area who ran between 10 kilometres and the full marathon,” she said.
“It was so nice to have them there and the people cheering me on around each corner and on the home stretch.
“My phone was going off the night before with support from people of all calibres.
“I had people like Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge right down to my niece.
“Not to mention social media where people left me messages.
“I don’t know all of them but I have somehow touched their hearts and encouraged them to keep going.”
O’Brien said she refused to stop raising awareness and money for domestic violence.
“I am not going to stop. I will work hard and get people talking. I want women to know that it is not scary or embarrassing to speak up,” she said.