A Grand Valley international student completed the New York City Marathon, running with a team of indigenous women from Australia, her home country.
Bridgette Williams, a native of Brisbane, Australia, ran the November 6 marathon in 4:01:18. Williams, a sociology and international relations major, was aware of the Indigenous Marathon Project in Australia and applied to be part of its team.
“The project went all around the country to find indigenous men and women to train up and run the marathon project,” Williams said. “In indigenous communities in Australia there are a lot of health issues, and this project is a way of addressing these issues by inspiring young men and women to want to run the marathon.”
Williams began training for the marathon in April, beginning by running 6-8 kilometers three times a week, then building to 8-24 kilometers daily. She had two coaches and followed their training program.
“Once I got myself into a routine and became more disciplined, it became easier to fit training in and I began to look forward to my training sessions each day,” she said.
Williams had studied at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, one of Grand Valley’s partner institutions, and learned about Grand Valley there.
“There is a program called Global Opportunities, where you can apply to study exchange with universities from all over the world,” she said.
Williams said part of what attracted her to Michigan was the weather. “I grew up on the beach and had never before experienced snow,” she said. “I had never seen snow, so I knew that going to GVSU would give me that experience of what it is like to live in a place with a lot of snow.”