Spotlight on Can Tooer Lia Zalum

07 Jul 2021

Lia shares how she felt grateful to be able to complete the half marathon at the 2021 Barossa Marathon Festival with Can Too. She describes that special feeling of pushing through the hard stuff and making it over the finish line in spite of the pain along the way, especially after her initial goal the London Marathon was cancelled due to COVID.

How do you feel Can Too’s program and coaching prepared you for your goal? 

Running in a group was new for me. I had run several marathons before and had purposely worked 1:1 with a coach but did not participate in group running. My fear was that I would be the slowest and the last. I don’t like being last or lower in terms of performance. I found that doing the sprint training in particular the group energy helped me stay stronger longer and I often ran a personal best in these training runs. 

What’s your favourite Can Too moment? 

One moment that I did enjoy, and surprised myself that I enjoyed it so much, was the recognition by the Inner West pod for reaching my Barossa Valley fundraising goal. It was fun to have the wand with the star and the picture frame around me and have the team celebrate my achievement. I coach a lot on the benefits of celebrating wins, big and small, so to experience others celebrating my contribution was surprisingly special. Thankyou.

How did it feel to finish your goal event in the Barossa? 

I felt excited and strong as I crossed the finish line at the Barossa Valley half marathon. The sun was shining and the air very dry and crisp and clean. That familiar feeling of gratitude and relief is hard to explain. I feel it as I cross the finish line in every race.

That feeling of pushing through the hard stuff and making it over the line in spite of the pain along the way is somehow special. I don’t consciously chase this feeling or make it the reason I run half marathons and marathons, but it certainly is a rewarding all of mind and body feeling that makes it all so worth it. And it gets my mind ticking over on when am I going to do the next one!

What led you on your journey to join Can Too?  

I came to Can Too in search of a group I could run with to enter the 2020 London marathon. I was thrilled when I called and I was welcomed aboard in November 2019. We trained through the hot summer Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings at Kirribilli. I enjoyed the comradery of the pod members at the cafe after our Saturday morning runs and the expert coaching and mentoring was amazing. I felt fully ready to take on the London marathon. Alas thanks to Covid that was not to be.

Why Can Too?

I love the ethos of Can Too. The fact that we get the personal benefits of exercise, fitness, coaching, mentoring, friendships with like-minded people, inspiration, support, fun, we also get the opportunity to run on behalf of those who can’t, and raise money to support Australian early stage cancer researchers to find cures faster. Combining health and fund-raising in this way is a wonderful way to combine and leverage resources and skills and create community. I've found the ongoing commitment of Annie Crawford to be particularly motivating. The way she leads and supports Can Too helps us all stay strong and keeps us coming back!

How many Can Too programs have you done? Which ones? 

The Barossa Valley half marathon 2021 was my first official Can Too event! So I have now completed two Can Too programs and one Can Too official event.

Which Pod are you in? 

Inner West pod.

Do you run or swim or do both? If so why do you love or enjoy the sport? 

I do swim and will participate in a Can Too swimming program later in the year. 

What is your profession? 

Executive Coach for Women CEO's

Where do you live? 

Annandale and MacMasters Beach on the Central Coast.


60 - I am proud of my age now….it did terrify me…but seeing the number of strong fit 60-something women in Can Too has inspired me to embrace my age and keep running!

What’s most rewarding about fundraising? 

Creating opportunities for my friends and family to donate to a worthy local cause. Putting in the effort to write social media posts and send emails and do Bunnings sausage sizzle does take time and a bit of organisation. Seeing the donations come in because I did the posts and the BBQ gives me a feeling of contribution to a worthy cause. 

How have you fundraised? 

Social media posts, email requests and Bunnings BBQ.

What is your advice to others fundraising for Can Too?

Always ask family and friends to donate because the worst thing they can say is no. The best thing they can do is give money which helps you and Can Too and our cancer researchers. So asking others to donate is a big opportunity for others to feel they too are making a positive difference. 

Why did you like taking part in the challenge to share your journey? 

I like sharing my Can Too training and event experiences on social media because the orange shirts look great in pictures ! Lol! And I find my community love to see my running efforts and this also is great advertising for Can Too which is a worthy cause I am proud to promote. I feel I am adding more value in my social media posts when I share our group running pictures because I am sharing the Can Too message as well as my own. 

How do you keep motivated when training and or fundraising gets tough? 

I read my training plan and do the thing it says to do on that day. These are fantastic running programs. The structure and the level of challenge is just right no matter what level of runner you are. The inclusivity of Can Too and the quality of coaching is exceptional. If I am feeling a bit low in myself for some reason I rarely do not want to run or train so I do not have a problem getting to training. The cold mornings are a challenge sometimes. I get up as soon as the alarm clock goes off and put on my training clothes. Not giving myself time to change my mind is a strategy that works for me.

Do you have a favourite motivational quote? :  

"Leaders create something that was not there before."

Are there any supporters you’d like to thank?

I would like to thank all my family and friends who braved the wild stormy weather of March 20th to attend my 60th birthday Eurovision event and they donated to my fundraiser!

What is your next Can Too or other goal? 

I am looking for my next marathon!  

What I eat pre-race 

Banana and e-shot.

Go to meal post-race 

Pizza and pasta.

Perfect weekend:  

Snow skiing or beach house at MacMasters Beach with family and friends.

Talent I wish I had: 

Singing - I am a shocker!

Can Too's Blackmores Half Marathon and 10km run programs are now open, but regos close soon. Find out more and register here 

You can donate to Lia's Fundraising page here