Athlete Dream Big Virtual Running Festival Stories

Ryan Tiernan Ryan Tiernan 8 July, 2020


The Dream Big Virtual Running Festival is approaching fast, and we're all working hard to make sure that we are fit and ready for the challenge. Here at Employ Health we focus on making positive healthy changes in lives and workplaces, and as such we're seizing this opportunity to Dream Big!

This is one of our stories, but we would love to hear yours! How have you been staying motivated? Have you been working as a team?
Let us know below!


Employ Health General Manager



Employ Health General Manager, Ryan Tiernan, discusses the setbacks he has faced in preparing for this experience. Being ready to adapt when faced with challenges, and continuing to persevere, Ryan gives some tips for motivation that we can all learn from. Create a team and run together towards a goal.

Sign up for the Dream Big Virtual Running Festival HERE



Athlete and Inspiration



“My knee is no good. I can’t walk… let alone run!” I can still remember this appointment back in early 2016 with Steve Bell. Steve had just returned from some time overseas. While travelling, he noticed that his knees were causing considerable discomfort. Forced to stop multiple times and find a comfortable spot to sit, Steve was fed up with not being able to walk.

For those of you who don’t know Steve’s story, Steve lost his wife to Cancer back in 2003, raised two boys as a single parent and in a cruel blow, was diagnosed and beat cancer in 2014/2015. So his trip back in 2015 was very much a celebration of overcoming such adversity.

I quizzed Steve about what he really wanted to do, “if you had no knee pain, what would you be doing?” Steve responded that he’d really like to do a little bit of jogging while doing his daily walk but knew “those days were behind him”.
Unfortunately, it’s a common sentiment to many that have reached middle age – that we resign to age and injury. There is a level of “social norm” that it’s acceptable to not partake in activity that may cause harm or has a stigma attached that “you’re too old” to participate in.

We should all ask ourselves: Why?


Why is someone too old to run?  When there is no credible evidence to suggest it is bad for us. In fact, research has confirmed even running once a week can lower mortality and cancer rates.¹
So when Steve responded with “those days are behind me. We made it my mission to get him back doing what he wanted but to also break the sociological and psychological restraints holding Steve back from having the confidence to give everything a go in life,

It helps guide us when helping athletes have Experiences Not Felt Possible. We know “an experience” is relative to the person, so in Steve’s case, I didn’t suggest a marathon on that day back in 2016. Instead, we started with running twice a week on the Anti-Gravity Treadmill at 50% of his body weight and strength training in our Prevention Classes. Slowly… we built up from here.
As Steve began to compound strength, he also began to develop confidence in his knees and his body in general, which allowed him to begin thinking without constraints. This is when we suggested that he give the 2017 Bridge to Brisbane a go. A little unsure, we decided to do a 5km lead up race at the Mother’s Day Classic.

Signing up for the 5km event gave Steve real purpose with his training and seeing the “fruits of his labour” on the day, further solidified in Steve’s mind, that given the right training and attitude, he is not limited due to age, injury or illness. It allowed Steve to “Dream Big” and to jump in to new and challenging experiences.
Steve went on to complete the 2017 Bridge to Brisbane but did not stop there.
After having this fundamental mindset shift, Steve signed up for the 2018 Gold Coast Half Marathon – this was a huge achievement . Something he really felt he could not do just 12 months earlier. However, with good preparation, steely determination and newfound optimism, Steve smashed this goal!



He came back and finished this again in 2019 and then was the first athlete signed up for the first ever “Experience Not Felt Possible” trip to Nepal in October 2019 where Steve endured a 10 day mountain bike trek through some of the most arduous passes in the world. With the highest climb going over 5500 metres!!
Steve continues to inspire us every day with his positivity, ability to embrace life and give everything a go attitude. Thanks for helping us bring our vision to life.

1.Pedisic Z, Shrestha N, Kovalchik S, et alIs running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysisBritish Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 04 November 2019. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100493




National Operations Manager

Zac Lowth discusses the Dream Big Virtual Running Festival with Ryan Tiernan. Watch above to hear what has been Zac's biggest hurdles in preparing for the event. Zac also touches on overcoming injury and the perks of a health focused work environment.

Create a company team and run together towards a shared goal.

Sign up for the Dream Big Virtual Running Festival HERE