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The road to NYC: Emma’s story

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For Paramedic Emma Shawyer, running the New York Marathon with Team Fortem is giving her the opportunity to set a goal she can work towards, while staying active. 

“I was always a sporty person growing up, playing a lot of team sports, but when you start shift work you realise you don’t fit into any teams and you have that gap in your life,” said Emma. 

“I started tinkering with a bit of running and trail running, and it really kicked off for me when my kids were born.  

“Both were very traumatic births. At first, we didn’t know if my daughter was going to survive and then with my son’s birth, they didn’t know if I was going to survive.

“There were actually a few nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit who would go out for a run during lunch, and they used to talk to me about it, and all the events and how I could get involved.

“I had started a bit before and got really involved after my kids got out of hospital – I got a running pram and the kilometres just started ticking by.” 

Emma says she has a wall of participation medals, including a half marathon and an ultramarathon. When the call went out from Fortem to have first responders represent the organisation at the New York Marathon in November, she jumped at the chance. 

“I follow Fortem on Facebook and had gone to one of the State of Origin games with the company and met other first responders. 

“I saw the opportunity for first responders to go and do this run in America and thought, what a beautiful opportunity. 

“My goals that I am setting for myself are more about completing the training program than the run in NYC itself. 

“There’s no times that I am trying to set or pace that I am aiming for, I just need to know that I have taken the time over the months leading up to it and dedicating it to the progression of myself – the accomplishment will be running over that finish line.”  

Since being selected for Team Fortem, Emma has experienced how supportive the first responder community has been. 

“First responders are very private people – you don’t share a lot with your world, and you don’t talk about it, you just keep it inside,” said Emma. 

“This is the first time I have really been connected to other services.

“I didn’t realise how well Fortem was involved with police and then all of a sudden, out of the woodwork, I got my local Singleton police officers saying they had seen I had been selected for the marathon and inviting me for runs with them, and the same thing with officers at Nelson Bay.

“I thought I was very solo; I had a couple of paramedics that I would run with every now and then, but now it is very exciting to feel this level of community and camaraderie as everyone is now supporting me from other services in my local area.” 


Media contact: Simon Anderson, M – 0448 601 391 E – media@dev.fortemaustralia.org.au

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