Christchurch based runner and business owner Maria Amos has a pretty adventurous soul. Over the past four years though, things have had to slow down for her after a snowboarding accident at Mt Hutt. She’s slowly returning to running but the journey hasn’t been straight forward.
Maria was born in Tauranga, living the beach lifestyle for a few years before her parents moved her and her younger sister to Great Barrier Island. They had a great childhood on the island, always surrounded by water and they were pretty much free range. When Maria reached High School age, the family moved to Auckland but as soon as she turned 18, it was time for her to leave. It’s fair to say that big cities and Maria don’t mix. She quickly moved down to Whangamata on the Coromandel peninsula where she spent her time as a Junior Surf Lifesaving Coach, retail assistant and various other roles before at the age of 23 packing her bags for the next adventure.
Stretching her travelling muscles, she spent a number of years teaching sailing in the USA, working on a super yacht and generally explored the world. When it was time to return to NZ, she tried to feel settled in Whangamata, but small town job opportunities were slim and so she made the move down to Christchurch where she hasn’t left. For her Christchurch is just big enough, lots happening but without the hectic feel that some bigger cities can have.
Always drawn to the outdoors, Maria has tried her hand at a number of different activities since moving to Christchurch including white water kayaking, swing dancing, learning to snowboard and even a few small triathlons.
It’s fair to say that Maria is multi-passionate. She works part-time as the 2IC for School Fundraising Shop NZ (SFSNZ) including managing their social media, she owns her own underwear company, Maquinky, which she initially started as a hobby in 2014. She’s big on living life as low waste as possible and loves sharing her passion for this and helping others to do the same. You remember the 80’s ‘be a tidy Kiwi’ campaigns? Well, living on Great Barrier Island where you’re basically self-sufficient had a big impact on Maria’s world view. Now owning her own company, she’s hyper aware of waste from clothing and ‘hoards’ things until she can find a way to reuse them. We totally love that about her.
In August 2017, Maria was training for her first full marathon on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands when she fell while snowboarding at Mt Hutt ski field. She fell forward, hitting her face hard and told us that the last thing she remembered before passing out was “I’ve broken my teeth” when in fact she hadn’t, but she did have a mouthful of snow. She came to a little farther down the slope, taking a while to get up. She picked herself up, and ended up dozing in the car for the rest of the day while her friends finished their time on the slopes. A few days later she tried going for a run and was extremely uncomfortable, and it turns out she had broken ribs. A couple of weeks later she started having severe double vision and learnt she had a bad concussion. It was the start to a long recovery.
It’s been a 4 year process. Initially, her head injury was undiagnosed and it was a battle to get the help she needed. Simple daily activities like going to the supermarket were a massive challenge. She had symptoms of double vision, headaches, nausea, exhaustion and mood swings. She told us the first 3 years after her accident felt like she was constantly hungover. About 18 months ago she got a referral to an optometrist who then prescribed her glasses to assist with the double vision. It’s only been the past 8 months that she’s felt a noticeable difference in how she’s feeling. She can go a few days without needing an afternoon nap, can get to the supermarket during quieter business hours and even get out for a walk or run. She does need to plan quiet days after doing exercise, but the recovery is no longer a whole week.
It’s been tough on her friends and family as they’re not how sure to best support her with the tiredness and mood swings. It’s likely that she will have chronic fatigue for the rest of her life as well as vision issues. Recently a friend told her that her sass is coming back which we all know is a good thing!
Getting out in nature has helped, Maria’s partner Len is super supportive of their trail dates together and she’s getting back into her running. Maria is grateful for the support of her friends and family as she knows she sometimes still has to cancel on them at the last minute if she’s not up for exercise.
We asked her who her biggest inspirations are, and she replied, almost everyone she meets! She also gave a special shoutout to her friend Robyn, solo Mum and amazing athlete of whom she is extremely proud of. And one to her Mum who is very fit and cool for a nana, and she knows it too.
Maria is aiming to get some events back into her calendar this year with the next one being the 22km trail run at the Crater Rim event in Christchurch on the 17th of October. This will be a full circle moment for her as she had to give this event up after her accident. She’s got lots of personal business goals too, including growing her retailers to help take comfy undies to all of NZ.
When we asked her what she would put on a billboard she said “If you can be anything in this world, be kind”
She wants you to know that no matter what’s going on in your world, don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t worry about what anyone else things about you, your life and achievements are your own and you should be absolutely proud of that!
You can connect with Maria online through her business here