Zilah Hamdan
Runner (Hamilton)

This is Zilah. Doctor, runner and coffee lover. Living in Kirikiriroa / Hamilton and working as an Urgent Care Specialist, you’ll often find her out and about in her brightest workout gear. 

Zilah grew up in Malaysia with her parents, two sisters and brother in a family that values independence. At the young age of 16, she completed her school years at boarding school and then went on to Galway in Ireland to study medicine. Living far away from her family at such a young age really sharpened her skills of being adaptable and independent. After 8 years in Ireland, Zilah had the itch to travel again and ended up here in Christchurch. 

It was only meant to be a one year adventure to compare the medical systems and see a new part of the world, but many extensions, advanced training and various roles means that Zilah’s now been in New Zealand for more than 12 years. 

Running has been a big part of meeting community for Zilah. Since moving to Hamilton, she’s gotten more involved with local running clubs, parkrun and a local social club. She’s taken up Zumba and Pilates as well. 

It’s her curiosity for life that drives her both in her job and her movement. She enjoys learning and upskilling and just recently finished her Urgent Care Specialist Physician training (a four year study stint). She doesn’t believe much in overthinking when it comes to trying new things. She believes that when her mind is willing, it will work with her body to achieve the goal. 

This is where her fascination for ultra-running has come into play. After getting into parkrun, the Tarawera Ultra 21km became an option in 2020. And the addiction has only grown. She’s taken part in distances up to 102km. Along the way she’s completed events at the Taupō Ultra, Ultra Trail Kosciuszko, Race Tekapo and Malaysia Mountain Trail Festival. 

All these adventures have led her to collect ‘running stones’ which if you have enough of them, you can go in the ballot to run at the UTMB World Series Finals for Trail Running in Chamonix, France. Not thinking to hard about putting her name forward, Zilah was very surprised to receive the email saying she’d made it through and had just 2 weeks to confirm her entry. She was inspired by a colleague who said to her, if she didn’t try and do this hard thing it was a 100% failure rate. She knows she’s very lucky to have had her name selected as many people apply year after year without success. 

We can’t wait to see her training progress and we’ll be cheering her on as she takes on the challenge later this year. 

One thing we do know for sure, she’ll be the brightest woman on course in all her favourite colours. 

You can follow Zilah over on Instagram here