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Keynote speaker at UnitingWomen 2018 Eloise Wellings

Q & A with UnitingWomen keynote speaker – Eloise Wellings

Eloise Wellings is passionate about athletics and helping those in poverty. After deciding at the age of 15 that she wanted to make running her career, she committed to training and qualified for the Olympics at the age of 16. Unfortunately, soon after qualifying, Eloise suffered a stress fracture, which continued to plague her career for the following decade. Despite this set back, Eloise’s life changed when she became a Christian through a friend at school who supported her throughout this difficult time. Eloise’s personal faith motivates her running career and her humanitarian work in Northern Uganda and her genuine desire to make a difference to the lives of others.

After many years of highs and lows, Eloise has returned to top form after competing at the London Olympics, and three Commonwealth Games, most recently finishing 9th in the 5000m and 10th in the 10,000m track events at the Rio Olympics. Most recently, she competed in her fourth Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. She is mother to 4-year old India.

Your faith has played an important part of your life not only as an athlete but as a person. Has it always been this way?

I went to church every Sunday with my family growing up but I still had a really warped sense of who God was; the faith I had then was based on fear. I was 16-years-old when a friend from school invited me to church with her and it was at this church that I heard the gospel and begun to understand who God is and his love and grace and sacrifice for me and all of humanity.

I prayed a prayer that asked Jesus to come into my life and asked him to lead me in my life and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Throughout your career, you’ve faced a number of challenges namely sports injuries. How have you overcome challenges like these?

My faith in Jesus had a huge bearing on being able to persevere when it got really tough, when I wanted to give up, it was reading scriptures like James 1: 12: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Then there is my passion for running, I just love it so even when I was hurt and injured and struggling with disappointment, the fact that I still loved to run never changed.

As an elite athlete who has competed at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics and four Commonwealth Games, what are some of the things that drive you to succeed?

Winning! Being the best I can be with what I’ve been given, constantly challenging myself physically and mentally is a thrill because even when you don’t get the result that you’re after, you still learn important lessons about yourself and the sport.

It was such an emotional moment during the 2018 Commonwealth Games, when you and your Australian team mates decided to wait for Lineo Chaka of Lesotho at the end of the 10 km event. Could you tell us little about that moment?

It was obviously a bit unexpected but I was really moved by the public response that occurred around that moment. It caused me to think about who else in my life or my sphere of influence needs more of my encouragement and time and love.

The theme for UnitingWomen 2018 is “Weaving Wisdom and Wonder”. What is one piece of wisdom that you have learnt along this journey?

Process over outcome has been my power words for the last couple of years, I think we can become so fixated on the result and the outcome that we forget about how important the process is to getting where we want to be.

What can we expect from your keynote address at UnitingWomen 2018?

I feel really privileged and excited to share the journey of what God has done in my life so far—honestly more than I could have ever imagined—and I hope my story would encourage other women to keep chasing after what God has set in their heart to do.

UnitingWomen 2018 will be held from 27—30 September in Brisbane. Visit the UnitingWomen website or the registration page to find out more. 

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