The Aspire2 Story


Sitting on a Thai beach in my ‘20’s in the throes of a year-long backpacking adventure in 2001, I had an epiphany: I’d never really exercised before (outside of school PE lessons) or given much thought to what I put into my body and was not really in the best of shape. I knew I could be a better version of myself and decided I’d join a gym upon my return to UK and introduce a little exercise to my life. And that’s really where it all began: a Personal Trainer wrote me a strength-training program, I diligently adhered to – and to my surprise, enjoyed it and when program-refresh time came around, I saw tangible positive changes to my body…and mind. This effect struck a chord with me. By nature, I’m a goal-setter. I thrive on challenge and creating plans that, with commitment and determination, will take me towards a specific outcome. 

Fast-forward to 2006: excited about my upcoming wedding but stressed and time-crunched over a looming Immunology PhD thesis deadline. The Underground commute to the gym no longer fit my schedule. Reluctantly, I began running the streets of London – having only previously run on the treadmill and loathed every second of it. But keen to be time-efficient and conscious of my wedding date, the running shoes were dutifully tied. And the second bit of magic happened. Once the initial shock had subsided (and I’d hardened to the cold, dark, rainy mornings), it slowly dawned on me that I was enjoying this running thing. It wasn’t long before I found myself on the Start-Line of the Battersea 10K race, closely followed by the Brentwood Half-marathon, a myriad of other 21K road-races, the Rome Marathon, the Sydney Marathon, etc. In 2010 came a third epiphany: my discovery of The Trails. A move to a new home close to Manly Dam on Sydney’s Northern Beaches saw me tentatively venture into the bush for my first 30-min trail run…and I have never looked back. Cue the 10K TRAIL-races, the 21K, 40K, 50K and 60K TRAIL-races (not necessarily in that order), culminating in the Ultra-Trail Australia 100K in 2018 (and then again in 2019, and already on the cards for next year).

I’ve come to love the process of achieving fitness goals, whilst experiencing personal growth along the way. Reaching the goal is empowering, but so too is the Journey. The sense of accomplishment is transferable to other areas of life (e.g. career, personal interests, lifestyle or relationships) via the same process: goal-setting, planning and consistent commitment. But by applying this approach to the achievement of a fitness goal, the process becomes ingrained. This is the story of how Aspire2 was born – out of living a busy and fulfilling life that has so far included: advanced University study (B.Sc. Biochemistry; PhD Immunology); a career as a Principal Medical Writer; a move from UK to Australia; being a Wife to Geoff and Mum to Leah and Kai; and many other happy events besides – whilst consistently maintaining running and running-related goals in my life. Importantly, I enlisted the help of an amazing Running Coach (Matty Abel of DBA Runners) in 2017 and the improvements in my personal running and racing experiences have been phenomenal. Collectively, these events have been instrumental in my decision to qualify as a Personal Trainer and Running Coach. I am passionate about helping others experience this Journey: choose a goal; make a plan; commit to- and accomplish it. What do YOU Aspire2?

Jo Wood

  • Training Peaks Level 2 Accredited Coach
  • Level 2 Intermediate Recreational Running Coach (Athletics NSW)
  • Certificate IV-qualified Personal Trainer
  • Ph.D Immunology (Imperial College, London, UK)
  • B.Sc. Biochemistry (Hons) (Birmingham University, Birmingham, UK)