Altona police officer Kara Da Silva is training to complete her first full marathon as part of next month’s Great Ocean Road Running Festival.

Mrs Da Silva said she started running again after her second child was about six months old.

“I’ve always had a stressful job as a police officer and running was always my release to just centre myself,” she said. “It was my time to just be me.

“After having my first child [Violet, four years old], I stopped running, and with the life change of being completely responsible for another little human being, I found it difficult to find myself again.

“After having my second child [Zac, 18 months], I made a conscious decision to make time to look after myself.

“I realised the fear and guilt of leaving my children to exercise was actually leaving me exhausted and missing a great opportunity to share something I love with my kids.”

She completed her first half marathon when Zac turned one.

“Seeing how much my actions and choices influence my daughter has made me a more resilient person,” Mrs Da Silva said.

“I don’t want her to ever doubt herself and I want her to believe she can achieve anything and face all challenges head on.”

The Great Ocean Road course stretches from Lorne to Apollo Bay. More than 7000 people are expected to run or walk one of seven event distances ranging from the 1.5 kilometre kids’ gallop to the 60 kilometre ultra marathon.

To register and for more information, visit www.greatoceanroadrunfest.com.au