I started running when I was 16. I saved up every penny I could from my job to help me. I even sold my car, the only possession I could really call my own. I couldn't afford expensive trainers, so I bought myself the cheapest Nike shoes money could buy. I needed most of the money for my last purchase. But still, I felt proud knowing that I had earned them. All those long hours at work suddenly seem worth it. The first time I tied the laces of my trainers, I felt secure. Safe. I walked out of that shop like I had achieved something. My next purchase was hair dye. I walked into the local chemist and looked at all the bright array of hair colours on display. I needed something that would help me blend in, so I pulled myself away from the cherry reds and purples to look at the blondes. They were supposed to be dumb weren't they? I didn't want the honey, cheerleader blonde colour. At the end of the blondes, at the very back shelf there was box of pale blonde hair dye. I knew then, that was the colour for me. My last stop was the library. But I wasn't hunting for books this time. I remember Mrs Williams asking if I was back again for another recommendation. I smiled sadly and shook my head at her. I wasn't allowed to take books home anymore. Not since what happened last time. At the back of the library there are three rusty, old computers. Since I owned no electronic devices myself, this would have to do. Opening up internet explorer, i researched for places to go. I knew I needed to get away as far as possible, preferably on the other side of the world. Japan? China? America? Then I found it. Australia It sounded so foreign and strange. I found out that I would have to board 2 planes to get there. I went on the Singapore Airlines website and clicked on the ticket prices. I remember praying that they wouldn't be expensive. I remember sighing with relief when the price matched the money I had left. Within a few minutes the ticket was printed and folded carefully into my bag. With a quick wave to Mrs Williams, I walked out of the library. It only just occurred to me that it was the last time I would ever see her. The closest thing I had to a friend was the local librarian. What a loner. When I arrived home, I remember creeping through the door and up the stairs to my room. I knew I had to act fast. No one was home. Yet. I dragged my backpack out from under my bed. I was already packed. I threw in the last bit of change I had in my purse and zipped it shut. I grabbed the hair dye and ran to the bathroom. I took one look at my waist long curly black hair. The only thing I had left of probably the one person who ever loved me. I applied the hair dye and waited for 15 minutes. You were supposed to wait 20 but I was running out of time. I grabbed the scissors and cut a straight line past my shoulders. The cut hair floated down to the ground. I picked up two handfuls an stuffed them in the bin. I looked in the mirror as I straightened up. It just occurred to me then that I needed to dye my eyebrows to match my hair. I almost laughed out loud. I grabbed my ancient Nokia phone and threw it into the side pocket of my bag. Wiping the dye off my eyebrows I ran down the stairs and out the door. I'd made it! I ran down the street and caught the train to Heathrow. When I arrived, I felt like everyone was watching me. I was waiting for someone to yell out 'that girl is running away from home!' I kept my head down and managed to slowly calm my breathing. I received my ticket and changed my English money into Australian dollars. I sat by the window on the plane next to an elderly couple. They asked me if I was going on holiday. That had stumped me there. I'd forgotten to make up a back story of why I was actually in Australia. So I told them I was visiting relatives and staying there for a year or two. They introduced themselves as Joyce and Arnold. Then they asked me what my name was. My name. Jane Elizabeth Henley. Stupid British name. I realised that saying my real was too risky. I needed a new one. The name of my mothers aunt popped into my mind. For no apparent reason. Marcie. I thought that it had sounded strong, with a hint of girlishness that suited my look perfectly. Last name would have to be sorted out later of course. Probably a middle name as well. We had to stop at Singapore and board another plane to get to Australia. I slept through most of the flights. I had packed no other entertainment. Joyce offered to teach me how to crochet. I politely declined. I had been on a plane before. With my mother. To meet her fiancée, who I had never met, in France. That trip determined the next 3 years of my life. It doesn't exactly bring back the happiest of memories. I was woken by Joyce shaking my arm and telling me we had arrived in Australia. I thanked her for waking me and we said goodbye. When I stepped out of the plane, the sun nearly blinded me. It was scorching hot, and I was standing there in jeans and an old jumper. I must have looked like an idiot. I made my way through security and grabbed my bag. I had nowhere to stay or go to. I am now 17 years old. And I'm still running.