Never Give Up

Gemma posted her amazing before and after photos on our community page yesterday and the amount of love and support she received was incredible. Her transformation was inspiring and I wanted to read and share her story to see how she accomplished it. So here is Gemma’s story.. have a read!

I guess you’d say my journey started April 2016, I had just returned to school, starting a degree in History, as a 35 year old mother of four I decided once all my children were at school I would return to education. Improving myself in every way was my next goal. I had tried loosing weight, getting into exercise, and getting healthy many times before but my head wasn’t in the right place, this time though every thing seemed to click for me. In March 2016, I decided to join our local running club who started a ‘learn to run’ group – Target 5K. We started Target 5K like most C25K plans, one minute walking one minute running, which was fine, the following week at two minutes running I never felt like I would be able to complete it, 2 minutes felt so hard, how would I possibly run a 5K? Our coach was truly supportive and encouraging so half way through our T5K course I decided to attempt our monthly 5K park run and completed it (with lots of walk/running) in April 2016 with a finishing time of 40:22. When I completed the T5K course I knocked two minutes off that time and for the rest of 2016 I floated around 38 minutes and completed my first 10K in01:19:34
At the beginning of 2017 I decided my weight really wasn’t helping the progression in my running and took action! Although my shape had changed slightly the weight wasnt moving! I changed my eating habits, joined Slimming World – having someone weigh me every week is a real motivator for me. I cut sugar out my hot drinks, stopped eating so much processed food and cooked from scratch and took food to university with me every day instead of eating in the cafe. The weight started to shift, in fact in my first week I lost 8.5lb. In the seven months I have been actively loosing weight I have only gained two weeks and only 2lb, in total I have lost 50lbs.
Through the weight loss I kept up my running and suddenly everything seemed to click. In March 2017 I had my 5K time down to 36:16, and by June my PB was 29:34 something I am extremely proud of. Next was the 10K, I did my first one in a long time in June and managed it in 01:00:34 which I was so happy with until I thought … 34seconds! Come on! 34 secs! The following week I took on another 10K and was determined to finish in under an hour, even if that sub hour was 00:59:59. I chased it and I finished… in… 00:57:10
Having reached my goals of a sub 30 5K and a sub 60 10K I have signed up for a half marathon – in 2 weeks and just to top it all off I am doing a Marathon in 9 weeks. I have made the decision to run the marathon in memory of my Dad who passed away two years ago and am hoping to raise as much money as I can for The Stroke Association. 
After the summer I will be entering my final year at university and hopefully this time next year I will be graduating with a degree in History. My four children and my husband are my world. My daughter has also joined our local running club with the juniors since I started running and my sons take part in our local park run once a month. Through running I have found how truly supportive people can be, especially other runners, no matter how much slower or faster fellow runners are, the support which everyone gives and receives is inspirational in itself. The support I have received at races, social runs and events has been extremely motivating and keeps me going at every run.
Love, Gemma xx
FB: GemClarke03
Twitter: Elphaba_Rain

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