Sport Article

Overcoming Challenges

by Karen Tracey on
Overcoming Challenges - Lincolnshire Magazine -

With masses of runners set to descend on Lincoln city centre this weekend for the annual 10K road race, LincsMag has been following several local runners as they prepared for the event. In this article two runners detail their personal physical challenges that led them to sign up for the event.

Debbie Cook is a 45 year old mum of two. She lives near Louth in Lincolnshire with her family and their pet Bernese Mountain dog. Debbie is Chief Executive of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) charity. The organisation is based in London and as it is a national charity, Debbie spends a lot of time travelling around the country and working from home.

Debbie only took up running in autumn last year. Starting out as a runner has been a tough challenge for Debbie who had major neck surgery in March 2015. She told LincsMag that she felt she had 'lost several years of an active lifestyle because of pain' and the desire to make up for lost time was what motivated her to take up running.

Debbie is a regular runner at her local parkrun and as her family have included running as part of their routine it has enabled her to succeed. She explained to us that her teenage daughter Scarlet had signed up for the Nottingham Sherwood Forest 10K Trail Run last November and the enjoyment of that event which they both completed was a catalyst of things to come.

Debbie now has her mind set on completing the Great North Run in September this year. The Half Marathon event is one of the most popular in the UK and Debbie hopes to raise funds and awareness for charity. She and her friend Michelle will be running together to raise money for NASS to support people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects people usually between the ages of 16-40 years old. Debbie and Michelle are both beginner runners and so have entered the Lincoln 10K as part of their Great North Run training plan. They look forward to running together as they live an hour and a half away from each other and are both training alone.

As race day approaches Debbie told us how she is feeling nervous but also excited. Both Debbie and her friend Michelle are full time working mums and worry about fitting in enough training time. Debbie said 'Last year was very challenging for me, the recovery from my neck surgery was tougher than I expected. I've lived with pain for many years but the surgery has really helped with some of that. I felt I wanted to make up for lost time and give back to a charity I'm incredibly passionate about. Running the Lincoln 10K will very much be part of my training journey, in the hope that I can complete the Great North Run in September'.

You can support Debbie at

Running after weight loss

Overcoming Challenges - Lincolnshire Magazine -

The last of our featured runners is 36 year old Andy Needham from Retford. For anyone who has struggled with weight loss, Andy's story is nothing short of inspirational. Through a drastic change in his lifestyle he was able to shed an incredible nine stone. Overcoming Challenges - Lincolnshire Magazine -

Andy is a commercial insurance broker and with the support of his wife Emma he has been able to transform his health alongside the pressures of his full time job. At his heaviest, Andy weighed twenty four stone. His health was poor due to his weight and he felt that he needed to make changes. Andy told LincsMag that Emma has helped him improve his nutritional intake and as anyone who is passionate about health and fitness knows, the right diet is a large key to success. When Andy has been out for training runs, Emma also supports by being a mobile 'water stop'.

Andy's first race was the Dash of the Titan in Thoresby last year. He found this race difficult and felt that he hadn't prepared enough. It took him nearly two hours to complete and it was this gruelling experience that motivated Andy to focus on improving his running ability.

After the winter months of training, Andy is now preparing to join the thousands of runners who will gather on Lincoln's Riseholme Road tomorrow. The ten kilometre distance is a popular one for both new and experienced runners. No matter how much training you have put in, race day nerves are commonplace. Andy told LincsMag, 'I am a little nervous thinking how I'm going to fare against younger, fitter more experienced runners. I'll be as prepared as I can be and will be giving it my all'. Andy hopes to complete the race within one hour and twenty minutes but his main goal is simply to cross the finish line. He told us 'going from twenty four stone, losing over nine stone, the challenge of the run should be pretty much the same!'

LincsMag has been lucky enough to feature three runners from this year's Lincoln 10K. We are grateful to Debbie and Andy who shared their stories here alongside Alzheimer's fundraiser Rob who featured in our earlier article. We also know there are lots of other runners who will be taking part tomorrow in aid of good causes or to overcome personal challenges. Whatever your story, LincsMag love to hear from our readers and we would like to wish good luck to all of this year's Lincoln 10K runners. If you are out and about in the city tomorrow, please tweet us your pictures @LincsMag or share them on our LincsMag Facebook page.

Overcoming Challenges - Lincolnshire Magazine -