Human race: the hospice nurse who lost 8 stone through running

In April 2018, nurse Kelly Foster crossed the finish line of the hottest London Marathon on record wearing her nurse uniform. Proudly clutching her well-earned medal, Kelly had raised £7,640 for St Ann’s Hospice in Greater Manchester, where she works as a Ward Sister, but to the outsider, her personal journey into running is equally as inspiring as her performance on the day.  

Fitting her training around her 14-hour shift work, Kelly was 20 stone when she first started running. Motivated by her patients and her sons, Kelly told Runner’s World “I decided that as a nurse I didn’t want to be giving health advice to people when I wasn’t healthy myself, so set about doing something positive in response.

“When I first started out I couldn’t run for more than 10 seconds. My biggest obstacle was my weight and my arthritic joints, as I suffer from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (symptoms include joint hypermobility), but my biggest motivation was the strength and positivity of my patients. I care for people with life-limiting illnesses and provide end of life care – my patients motivate me every day. ”

As she started to run and eat healthier, the weight started to fall off. By the time she was ready to take on the Manchester 10K, she had lost 5 stone and raised over £1000 for the hospice. At the start line of the Great North Run, her first half-marathon, she had lost a further 3 stone, and added another £1000 to her fundraising total.

When we asked Kelly what her advice would be for those in her position all those years ago she encouraged them to: “just go out there and run for as long as you can, even if that is just 10 seconds, then each time you lace up your trainers, just try and run for a little bit longer. Keep at it as improvements happen, but be prepared for setbacks along the way – if we all got better every single time we ran, we’d all be Olympians!”

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Hooked by the addictive power of putting one foot in front of the other and the support of the running community she is now part of, Kelly hasn’t looked back and has continued to find challenges to push her further out of her comfort zone. Citing her running group, Davenport Runners as a huge source of support throughout her training, Kelly recommends all new runners find a local group to run with. 

When we asked her when we’d see her running next she revealed she’ll be taking part in this year’s Great North Run, but has her sights set on her next challenge – her first triathlon.

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