From obese and type 2 diabetic to parkrun ambassador, here’s how running changed this woman’s life

how running changed this woman's life

In February 2009, Ramona, a working mum from Chorley, was 17.5 stone and size 22. With no time to go to the gym, keeping fit was not a priority. A month later, this all changed when Ramona was diagnosed with prediabetes. After losing a friend from diabetes-related complications and watching her mother suffer after a diabetic coma, Ramona knew it was time to make a change.

“I changed my eating habits and became more active – it was that simple. I participated in an NHS led programme called Activity for Life at my local gym Active Nation Chorley – just the support I needed.”

Related: 14 Runner's World runners on how running transformed their bodies 

Three years later, Ramona was walking the Great Manchester Run 10K when she decided to run the last kilometre to the finish line. With thousands of people cheering her on, she promised herself she would take part in the 2013 race, this time running from start to finish. The following year Ramona, ran-walked her way round, whilst raising money for Diabetes UK.

By 2013, Ramona had lost 7.5 stone and her dress size had transformed from a size 20-22 to 10-12. “That summer, August 2013, I went to my first parkrun and have been running ever since. I have passed the 150 parkrun mile-marker and I am now a parkrun UK outreach ambassador which is a national role.

how running changed this woman's life

Ramona and parkrun founder Paul Sinton Hewitt

“I also joined a running club and have run hundreds of 5K, 10K and half marathon races on road, trail, cross country, beach and fell terrains. In 2015 I ran my first full marathon after training with several 20 mile runs.”

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

What does she wish she’d known about running when she started? Ramona told Runner’s World, “that it’s not about getting PB’s or worrying about your time when crossing that finish line. It’s about taking part and keeping active so that you can live a happier, healthier life. You still get a wonderful sense of achievement and you are part of a community that cares and supports one another. The running world is simply amazing!

running for weight loss

Ramona in February 2009.

“If you have been recently diagnosed, or you are already living with a long term health condition, you can still take ownership and set goals on how you want to improve your health. Whether it’s eating more nutritiously and cutting back on certain foods, sugary drinks and alcohol, or stopping smoking and getting more exercise, it’s all about making tweaks in your daily life.

“Running isn’t just about me, it’s about being part of the community and giving something back. My next fitness goal is to complete a sprint triathlon before I turn 51 in October; I’m currently taking part in swim 22 at Active Nation; a 12-week challenge to swim 22 miles. Next I’ll be getting on my bike!”

As well as being a parkrun outreach ambassador, Ramona is an ambassador for Active Nation and their #haveaword campaign – encouraging people to have a word with themselves and make 2018 their fittest, healthiest and happiest summer yet.