Alison Dick, who works in the hospice’s inpatient unit, is joining fellow nurse Rosie Ingham to take on the Great North Run in support of St Catherine’s. Here, she explains how she went from being a ‘couch potato’ to preparing for the half marathon in her 50th year.
My running journey began in 2015. I had never run before and had done no formal exercise for 10 years. I had an operation in May 2015, and afterwards in a bid to fix my mind and body, I decided to do the ‘Change for Life Couch to 5k’ challenge.
It encourages you to build up your running over eight weeks to build stamina and be able to run for 30 minutes at the end of the challenge.
I really enjoyed it and haven’t stopped running since! I ran on my own all through the winter of 2015, going out two or three times a week for about 30 to 45 minutes, sometimes feeling vulnerable running in the cold, dark nights alone.
My nurse colleague Rosie had done some running previously herself, and last year she sent me a message asking if I fancied taking part in the Great North Run. I had seen it on TV and liked the look of the atmosphere, and as I turn 50 in October this year, it seemed like a good time and an ideal opportunity to really challenge myself.
I joined a running club late last year so that I no longer have to run in the cold and dark on my own. I go out once a week with the club (shifts permitting) and a couple of times on my own during the day time. I do two shorter runs – up to five miles – then a bigger one, usually about 10 miles. I have made loads of new friends in my running club too.
Rosie and I run together some of the time after work. Once I told Rosie that I would lead and take us on a little three-mile run, but I took a wrong turn and 5.7 miles later we were finally back at the hospice! That really made us giggle, and at least it helped to build up the miles!
I have entered quite a few 5k and 10k races but the Great North Run in September will be my first half marathon. I know I will do it. I have had a few blisters and black toe nails and an aching right leg, but I am still really enthused by the good I will be doing.
Running makes me feel alive and very thankful that I am able to run and breathe in the fresh air, which is not a luxury many of our patients can experience at this stage in their life. I am doing the run not only to challenge myself but to support St Catherine’s and be an advocate for our hospice. I believe in all we do here and that we should lead by example in being ambassadors of being here when it matters most.