Enter the Simplyhealth Great South Run at: Greatrun.org/South

A woman who lost six and a half stone after she was humiliated on a family adventure break is to take on a 10 mile running challenge after her weight loss inspired a love of exercise.

Joanne Collins, from Locks Heath in Fareham, lost over six stone in just six months after a disastrous family trip to Centre Parcs, which left her unable to take part in any of the activities with her children.

Joanne was a size 22, weighing over 17 stone, and was too embarrassed to go swimming with her children Luke, 9, and Finlay, 5, or take part in any of the other physical activity there.

She spent most of her time there sitting on her own as she struggled to do anything, which was the moment that she released she needed to do something about her weight.

Joanne went on to sign up to the Cambridge Weight Plan to control her portion size and went on to lose a huge six and a half stone, dropping to a svelte size 12.

She now weighs a healthy 10 stone 10lbs. Joanne then embraced exercise and took up a variety of hobbies with her children, including running, which also helped her control the portion size of things she was eating.

She has now set herself her biggest challenge to date by running 10 miles at the Simplyhealth Great South Run on Sunday 22 October.

Joanne, 46, said: “I never imagined myself to be a runner! “But now I am six and a half stone down I feel as though I have officially caught the running bug.

“I always felt as though I was a curvy girl but after having the kids, I never really managed to get rid of the weight that I had put on.

“My portion sizes were huge and before I knew it, my weight had crept up to over 17 stone. “I was a complete mess and I was ashamed of the way I looked, so when I went to Centre Parcs with the kids and realised I could never in my wildest dreams do some of the activities with them there, it was a huge turning point.

“I sat in the corner on my own while they took part in swimming, climbing and other sports and I felt very alone.

“I knew it was time to change my life and so I altered my eating habits and decreased my portion sizes.

“Within six months I had lost six and a half stone and I felt like a completely different person.

“I lost a close friend, Marie, and I initially started running to raise money for the hospice that supported her in her final days.

“During this fundraising I developed a love for running and decided that I really wanted to push myself. “I bit the bullet and signed up for the Simplyhealth Great South Run.”

Joanne will join 20,000 others for the Simplyhealth Great South Run, the world's leading 10-mile running event.

The fast and flat course takes runners on a scenic tour of Portsmouth and Southsea, passing through Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home to HMS Victory.

Runners cross the finish line on the sea front with beautiful views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight.

Joanne has decided to continue supporting Hospicare, who cared for Marie and her family, by fundraising for them at the 10 mile run.

She added: “Marie was really supportive of my desire to lose weight and change my life so it is really fitting that I continue the fundraising for such an amazing cause.

“I am now so much more involved in my family's life. The boys have started to come running with me so I hope that one day we will be able to run an event like the Simplyhealth Great South Run together.

“My life has completely changed. I have learned to be more controlled with portion sizes but I always treat myself where I can.

“Instead of sitting inside I have become a lot more active and I know I will be able to hold my head high when I cross the finish line.”

To support Joanne's fundraising visit.

Enter the Simplyhealth Great South Run at: Greatrun.org/South