A Birmingham runner will say thank you to the hospital that looked after her son born prematurely by taking part in the Great Birmingham 10k and raising money for their neonatal unit.
Mum of two Karen Kershaw has lost two and a half stones, having reached 13st 13lb after giving birth to her second son, Alex, last year, who was born 11 weeks early.
And, after seeing the throng of runners weave their way through the city last May while the Kershaws were on their way to visit Alex at Birmingham City Hospital, Karen was inspired to lace up a pair of running shoes and get in shape, and has signed up for the Great Birmingham 10k on May 1 to raise money for the BCH Neonatal Unit.
Karen, a teacher for children with special educational needs, said: “I'm getting in shape with the running and my aim is to do it for the children.
“Alex was a fighter from the beginning, but he needed expert care. He came home on oxygen, he has chronic lung disease but that seems all fine now, he's off the oxygen and so we're just keeping an eye on him. He's growing nicely and breathing well so far.”
Karen started WeightWatchers soon after Alex was allowed home, and after seeing others in her group running, she decided to do the same, and the benefits have been clear for the 35-year-old.
“It was difficult to start with as I had to rely on my husband a lot for childcare when I've been out running,” said Karen. “I did the NHS Couch To 5k (C25K) scheme, so that's about where I'm up to at the moment. I'm just trying to up it over the next couple of months.
“Before I started the C25K I didn't run, I didn't even run for the bus. I had to do it at school but have done nothing since. I was really starting from scratch in August. It was difficult, that first week. You only do a minute or so at a time and even then I thought I couldn't do it, but I've got there.
“I wanted some kind of exercise to boost my weight loss, but wasn't sure what to do. I didn't really want to go to the gym and swimming didn't work out for me time-wise, and with running, you do a half an hour run and you only have to be out of the house for half an hour. It seems like an easy exercise to get into it, and C25K got me into it gradually.
“If I'd done it on my own, I'd have gone out for a 20-minute run straight away and feeling so tired that I'd give up, so this has really helped me build it up gradually.
“That's why I decided to sign up for the 10k. I thought ‘I'm doing this but I'm not working towards anything. So I did it to give me a reason to be doing it.”
And Karen, currently on maternity leave, may just have inspired some of her workmates to get into shape too.
She added: “When I went back to work to see everyone, I'd lost weight noticeably and they were all quite shocked to see me. I'm slimmer now than before I got pregnant.
“They're wanting to get into running because they can see what it does for you.”
Karen has also considered entry for the Great Birmingham Run in October, adding: “We'll see how it goes. I know about the Birmingham Half and it could be something I try at some point.”
- Everyone who enters the 2016 Great Birmingham 10k, taking place on Sunday 1 May, and the 2016 Great Birmingham Run half marathon, on Sunday 16 October, gets £10 off the entry fee.
- Entrants will pay a total of £50 (including VAT), which will guarantee a place in both of the 2016 Birmingham running events.
- The discount will be deducted after entering the second event, therefore it doesn't matter which one you enter first. For details click here.
- To donate to Karen's chosen charity, click here