Sisters With Blisters Set For Great North Run

Great Comeback 1

The Simplyhealth Great North Run is shown live on BBC One on Sunday 9 September between 9.30-13:30. For more information about the event visit: Greatrun.org/North

Hundreds of women from online running community ‘Sisters with Blisters' will meet to take on the Simplyhealth Great North Run this year.

Sisters with Blisters has grown to become a huge community of over 5,000 members and was set up by Yvonne Wadeson, from York, who was looking to find a group of people to start running with after she suffered from anxiety.

Yvonne, a forming RAF nursing officer, began to experience anxiety during her first few attempts of running, worrying about her appearance and the thought of having to stop.

This inspired her to set up a group that would give herself and other women the confidence to pull their trainers on and take up exercise, no matter how fast or far.

Yvonne, who is also a mum-of-two, recruited her friends Ruth Harris, Rachael Heenan and Jaq Termini, and initially set up a Facebook group which snowballed into thousands of members.

Sisters with Blisters is now made up of women of a range of backgrounds, sizes, ages and abilities across the world, with members from as far afield as Dubai, Japan, New Zealand and Canada.

Yvonne will join hundreds of the Sisters with Blisters members on the start line of the Simplyhealth Great North Run on Sunday 9 September.

Yyonne, 46, said: “I was a typical working mum with two young children – too busy working and running around after the family to consider myself. I was stressed, overweight and didn't do much exercise.

“During the first few attempts of going out running I found I was really worried about what people thought of me. “More worryingly, what if someone I knew saw me when I had to stop and have to walk? What if I couldn't even do it?

“The anxiety I had would put me off running. When I did go out running I would wear a hat and sunglasses and do routes where nobody would see me.

“I realised that if I felt like this, then a lot of other women must feel the same. I looked online but it was full of serious running groups and I was concerned about asking novice questions.

“That's when I hit upon the idea of starting a Facebook group for women of all ages, sizes, abilities and backgrounds who needed a bit of support to get out running. I wanted a group that would give ‘normal' women the confidence to just get out there no matter how fast or how far.

“I was so surprised by the growth of Sisters with Blisters as I had never intended for it to get so big, I just wanted some friendly support to get me through my training runs.

“It turns out that a lot of like-minded women just wanted the same. Those who have started running then get the confidence to take on 10k runs, half marathons and beyond!

“There will be hundreds of us on the start line at the Simplyhealth Great North Run. We want to show that anybody can run a half marathon no matter what shape, size or age they are.

“Sisters with Blisters is a fun group and the Simplyhealth Great North Run is well known for its fun factor. It's a huge run aimed at all abilities which is why it appeals to our group so much.”

Among the Sisters with Blisters runners who are taking part in the world's biggest half marathon is Julie Lewis, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis several years ago.

Julie has challenged herself to run the Simplyhealth Great North Run for the first time this year even though her condition is deteriorating.

Rachel Heenan is one of the first members of Sisters with Blisters and will also line up on the event's start line this September. She is returning to the event as part of her training for a five-day ultra marathon in October.

Yvonne is passionate about every member having their own success story and says she is proud of every member, no matter what their achievements.

She added: “For some it was getting off the sofa and running to the end of the street without having to stop. The vast majority of the members, their biggest success was the euphoria of running their first 5k, but for others it was going on to complete their first ultra-marathon!

“Sisters with Blisters is just as proud of a 1km walk/run as a sub four-hour half marathon.”

For more information about Sisters with Blisters, visit: http://www.sisterswithblisters.uk

The Simplyhealth Great North Run is shown live on BBC One on Sunday 9 September between 9.30-13:30. For more information about the event visit: Greatrun.org/North