To Run or not to Run – Pauline’s Story by Alan Taylor
As you all know, my wife Pauline has been a devoted member of the Wigan Harriers Group for some time now and thoroughly enjoys the time spent training and entering the numerous events throughout the year. As I am also now part of the great friendly team that is Wigan Harriers, I thought I’d share Pauline’s story in the hope that I can inspire others to get out there and start running!
Pauline’s has been a really remarkable journey and truly is the tale of how it’s possible to battle against the odds and make huge achievements that you may never have thought possible.
Back in September 2008, sitting by the side of a fountain on holiday in Tenerife, is where Pauline’s inspirational journey began. After years of failed knee operations and the restricted mobility that resulted, Pauline won’t mind me sharing that fact that she certainly piled the weight on – reaching 14½ stone. She hadn’t been able to exercise for years and basically had to sit in the chair at home, having been forced to give up her job as a nurse. In constant pain and discomfort, she decided that the time had come to take matters into her own hands and do something about it.
So on return from that holiday, she joined Slimming World, became a member of a local gym and signed up for personal training. Those who know Pauline well will tell you that she’s a very determined lady – and determined she was, as during the course of the next 9 months she dropped 6 stone, totally transformed the way she looked and more importantly, thrived on exercise.
Sport in general and certainly running was something that Pauline had never been able to do due to loads of medical problems she’d suffered over the years, in particular the major problems she had with her right knee and then the knee replacement operations (of which she’s had three) certainly didn’t help. She’d had loads of hospital stays over many years as things always seemed to go wrong, losing the first two knee replacements due to infection. At one point she was told there was a real risk of losing her leg! She was on crutches for the best part of 14 years which has consequently played havoc on her shoulders and neck – but she never gives up. When she got into regular exercise and lost weight, for some strange reason all she really wanted to do was run, possibly the one thing she actually shouldn’t have done
Her first real running effort was early in 2010, when she took herself off to the Rainford By-Pass on her own and gave it a go but soon realised that she couldn’t really do the running action, so she got back into the car and drove home. But Pauline being Pauline, she persevered and in May 2010 entered the Race For Life at Pennington Flash. She carried on running on her own with slow improvements and then entered the Tatton Park 10K which was in September 2012
She first contacted Tim Pilkington at Harriers in July 2012 prior to the 10k. He encouraged her to come down to the group and try it out. She plucked up the courage to turn up on her own and one of the first friendly faces she saw was Pat Cole. You could say at that point that the “Two P’s” were formed and the rest is simply history.
With Harriers, Pauline has gone from strength to strength, met some amazing friends and achieved things that she would have never dreamt of in a million years thanks to the support and encouragement of everyone at the Club. She carried on entering 5K and 10K competitions, then half marathons, and then the Chester Marathon in 2013.
Pauline’s achievements certainly influenced my decision to join Harriers and I too thoroughly enjoy the training, competitions, friendly banter and the devotion of those who make the club so special.
I guess one of the reasons for me writing this, is to inspire and encourage those who may be thinking about joining the club and who maybe think they’re not good enough or quick enough. Pauline’s journey in my opinion is testament to what can be achieved if you put your mind to it and I have to say how truly supportive members of Harriers have been. You could say that she’s defied the odds in that people who have had knee replacements aren’t supposed to run – certainly not marathons!! But it just goes to show that if you put your mind to it, what you can achieve.
So don’t hesitate – join this amazing group of runners, have fun and keep fit.