From 5k to the full Great North Run, there's no stopping Sally now!

From 5k to the full Great North Run, there's no stopping Sally now!

"Last year I joined Newcastle Can, started running for the first time in years and took on the Great North 5k with Hugh and a whole bunch of other Newcastle Can community members. This year, I'm doing the FULL Great North Run!

You can’t say it was unexpected. I’d put in for the ballot, I knew the results were out last week. I had no idea how they sort through the entries or what my odds of success were, or how I'd react!

When I found out that my entry had been successful, my immediate reaction was a mixture of excitement and terror. A year ago I hadn’t done any exercise bar walking for decades and was wondering how I could. Five months ago I was questioning whether I’d be able to run the whole of my first 5k. Now, I realised when I opened the email, I’m fairly confident I’ll be completing my first half marathon in September.

I’m not used to being confident! It’s a weird feeling.

If I hadn’t got involved with Newcastle Can I’d probably still be doing no exercise bar walking, gaining weight and wondering how to start doing something about it. What I’ve found by being involved with Newcastle Can is that the tiniest changes can make a massive difference. Every successful change, no matter how small, gives you the confidence to try the next one. And as your confidence grows you’re prepared to try bigger changes, bigger challenges.

I’m not comfortable being the centre of attention. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything unusual. I blame myself for getting so overweight and inactive rather than celebrating myself for dragging myself into healthier habits. I’m practicing being kinder to myself.

I’m still worrying that next time I eat cake or chips in public someone will call me out for being a hypocrite!

I don’t think I’m exceptional.

But I’m realising the most inspiring people are ordinary.

A million professional athletes displaying incredible endurance are not going to persuade someone like me – middle aged, obese and stuck in a rut of no exercise – that they can do it. But it seems one Sally – sweaty and straining, keeping at it and sharing the struggles as well as the successes – does show people in similar circumstances that they can do it too.

The first time someone told me they’d started the couch to 5k programme because they’d been inspired by my running I was stunned. Several people have told me that now and it really fills me with joy. This is exactly what Newcastle Can is about, ordinary people making sustainable changes that make a positive difference to their health and sharing that with their communities.

I’ve been saying since that first run – if I can, anyone can! It’s great to know people are!

Now I need to get training!

Wish me luck".

- Sally Allen

Read more from Sally here.

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