Helen clocks up the miles for the Appeal

At the beginning of 2017, Helen Stead pledged to run 1000 miles in 2017 to fundraise for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. Her achievements so far this year include York 10K and the Great North Run. Here is her fantastic story, in her own words.

I started running in 2010/11. I was quite overweight at the time and a heavy smoker too, my diabetes was out of control and I felt ill most of the time, but quite frankly I was sick of hearing myself moan about how I looked and decided to do something about it. I started off in the gym on a treadmill barely able to run a mile and slowly built myself up. Within a year I had lost 3 stone, quit smoking and found that (having always been the girl who couldn't run) I was actually quite good at it,  so I started entering races and winning prizes which spurred me on even more. Then I had my little boy and was forced to take a break.

HS_1After having my son I got back into running again, pounding the streets with him in my running buggy if I couldn't find childcare. I entered new challenges such as Tough Mudder & the Yorkshire Marathon and, to give me motivation, I decided to run for team Tomlinson. I had an epic 2015 but then I was struck with depression. Being a full time working single mother, trying to maintain a home, my fitness and generally balancing everything, it just all crashed down. I lost my motivation and from November 2015 to January 2017 I didn't run at all. My weight crept up again, my diabetes got bad and my mental health took a bashing.

In January 2017 a friend introduced me to a Facebook group whose focus was making 2017 their fittest year yet by pledging to run 1000 miles. This was the motivation I needed so on the 3rd January I started running again. Painful and extremely short runs in the beginning slowly building up to runs into double figures. It is fair to say I'm not the runner I used to be but I have come a long way since January. At the moment I am on 750 miles for the year so far, the challenge felt unattainable in January, now I am wondering how far over 1000 miles I can go.

In January 2017 a friend introduced me to a Facebook group whose focus was making 2017 their fittest year yet by pledging to run 1000 miles. This was the motivation I needed so on the 3rd January I started running again. Painful and extremely short runs in the beginning slowly building up to runs into double figures. It is fair to say I'm not the runner I used to be but I have come a long way since January. At the moment I am on 750 miles for the year so far, the challenge felt unattainable in January, now I am wondering how far over 1000 miles I can go.

HS_3

I would describe myself as a former competitive and obsessed runner. Now I would say I am semi-serious when time, energy and babysitters allow. I would love to do more as these days I only get competitive with myself, well me and that little voice in my head telling me to stay in bed and eat cake.

As a Yorkshire lass I was always aware of Jane and her battle with cancer and her strength and tenacity. The physical challenges she put herself through to raise money and awareness and to live longer were inspiring. It made sense to represent Jane when I was feeling weak - who better to inspire me than a lady who personified strength at the toughest time of her life? Her legacy is as amazing as she was and stands as a testament to her. I'm genuinely proud to represent the appeal team.

 A huge thank you to Helen, who has raised £342.50 to date. You can support her challenge and help her reach her fundraising target on her Just Giving page.