Welwyn Garden City woman welcomes 'new lease of life' with running challenges

PUBLISHED: 17:31 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:19 24 June 2019

Hannah with her half marathon medal. Picture: Hannah Bowman

Hannah with her half marathon medal. Picture: Hannah Bowman

Archant

A 40-year-old lady, who weighed more than 21 stone and had "no self worth whatsoever", has transformed her life after taking up running.

Hannah and the medals she's collected since she began running. Picture: Hannah BowmanHannah and the medals she's collected since she began running. Picture: Hannah Bowman

Last year Welwyn Garden City's Hannah Bowman found herself struggling for breath when walking up a hill with her family, who were going to scatter her father's ashes.

Hannah said: "It was really, really embarrasing. I was so overweight and unfit I couldn't keep up. My mother and brother looked at me in pity - I was mortified."

It was a turning point for Hannah, who came to the realisation that "it wasn't normal at all".

Hannah recalled: "I said to myself I could just lie down and be a victim or get up and take control."

Hannah started her journey started at a size 26 and is now a size 20. Picture: Hannah BowmanHannah started her journey started at a size 26 and is now a size 20. Picture: Hannah Bowman

Motivated by the experience Hannah began running, starting with the NHS' Couch to 5k app. Within two months Hannah completed her first 5k.

She said: "I did a 5k Santa run in nearly an hour, there were lots of fit people at the race who said 'it doesn't matter how long it took you, the fact that you're doing it is quite incredible'."

Keen to carry on improving with her running, Hannah hoped to join a running club.

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"I didn't think I would be accepted into a running club, I thought I was too slow," she continued.

However Hannah found Garden City Runners and in January joined the club's beginners programme.

"I was always the slowest runner, but everyone was so helpful - they made me believe. They would even loop back around to help me."

After several months of 'lots and lots' of 5k runs, Hannah is now moving up to 10k runs.

Hannah Bowman began running towards the end of last yearHannah Bowman began running towards the end of last year

Hannah added: "It's not just the running, it's being part of GCR - that's made my life blossom.

"When you're struggling they pick you up and when you're up they help you celebrate.

"Last week I walked 13 miles at the St Albans Half Marathon, seven months ago I couldn't even walk 500m without a break."

Hannah's goal for next year is to run the entire length of the course.

"I've only lost three stone so far, but it isn't the end of the journey - it's still work in progress," she said.

GCR have beginners courses which run three times a year, the next one is starting in September. If you like to find out more, visit gardencityrunners.org.uk.

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