Survival Training

by geordiegirl

I started running in junior school. My teacher decided that I should run for the cross country team, to help me overcome my shyness (it obviously worked). I walked, came last, yet I was selected and ran in every single race! I still suspect that he paid my classmates to be off each week. But I loved it.

I continued running into my early twenties, until I was hit with an illness which took over a decade of my life and saw me often unable to walk, let alone run. Don’t get me wrong I had times during this period where I was very active, but I never picked up running again, and to this day I don’t know why.

In 2006 I got talking to a runner. I reminisced about cross country, and he asked why I didn't do it any more. I really didn’t know. Somehow I agreed that we would run the Great North Run together.

A few weeks later I put my trainers on, feeling sick, carefully picking a route where I would be unlikely to meet anyone. I came home out of breath, looking like a beetroot, but buzzing and again questioning why I hadn’t done this years ago.

It was to be short lived - my illness returned. I spent the rest of the year battling health issues and trying to train for the race. My consultant said I needed another operation but I begged him to let me do the race first. My training was erratic, but (taking my pal's advice) I got a heart rate monitor to help ensure I wasn't putting my body under any unnecessary stress.

I went through all the emotions on race day - excitement and trepidation; tears reading peoples t-shirts; the thrill of crossing the Tyne Bridge as the Red Arrows flew overhead; pain at the John Reid Road; and tears again as we crossed the finish line. That night we were both signing up for the next one.

After a month of recovery I went for the operation, and everything changed. The anaesthetic put me into anaphylactic shock, gave me cardiac issues, and left me in a coma in intensive care surrounded by my family.

When I regained consciousness the next day, my tearful mum said to the doctor that she hadn’t wanted me to do the run; that she should have done more to stop me but I was stubborn. The doctor put it all into perspective - he said that the running had strengthened my heart, and that without it I most likely wouldn’t be here.

I finally had the operation in 2008 and ran the GNR again the following year. I was an emotional wreck, reflecting on how close I’d been to not being here, knowing that without running the chances were I wouldn’t have been. It was this race that made me realise how much running does not just for your body but your soul. It's amazing how it helps me work through my problems, and how it helps me deal with day-to-day stresses.

I'm making the most of the second chance that running has given me. This year I ran the GNR with my mum. She has always wanted to do it. Because of the help I’ve been given over the years, I have been able to help her. She trained hard, overcame injuries of her own, and kept on going. We ran in memory of her mum, who we lost last October. Running has given us the chance to do something together.

And without being able to log my miles on Fetch - to see that I was improving, and the camaraderie; support; kindness; motivation; humour and friendship from other Fetchies I would probably have given up before now, but this brilliant website is the other reason I know I will keep going. Thank you all.

Please help the site by sharing:


  • Nice article. Well done Geordiegirl and Geordiemum on your GNR this year. Thank goodness you are still with us.
    becca7 10:53am, 8th October
  • Lovely article!
    emmie 10:55am, 8th October
  • brilliant article thank you.
    runner duck 11:05am, 8th October
  • Wow. That's a bit of perspective.
    Discovery Dave 11:06am, 8th October
  • You and Mum are inspirational awesome article keep running and thank you for all your support for the 10 in 10 :-)
    Toks 11:06am, 8th October
  • Marvellous! Lovely story. Well done and all the best to you both!
    LBM 11:08am, 8th October
  • Yes a beautiful Article
    Night-owl 11:08am, 8th October
  • *wipes eyes* Great article GG xxx
    SusiesueH 11:11am, 8th October
  • I have something in my eye. I knew you were special but I didn't realise how special. I'm so glad running kept you around and introduced you to me.
    The Scribbler 11:11am, 8th October
  • Wonderful article. Thank you for sharing that.
    DeeGee 11:23am, 8th October
  • Fab article and what an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing. x
    Meglet 11:31am, 8th October
  • What a great story. I think your mum rocks! Thanks for sharing gg xx
    Alice the Camel 11:42am, 8th October
  • Don't really know what to say. Thankyou for the article.
    HermanBloom 11:42am, 8th October
  • Amazing article. You and your mum are absolute stars. xxx
    Tiggia 11:44am, 8th October
  • ... sniff...
    Hark the Helegant Angels Sing 11:46am, 8th October
  • Inspiring - both you and your mum
    forest plodder 11:52am, 8th October
  • Lovely story :-)
    Sunbed Athlete 11:55am, 8th October
  • Heck i never knew you had been through so much ! Great to see you and your mum at the Bridges of the tyne race . Here's to lots more runs and races and good health. x
    flip 11:57am, 8th October
  • Nice no need to say more.
    Mark J 12:11pm, 8th October
  • Inspriing humbling emotional ... all of these. This is why we run :-)
    PeterG 12:17pm, 8th October
  • You're an inspiration GG!
    Blunderwoman 12:17pm, 8th October
  • Brilliant inspiring article well done Geordiegirl and Mum! I suffer with health issues and also did the GNR very slowly and painfully but loved every minute of it and will be back for more! Good Luck :-)
    Wendolene Wobbler 12:29pm, 8th October
  • Lump in throat...
    cathrobinson 1:02pm, 8th October
  • That is a wonderful story of triumph over adversity - thank you so much for sharing it with us x
    LazyDaisy 1:03pm, 8th October
  • I have something in my eye xxx
    Stumpy 1:04pm, 8th October
  • Thank you for sharing that.
    RichHL 1:14pm, 8th October
  • I had no idea you'd been through so much - well done to both you and your Mum and thanks for sharing your experience xx
    Autumnleaves 1:34pm, 8th October
  • are a little fighter and so pleased to be able to call you my friend :-) x
    MeLAR 1:56pm, 8th October
  • Wow what an inspiration. You are amazing well done you. Thank you so much for sharing xx
    Metro_Nome 1:57pm, 8th October
  • Wonderful well done for keeping going and for going back to it. I wonder how many Fetchies lives have been saved by running one way or another x
    jude 2:10pm, 8th October
  • o/ brilliant xxxx
    oldbiddynandi 3:26pm, 8th October
  • You are both amazing - well done *sniff*
    mulbs 4:30pm, 8th October
  • Wow! one - no two amazing women. such an inspiration. x
    babsaf 5:03pm, 8th October
  • thanks for sharing...... awesome!
    Maz Heeps 5:14pm, 8th October
  • wowsers i did nt know any of this! lovely story xx
    santababy 5:19pm, 8th October
  • Fab GG - Powerful and emotional story... well done you and your mum x x- thank you for sharing it with us.
    Chicken Licken 5:33pm, 8th October
  • I swear it's sun cream in my's still hot and sunny here ;-)
    Phoenix Lesley 6:14pm, 8th October
  • Lost for words.
    Longwayround [LWR] 6:18pm, 8th October
  • What a lovely and inspiring article GG thank you for sharing x
    Weekatiepea 7:16pm, 8th October
  • Really nice uplifting and inspiring story.
    scoobydo66 8:04pm, 8th October
  • I am not crying it's sweat running down my cheeks honest.A truelly amazing and wonderful story GG:-)
    Hyperboy 12:53am, 9th October
  • Inspirational blog. Thank you for sharing.
    MelanieLH 7:25am, 9th October
  • I suspect you get your stubborness from your mum- you are both inspirational and fabulous. xx
    GimmeMedals 7:28am, 9th October
  • Lovely article - you and your mum are an inspiration!
    Schnecke 7:31am, 9th October
  • Wow I hadn't realised you had been so much. Great article
    Lisrun 8:04am, 9th October
  • Brilliant article - you are one tough cookie :-)
    Wombling Plodder (Welsh Womble) 11:53am, 9th October
  • Brilliant article... thanks for sharing
    Yazoo 12:09pm, 9th October
  • Fantastic Blog GG I have yet again something in my eye you really are an inspiration to anyone to get out there and run :-) xx
    Excitabubble 12:34pm, 9th October
  • Amazing ! Thank you x
    Hollyberrymum 5:38pm, 9th October
  • awesome article GG
    Old Croc 8:56pm, 9th October
  • Great tale of character and determination. Always support the 'non-elites' - one never knows what they've been through just to get to the start.
    Flatlander 2:28pm, 10th October
  • All I can say is Wow
    FurryHamster 10:10pm, 10th October
  • Love it xx
    Shadow 9:39am, 11th October
  • Brilliant! And inspirational! I am trying to get healthy again after a long period (5 years) of being a workaholic couch potato living away form home all week in B&Bs which has resulted in borderline hypertension and my asthma playing up. Not life threatening as such... yet... but when my boss - who is a few years younger than me - was rushed into hospital with a stroke I saw I needed to do something. But I have been battling against my inner sloth. This has given me a real kick up the backside to get myself in shape so I don't risk leaving my kids and wife prematurely! THANK YOU!
    Fzh2p0 7:41pm, 11th October
  • What an inspirational story you are a credit to runners every where :-)
    sweeny 9:40pm, 11th October
  • Fantastic x
    barking 11:42pm, 11th October
  • fantastic story :-)
    macca 53 12:07pm, 12th October
  • Well I know your a trooper your s star and a great friend. cannot wait to come upp & run with you again.
    Hugs & Kisses xxx
    raccyroo 5:31pm, 13th October
  • Lovely inspirational article. Thank you.
    cackleberry 8:10pm, 13th October
  • This is what Fetch is about
    Miss Piggy Wiggy 11:32pm, 13th October
  • Thank you all for the lovely comments the support on here is fabulous. Awwwwwwwwww!
    geordiegirl 6:22pm, 14th October
  • Cracker absolutely cracker.
    The Jogger 6:30pm, 14th October
  • Great story - good on you...and your Mum
    blue (pete) 2:25pm, 15th October
  • fabulous and I love the title! well done you.
    hillcrawler 11:36am, 17th October
  • You've given my dry eyes a bit of relief. Thank you :-)
    Smout 10:08am, 18th October
  • I wish that we had this sort of good reporting in the news papers - I think the whole counrty would feel inspired and humble. well done to you bothxx
    Karate woman 11:16am, 19th October
  • I can't work out who is more deserving of admiration you or your mum! Great story :-)
    Fleecing Icicles 4:48pm, 31st October
  • Totally inspirationalIm in total admiration of you and your mum and the next time I cant motivate myself to go out for a run Im going to re-read this again to get me through the back door .
    Plodder54 5:04pm, 1st November
  • A lovely story many congrats to you for your achievements
    softysoutherner 4:44pm, 4th November
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Please help the site by sharing:
Geordiegirl and her mum, at this year's Great North Run.

Geordiegirl found her way back to running six years ago and has fallen in love with off-road running and mud. She says she's "not a fast runner" but she's quite ok with that because she enjoys the great outdoors, staying fit and the company of her dogs, Bailey and Ellie.

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