London Marathon 2018: How Joanne was inspired to run marathons by one comment

Joanne Graham at Stanage Pole in the Peak District during a London Marathon training run
London Marathon 2018
Date: Sunday, 22 April Start times (BST): Elite wheelchair (08:55), World Para-athletics Marathon World Cup (09:00), Elite Women (09:15), Elite Men & Mass start (10:00)
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio London, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV

As we build up to the London Marathon on Sunday, 22 April, Get Inspired will bring you five inspiring stories – one each day until race day – about runners who will be taking on the 26.2-mile course. Here’s the first…

Many of us make New Year resolutions. A lot of us fail to keep to them.

It was on 31 December, 2011 that Joanne Graham, who will be taking part in Sunday’s London Marathon, decided to make changes to her lifestyle after a conversation at a New Year’s Eve party.

“Someone asked me what had happened to me,” says 42-year old Joanne (that ‘someone’ being her best friend’s mum – more on her later).

“When questioned she said, ‘you used to be thin’. For me, that was that; the next day I went out for a run.”

Joanne had been involved in exercise in her youth – gaining a black belt in taekwondo – but it had taken a back seat after she had children.

“I always made excuses – I can’t run, I have asthma etc,” adds Joanne. “But I made no excuses that day.”

After two days of running, Joanne “nearly collapsed out of breath” running to the end of the road, but showed her determination to lose weight by signing up to do a half-marathon in her home city of Sheffield.

“I haven’t looked back since,” she says.

Joanne at (from left to right) a 10k in Sheffield in 2014, with husband Scott after the Chester Marathon and completing the Yorkshire Marathon in 2016

And she hasn’t. Joanne has gone on to run several half marathons and three marathons, but on Sunday it will be a dream come true for the mum-of-two.

“The London Marathon is a race I have always watched and to me it is my ultimate dream. This year I get to live the dream, and I will enjoy every minute,” she says.

Joanne – and her work colleague Sally – will be raising funds for Children with Cancer UK, the leading national children’s charity dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer.

And the running is just part of Joanne’s fitness revival.

Having rediscovered the benefits that staying fit can give you, Joanne wanted to share that message with others and give back.

She returned to taekwondo, went on an instructor’s course and set up her own club with her husband Scott.

Joanne at her taekwondo club

More to come?

Incidentally, when Joanne told her best friend that she would be revealing how her mum’s one comment had been a turning point in her life, her friend replied: “She’s glad she did and she told me the same thing the other day!”

Watch this space for another potential transformation…

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BBC Sport – Athletics

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