Katie began running in spring 2016 as part of a drive to improve her physical and mental wellbeing, having suffered from depression and anxiety. Now, she’s lost two stone and discovered a love of running. Her marathon motivation is strengthened by running for a good cause: she aims to raise £2,000 for the Stroke Association because her aunt suffered a stroke aged just 57.
Tell us about your health kick this year…
When I was younger, I used to be quite fit and then, in my mid 20s, I became lazy. I got to the beginning of this year and tried on a pair of jeans that weren’t going up my legs. I was getting out of breath quickly and feeling I’d let myself go and I was only 28. My mental health wasn’t great either; I was going through a difficult time and rather than go on medication – which I’d been on in years past – I wanted to see if I could do it by getting my physical shape better to improve my mental state.
Had you thought about using exercise to help with your mental health in the past?
I have tried, but I’ve been very quick to go on medication in the past. The worst thing about medication is that it makes you feel numb and getting off of it is really hard. I read a book by a man called Matt Haig and running really helped him and I remember experiencing my first runner’s high and feeling amazing and I was like, “Yes, there’s something to this.”
You’re also raising money for the Stroke Association – why is that?
When I first came to London I was living with my aunt and uncle. My aunt, who was 57 at the time, and was the healthiest of all of us, just collapsed at work one day and had a massive stroke. She was in rehab for about three months. Then she moved back home and I saw first hand how devastating it was, not just to the person who’s had the stroke, but also to the family. It was just such a big adjustment. I really wanted to do something to raise awareness and to raise some money.
What are you hoping to gain from it?
I know from speaking to people who’ve done marathons that it’s going to be an amazing experience and being able to share that with other people who’ve all gone on a journey together makes it even more special. It’s going to be amazing having the blogs and the magazines to look back on, to show people what I did, and to inspire other people – someone might look and think, “She was two stone heavier and had never run before and now look at her” – that’s really cool.