NOVICE runner Sally O’Shea received training tips from the top when she met athletics great Paula Radcliffe.
They came together to launch the search for ‘Radcliffe’s Great Runners’ – six women with something to prove by entering the Morrisons Great Manchester Run.
Sally, of Didsbury, only took up running a year ago while Paula is nearing the end of her illustrious career which saw her set a marathon world record in 2003 which stands today.
Sally, a 29-year-old HR manager, joined Paula at Salford Quays as an example to others of what can be achieved through exercise. She has entered this year’s 10k run on Sunday, May 10, after making her debut in it last year. She will be once again raising money for Francis House in memory of her late grandfather Patrick O’Shea, who worked near the children’s hospice.
Sally said: “It was fantastic to meet Paula Radcliffe who is such a hero of mine and she wanted to find out why I’d been inspired to take up running. I lost threeand-a- half stone from 16 stone and joined a gym.
“I was in a rut and not eating healthily and lacked motivation and decided to do something about it.
“I’d never run before and didn’t think I could complete the 10k because of my weight. I felt so embarrassed but was determined to finish the course and by doing so found the whole experience motivating and inspiring. To be honest, without training for the run, I’d still be unhappy and unhealthy and I’ll be back on the start line again this year.”
The Morrisons Great Manchester Run attracts up to 40,000 runners and was established in 2003 as a legacy from the Commonwealth Games held in the city 12 months earlier. Paula won the 5,000m gold medal at the Games.
Paula, of Northwich, is still running at 41 and overcame a series of injuries to enjoy a career on the track and road which saw her become a long-distance World and European champion.
She said: “I want to find six women who might think that running isn’t for them to join me as part of Radcliffe’s Great Runners.
“Perhaps you’re a mum who hasn’t run since your school days? Maybe you’re a ‘super gran’ who can still show the younger ones a thing or two? Perhaps you’re simply carrying a few pounds and you want to get back in shape.”
Paula will offer training advice and give the runners a final pep talk before the run.
They will also receive specialist sportswear to help preparations.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be one of ‘Radcliffe’s Great Runners’ email your details to sixfor manchester@great run.org with a maximum 100-word summary on why you should make the team. To enter the run visit www.greatrun.org/ Manchester.
●● Sally O’Shea from Didsbury and Paula Radcliffe limbering up at Salford Quays