Gorefield mother-of-two gearing up for first marathon after 5st weight loss

Joanne Clarke

Joanne Clarke - Credit: Archant

Anyone making – and maybe already struggling with – that traditional New Year resolution to lose weight and get fit should draw inspiration from Joanne Clarke.

Joanne Clarke before her weight loss.

Joanne Clarke before her weight loss. - Credit: Archant

Over the past 15 months she has lost nearly five stone – and in April she’ll be running in her first marathon. For that, the Hudson Centre in Wisbech can claim some of the credit.

Joanne visits the gym there three or four times a week as well as making good use of the swimming pool. She backs that up with regular road running and keeping a close eye on her diet.

The 36-year-old mother of two from Gorefield says: “I was 15 stone 10 pounds when I started. I was going on holiday and wanted to lose a stone, so I started going to Weight Watchers. It’s gone on from there.

“I used to use the gym a little but not regularly. When I started seeing results, I was encouraged to do more. I’ve had great support from my husband and my family and friends and from the staff at the Hudson – they’re always on hand to help you out.

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“I didn’t want to stay overweight because of the risk of things like diabetes – I’m not getting any younger and all the risks increase with time.

“I’m a very determined person and I don’t like to give up. I follow an exercise programme, mainly cardio work, so the main equipment I use is the treadmill and cross trainer and the AMT machine and cycling machines.

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“It’s definitely a combination of exercise and diet – for me the two go hand in hand. I don’t go without treats and I don’t think of it as dieting - I’ve just changed the way I think about food.”

Joanne is aiming to lose another half a stone. She has signed up for the Brighton Marathon on April 12, when she will be running to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

“My daughter Alice has treatment there, so this is my way of saying thank you to them for their expert care. It’s also a little pat on the back for myself for what I have achieved.”

Another regular gym user is 64-year-old Chris Reinartz from Chatteris.

Chris has multiple sclerosis (MS) and makes full use of the facilities at Chatteris Leisure to maintain his strength and help with his movement

“I was diagnosed with MS in 2009, so I’ve been living with it for about five and a half years,” he says. “It came out of the blue and I’ve obviously had to make a lot of adjustments to my life. It’s matter of keeping it under control.

“I got a referral to the gym from my physiotherapist in May this year and started going to the gym in earnest then. When I started, I was given a structured exercise programme and now I try to go three times a week – on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

“I do about an hour each time – a bit more at the weekend. On Thursdays I go at 6.45am. It’s a bit tough on these dark mornings – it’s just us hardened regulars then! It’s easier at the weekend.

“Having MS means mobility and movement control is sometimes a struggle. I do specific exercises for my upper and lower body, just to keep the strength up in my legs and arms. I find the recumbent bike in particular really comfortable and easy to use and I get a good workout from it. I also use the hand cycle and power plate.

“We’re lucky to have such a great gym here. All the staff are very friendly, nice people and the equipment is excellent.

“I’ve worked out that since May I’ve been about 80 times, so I definitely get good value out of my subscription.”

To support Joanne Clarke’s fundraising for Great Ormond Street, visit www.justgiving.com/joanne-clarke36. For details of FDC’s leisure facilities, visit www.newvisionfitness.co.uk

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