Viv Cole

Those of you who know me will probably have guessed that I have struggled with my weight through my whole adult life. In October last year, I realised that being overweight had really started to impact on my health. I was starting to struggle with things like stairs – needing the handrail, my knees were hurting and one of my hip joints and I hated how I looked.

I decided to use all my organisational and planning skills that I use at work and apply them to myself as a weight loss project I was going to complete – not just get half way, or almost there as in the past. I have now lost more than three and a half stone. It is such a dramatic change that people aren't recognising me.

As part of my weight loss plan I started running again - something that I had enjoyed 15 years ago before I got injured and stopped "temporarily". I had assumed with my increased age and poor fitness that my running days were over, but one run led to another... All that time back I had wanted to run a half marathon, but I never got there and I assumed I never would. I am now going to try again and am working towards running the Birmingham Half Marathon in October 2018..

It feels amazing and liberating to have my body working again and I am probably the fittest I have ever been in my life. I can shout it out loudly and proudly – I am a runner. Everyone can see the physical transformation that exercising has helped me achieve and raising funds for my special place, which is so much more than a work place. It is just inspiring to go to work every day and work within a very small staff team, but be surrounded by a community that really cares and will go the extra mile themselves. I will be so proud to complete the run for myself and them.

Another sign of that wonderful community spirit that surrounds me is that the Warley Woods Pacers have given me honorary membership. I ran the Cannock Chase 10k with them and they were so supportive and encouraging. I plan to run in their kit on the day.

As this is Humphry Repton's year, I want to raise what I can to try and replace the remaining wooden benches on the driveway he designed. Could you spur me on to achieve my personal goal and my fundraising goal by sponsoring me? Every donation and every message is really helping me get up in the morning and get in those training miles.

Viv Cole