Doncaster Pacers - Sharon's story


The Doncaster Pacers (Doncaster Athletic Club's Run England Group) have received funding to train more Run Leaders up this year and in return they have supported over 200 NEW runners.

As part of the funding agreement, a number of inspirational Run Journeys have been put to paper, and we share them with you.

Sharon's Story

This is a summary - click here to read the full story - it's well worth it!

Age 10, I loved running and at school I ran 800m 1500m and cross country, our course was along the beach and through the sandhills.  I won many a race and started competing for the school and in the four counties, etc.

While all this was going on I noticed problems with my sight especially at night, but thought nothing of it. At about 16/17 I stopped running as my sight by now was quite bad (I have retinitis pigmentosa which causes night blindness, cataracts and severe tunnel vision).

Within a few years I smoked, had a family, etc but in the back of my mind I wished I could have carried on running. I know my dad regretted me packing in, he always thought I was special.

27 years passed: I stopped smoking as I was diagnosed as having COPD, and then I lost my dad. It hit me hard and I didn’t know what to do, the next few months were a daze. Dad was a member of Blind Veterans UK and they had helped him often over the years, so I had a look on their website to see if there was anything I could do to raise some money for them and they were looking for people to run the London Marathon; I mean how hard could it be? I was reasonably fit (so I thought), I applied.

I ran/walked my first unofficial (without a barcode) Parkrun with my dog and a lady called Sharon who showed me the route.  Over the next fortnight I ran the route every other day and then ran my first official Parkrun with my dog (he was the only guide I had) still wondering how on earth I would train for a marathon, how boring 26 laps of Sandal Park would be, and who would run it with me - obviously it wouldn’t be my dog.

In the meantime I’d joined a craft class and the lady who ran it told me about Doncaster Pacers.  At first I was told they didn’t have a regular guide soon I had my first official run with Doncaster Pacers guided by Rose - since then I’ve run with them twice a week, I’ve done time trials, fartlek, intervals and even ran with the beginners to give them some encouragement.  There are now several guides and always someone willing to learn, we regularly meet up at weekends for a long run and drink and sneaky cake afterwards.

There are so many inspirational people in the group, if it wasn’t for them I haven’t a clue how I would have trained for the Marathon but I know now with their expert advice and encouragement and my guide Sharon whom I have met through Pacers I will complete it with true Pacer Passion.

I’ve gone from sat around doing nothing to out running 5 days/nights a week and what I’ve achieved in less than four months is still unbelievable but it puts a great big smile on my face when I think about it. As for my original four legged guide on a Saturday morning that’s still our run day, he fetches my trainers (if I’ve forgot to box them up) and bounces around as he knows this is his run, he will always be my Parkrun buddy/guide and together we get our PBs.

If you have an inspirational Run Journey you'd like to share, why not send it to us?  Send it to Nicola Evans: to be considered for inclusion online!

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