Nikki from Oldham needed to have surgery but weighing in at 22 stone, she had to lose some weight first. Once she had lost enough weight to undergo surgery, she took a look at herself, her health, her eating habits and her lifestyle and decided she wanted to keep the weight off and try to lose more.
One way she started to do this, was by joining her local parkrun so she headed to Chadderton Hall parkrun for the first time. Her experience was great, meeting lots of amazing people, with one lady telling her about a local running club, Royton Road Runners. She signed up to the running club, but kept going to parkrun each week, as well as joining the gym, plus bootcamp – she was determined to make sure was moving enough to improve her health!
After a while, people started to message her for advice as they were struggling at the start of their own health improvement journeys. With support and encouragement from Clare who runs the bootcamp sessions Nikki attends, Fitness Bootique, she stepped up. She started taking non-runners out for short jogs and went on a nutrition course to help them with their eating habits. Many women who contacted her were nervous about going to a parkrun on their own, so Nikki went with them; walking, jogging or running at their pace, prioritising their experience over striving for her own personal best.
“For me it’s all about just getting up and doing it, and if I can help people in the meantime, that’s what it’s all about for me”
Nikki’s journey so far has taken three and a half years, in which time she’s had three major surgeries! Yet while most people spend their recovery time focusing on themselves, she sees it as an opportunity to help others. Rather than being frustrated by the need to slow down to recover, she instead wraps her arms around the “non-runners”, taking them out on slow jogs, or plods, helping them to improve, as she recovers.
The joy of parkrun, is that you can do it at your own pace you can walk, jog, run, or a mix of all three. This freedom and no-pressure environment meant Nikki was back out on the course just four weeks after having a kidney removed!
Despite her incredible voluntary commitment to helping others, Nikki doesn’t think of herself as doing anything special; “I just like helping people achieve their goals as I understand how hard it is”.
However Jon Davies, the Co-Event Director at Chadderton Hall parkrun is well aware of the incredible impact she has; “I know that Nikki is an inspiration to a number of people in the Oldham area, myself included.”
parkrun could be your first step in starting to move more too, head to the parkrun website here to find your local parkrun.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic numerous organisations have been conducting research and exploring the implications of the pandemic and lockdown on a number of factors, including physical activity.
Better Health will help capture the imagination of the nation, using this unique moment in time to help kick start our health – to eat better and get moving.