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Never say never!

Never say never!
When someone says that I can’t do something, I always set out to prove that I definitely can (or at least try!). I took up Running in 2011 aged 19.
I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta also more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. I have Type 1 which is considered to be the mildest type although I’ve had around 50 fractures (I’ve lost count along the way!).

In basic terms, Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a genetic disorder which means imperfect bone formation. The condition affects the body’s production of collagen and quality of bone as well as ligaments and tendons. There is currently no cure (Although I eagerly await any new research developments) and I try to manage my condition with running, swimming, general strength and conditioning as well as Vitamin D supplements. I haven’t had a fracture for 3 years and 2 months which I think is due to my running and exercise. 

I came across a great quote “When they say you can’t, they’re showing their limits, not yours“. When I was a child, I was actually discouraged from doing sport/exercise because people thought I wasn’t good enough or I just couldn’t do it. Luckily I had an amazing supportive family who let me join in with every opportunity possible (Although they did draw the line at ice skating!).

I had always been active growing up (I completed the Junior Great North Run in 2004 and 2007) and loved every sport going including Football, Basketball and Hockey. Unfortunately, one day at Football training, I managed to dislocate my ankle as well as fracture my Fibula and Tibia. I will always love Football (I can still do well over 200 keepy uppies) but I rediscovered running and I’ve never looked back.

I stayed out just trying run along to the end of the street and kept building it up every time. In 2011, I completed the Great North 10k in 1hr and 12 minutes. I continued to fall in love with running and kept going further and further every time. In 2012, I completed the Great North Run in 2hrs and 43 minutes and it was such an amazing experience.

In January 2013, someone suggested that I join a running club. I wasn’t really sure that I was good enough but I absolutely loved my first session. I joined Saltwell Harriers in Gateshead and I’ve been a member ever since then. 

Fast forward to 2018, I’m now 26, and I’ve completed 11 half marathons (including the Great North Run 4 times) and 2 full marathons (Yorkshire marathon twice) I’ve also completed over 50 parkruns. Last year I ran approximately 720 miles (smashing my total in 2016 by around 90 miles) I’m also a guide runner for a lady who is visually impaired. I also recently became a Leader in Running Fitness and I’ve started helping out in my running club.

My parkrun pb is 24 minutes and 20 seconds, my 10k pb is 51 minutes and my best time for a half marathon, achieved at the Great North Run is 1hr 59 minutes and 58 seconds (I initially nearly cried as I crossed the finish line as my Garmin said 2hrs 2 minutes). For someone who wasn’t initially allowed to join in with P.E lessons at primary school, I feel like this is an amazing achievement. My best Marathon time is 5hrs 9 minutes, but I’m still working hard to improve on this. 

Since I started running, I’ve also volunteered at many Athletics events including London 2012 Paralympic Games, European Athletics Team Championships 2013 (where I helped to set out the hurdles) and many local races as well as over 25 parkruns. In 2012, I was lucky enough to be selected as a Torchbearer for London 2012 Olympic Games for my volunteering in sport which was an absolutely fantastic moment. 

In October 2017, I had a brilliant opportunity to speak to over 80 delegates at a Rare Disease Showcase held in Newcastle Upon Tyne organised by a brilliant charity (Findacure Foundation) supported by Newcastle University (Institute of Genetic Medicine) This gave me a chance to explain to researchers, scientists and patient groups, what it was like to live with a rare disease and how I live with/manage mine with running. 

If I started running by just going along the street, then I think everybody else can definitely run too. I highly recommend to everybody of any ability to join a local running club. The support I’ve had and the opportunities provided has been absolutely amazing (I was lucky enough to be selected for a club place in London Marathon 2018). Even though I have Brittle Bones, I’ve never been treated differently to anybody else.
I’m really excited for 2018, to continue to lead, help and inspire other runners in my club and to continue with my Guide Running. I can’t wait to complete the London Marathon and I was lucky enough recently to win a VIP place in the Great North Run. 

I’m currently on Day 16 of recovering from severe Concussion after falling on the ice after falling over and hitting my head, so hopefully this all makes sense!  Luckily I didn’t have a fracture from falling over, but I’m currently taking a week or two off running which isn’t in my Marathon plan but I’m going to continue helping at my running club if I can. I’m feeling more determined than ever, even if it means I have to walk across the finish line of the London Marathon.
Thanks to Charlotte for sharing her running story and we wish you all the best with your recovery and running.
If you want to follow Charlotte you can do so here:
Twitter: charlie_proud
Instagram: charlie_proud91
Strava: Charlotte Proud

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