Health scare inspired Emma to tackle her first marathon
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A DALE athlete has completed her first marathon to raise cash for awareness of the illness that first got her into running.
Barnard Castle’s Emma Ford joined Teesdale Athletic Club three years ago as a way to get fit after recovering from endometriosis.
The condition causes women to bleed internally during their menstrual cycle.
Mrs Ford said: “It can be really nasty for some women. I didn’t know what is was until I was diagnosed.
“I was stage four when I was diagnosed – the scarring and pain was so severe that I decided to have a hysterectomy.”
She added: “I decided to get fit after my surgery and I joined the athletics club to do the couch to 5k.”
Since then she has been bitten by the running bug and went on to do her first half-marathon, The Great North Run, in 2017, completing it in a time of three hours and 30 minutes.
She said: “In a way you do get addicted to it.
“It is also the social aspect of it and the friends you make. It is almost a way of life.”
This year she decided to take on a more rigorous trail run and signed up for the Swaledale Marathon, inspired by family members who had already taken part in it.
She prepared for the event by running along the Teesdale Way and other trails in the local area.
However, the marathon, which was staged earlier this month, was marred by bad weather.
The 38-year-old said: “It was horrible. It was pretty brutal and the moors were full of mud.
“It is 24 miles and there is a lot of hill climbing – there was about 3,786ft of hill climbing.
“But it was pretty amazing because it was something I had wanted to do for a few years.”
Despite the trying conditions the athlete completed the marathon in six hours and 52 minutes, beating her target of seven hours.
The event started and finished in Reeth, taking in Gunnerside.
Through hosting a tea and cake afternoon and an online appeal Mrs Ford has so far raised £850 for Endometriosis UK.
She said the charity’s campaign to have menstrual health taught in schools in England is due to become a reality in 2020 and is now pushing for similar awareness to be implemented in Wales.
Anyone who would like to support Mrs Ford in her fundraising campaign can visit justgiving.com/fundrais ing/emma-ford39.