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Melanie Sturman

Date of Birth: 16.08.1970

Where do you live? Thetford

I started running when I was 40 because I had a dream to run London Marathon. Paula Radcliffe, really inspired me and I would regularly follow her. I was totally unfit and could not even run a mile. So I decided to raise money for a work related charity BackCare and embark on training. I was a size 16 with health issues, including hypertension and was advised by GP to get fitter.
I completed my first London Marathon in 2011, raising £3000 towards my chosen charity. Since then I have completed almost 250 marathons, raising £10,000 for various charities. In 2018 I became the only woman and British Record Holder for completing the Great Barrow 10 marathons in 10 days challenge for the 5th consecutive year. I intend to complete the challenge again in 2019 and am working towards 300 marathons. 300 marathons is the minimum qualification for the world mega marathon list and I am hoping to achieve this during 2020-2021 during my 50th birthday year.

Why do you want to promote running/exercise?

  • I am an older woman who has started to blog "running through the menopause". Something all women struggle with, including me but have the strength to continue with running for managing stress and well-being. It is a struggle but I refuse to give up.
  • During 2014-2017 I suffered from depression due to some serious personal problems, but I used running as "my medicine" and actually completed 100 marathons in 96 weeks, to cope with stress and improve mental health. I see the importance of running to improve health and well-being and want to encourage women with mental health problems to take up walking or running.
  • I am never going to be thin and often people say "do you actually run marathons?" because they see a size 12-14 woman. I want to encourage older woman and young women who think sport/running isn't for them to become involved. No matter your shape, size or health everyone can take part.
  • I was born with a congenital knee problem, which means for me my knee dislocates. Already as a child damage had been done but I did not find out until I was 45 when I slipped on a cup during Berlin Marathon. I do have pain daily and the benefits of being active outweigh a sedentary life style. Naturally, I am not your "typical" runner which again I feel I can encourage and promote others who have similar medical problems to get involved.

During my time as a runner, I founded Thetford parkrun and very soon setting up Thetford Juniors parkrun.

Why did you want to get involved in This Girl Can in Norfolk Campaign?

Why I want to be an thiegirlcan ambassador I always believe running and fitness has a place for any woman, whatever their age, health, menopause, mental health and size and shape. Naturally, if we feel we don't fit we shy away from sport and fitness but I have embraced sport and made it fit me so I love to and support women from walking, to running 5k to half marathons and marathons.

What are your top 3 tips of getting/staying active?

  • Busy life style - if you cannot manage 30 minutes in one go, try 3 times a day a short jog/walk.
  • Set yourself small and achievable goals.
  • Exercise with a group of people/friends.