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Stephanie Bolton


Stephanie Bolton graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2011 after studying Journalism and Media, Culture and Communications. She was also the Lifestyle Editor for the University newspaper, The Linc.

Stephanie’s Lincoln 10k training gear

— In the last of a four-part feature series ahead of the Lincoln 10k Road Race, Stephanie Bolton takes us through her gruelling preparation for the race.

I’ve been training for the Lincoln 10k since I signed up for the race back in January, but it hasn’t been as easy I’d imagined.

I knew my first run would be the hardest after not running regularly since my first year at university three years ago, however after a few training runs I doubted whether I’d ever be ready for such a distance.

My aim has been to run every other day, steadily increasing the distance I cover, and although I haven’t missed many days, there have been times when I’ve found it incredibly hard to pull on my trainers and leave the house.

It’s on these occasions that I have to remind myself of why I’m running the Lincoln 10k – to raise money for Parkinson’s UK – and that has become my main motivation for keeping going, together with the great feeling I get after a run, when my energy levels are restored and increased. But for others, it’s not so much the good feeling that keeps them going as much as good food:

“I’m motivated by cakes – the more I run the more cakes I can eat without having to turn sideways to fit through the door!” says Tim Butler, who has been a member of Lincoln District Runners for three years.

Throughout my training, the Lincoln 10k is never far from my mind and as a runner who has never competed before, I feel apprehensive about how I’ll cope, but Butler has reassuring words for myself and fellow first-timers:

“As a beginner it can be quite daunting on your first race but to be honest you’re not going to be fighting for the lead so it’s just the taking part that counts – I think the front-runners have far more stress. Obviously training helps in that you know mentally that you are capable of doing the distance,” says Butler.

“Once the first race is over there is always the incentive of improving your times over the next few races, and especially with something like Lincoln there is the buzz of the crowd cheering, especially towards the finish that acts as a big motivator for doing future races,” he adds.

And if I do choose to continue running and competing in races after the Lincoln 10k, it seems that there’s a lot more on offer. Butler says that even for veteran runners there’s always the chance to chase a personal best, or “do something with a bit of novelty in to keep the interest”.

For now, I’ll just settle for making it past the finish line in my goal of under one hour fifteen.

The Lincoln 10k is on Sunday, March 25th. For training programmes and top tips visit Act!ve Nation.

Stephanie Bolton graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2011 after studying Journalism and Media, Culture and Communications. She was also the Lifestyle Editor for the University newspaper, The Linc.

L-R: Stephanie’s grandad with her brother, Stephnaie in her Lincoln 10k outfit.

— In the third of a four-part feature series ahead of the Lincoln 10k Road Race, Stephanie Bolton explains her personal reasons for running the Lincoln 10k this year.

I’ve always been a grandad’s girl; enjoying several summer holidays and trips to Center Parcs with my grandparents, the most recent being New Year 2010. I’ve been fortunate that my Grandad has always been very active, taking us swimming, out for dog walks and anything that meant being out of the house.

Now, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he has to limit the amount of outdoor activity he undertakes, has a constant tremor, and his movements are much slower. It’s sad to see someone who was once so active slow down, and it’s for this reason that I have chosen to fundraise for Parkinson’s UK when I run the Lincoln 10k this March.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that affects one person in every 500. As yet there is no cure, but the condition doesn’t directly cause those suffering to die. Parkinson’s UK is the largest charity in the UK to fund research into the condition, which is caused by a lack of the chemical dopamine:

“People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died. Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things,” say the charity, which changed their name from Parkinson’s Disease Society in 2010.

The main symptoms of the condition are tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement, but it also causes pain, tiredness and depression, and can affect the sufferer’s quality of life.

Parkinson’s UK have already invested more than £50 million in groundbreaking research and aim to reach £75 million by 2014. Their website states: “We fund research to advance our understanding of Parkinson’s and what causes it. Our research also improves treatments to make life easier for people living with Parkinson’s.”

I’m aiming to raise £200 by completing the 10k this March, and whilst I want to raise money to help the charity with their funding, I also hope that I can raise awareness of Parkinson’s UK and their work, including their campaigns. They aim to work to “improve the understanding of Parkinson’s by changing attitudes and challenging myths”, hence their slogan, “Change attitudes. Find a cure. Join us.”

The charity’s founder, Mali Jenkins, was spurred on to find out more information about the condition after her sister had been living with Parkinson’s for a few years, and it was from this that the charity Parkinson’s Disease Society was formed.

Her main motivation for this was seeing her sister’s plight, and throughout my training I am finding that there is no better motivation to keep going than the knowledge that my efforts are going to raise much-needed money for a charity that is working to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s. I only have to picture my Grandad and I pick up speed, and I know that seeing him as I approach the finish line on the day will help me to find the energy I know I’ll be lacking towards the end of the race.

If you would like to sponsor me, please visit my JustGiving page.

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