MOTIVATIONAL mum Dawn Nisbet joined Manchester Metropolitan University’s jogging club for a training run ahead of the Simplyhealth Greater Manchester Run.
The mother-of-two – who hit the headlines after a photo showing her delight at finishing a Park Run in last place went viral – is one of more than 400 competitiors who will make up the orange-clad Team #McrMetProud at the event in two months’ time.
Students and staff pounded the streets with Dawn around Hulme, Castlefield and the city centre on Thursday evening before finishing in All Saints Park.
It was part of their preparation for the sponsored 10K around the streets of Manchester on May 28.
Dawn said: “I’m really looking forward to it but if you had told me that a year ago I would have said you’re crazy!
“It’s going towards the 1,000km total I want to complete this year and it’s for a really good cause.”
Dawn’s road to better fitness and unexpected fame began when she entered a Pretty Muddy assault course race last year in aid of Cancer Research because her stepmother had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
She said: “As a mum and a full-time worker, I was proud of my children and I was good at my job but I wasn’t proud of myself for anything. I knew if I did something challenging it would show my support for her.
“I hadn’t done any exercise for 18 years and I was overweight.
“I hated the idea of running because it was hard and you got sweaty and I thought people would laugh.”
But emboldened by her success Dawn started to attend the weekly Oldham Park Run and it was in October last year when she was snapped ecstastically crossing the finishing line as the last red-faced runner home – an image that resonated with families up and down the country.
She said: “It was a real picture of a real person, not someone fit and beautiful out of a glossy running advert.
“I’m always last or way towards the back.
“It’s not about athletics though but having fun. It’s about being a bit brave to try something different.
“My advice is to break it up into sections – ‘run to the next lamppost’ – and I say it out loud.
“The first kilometres are the worst because I’ve got the voice of 18 years of my life saying: ‘You can stop. It’s OK to stop.’
“Once I’m past that stage it gets easier.
“I say: Be brave and don’t worry what other people think.
“I now love running. If you’ve had a bad day at work or are struggling with your teenage children it gives you some time alone.”
Dawn was inspired to join Manchester Metropolitan University’s team in particular by Vice-Chancellor Malcolm Press’ First Generation campaign to raise a £1million for a fund to help talented young people become the first in their family to attend higher education.
She said: “I feel it’s really important. I live in Oldham, which is a hugely multicultural place, and I sit on my daughter’s school’s council.
“Working with a charity that makes university more accessible is, I think, brilliant.”
To find out more and to sign up visit: http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/great-manchester-run/