10K tale: Sumaira Naseem

SumairaResearch student Sumaira is visually impaired and will be taking part in the 10K with a guide next month:

“I found out about the jogging club in Manchester Met through Twitter. I went along and someone asked me if I was going to do the 10k. That was unusual because people often make assumptions about what I can do, and it went against that. I really wanted to do it, but I’ve recently had surgery and it was my sister in law who gave me a nudge to sign up.

I’m slowly getting more active. I do yoga and pilates and I love the strength conditioning in the gym. I don’t really run, but I associate it with freedom and being pain free. I have vivid dreams about running but I have to be guided. I used to have think that I couldn’t do things, but a lot of it’s psychological. Over this past year I’ve told myself, have a go, if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. Now I think, just do it!

There are challenges with being visually impaired. I’ve found someone who helps train professional guides and I’m doing my first parkrun this week in Stretford Park. It’s an interesting way to wake me up at the weekend! Sometimes when I’m trying to do things, I do freak out a bit and part of me thinks, why are you trying? But it’s because I want to. Being active is such a complete contrast to being sat still all day reading or writing. It’s all part of a positive cycle, when you exercise, you release endorphins which help you eat, sleep and live better.

I experience a certain pain and exercise really helps with it. It’s a really big deal for me to be able to do the 10K as last year the pain was so bad, I’d just be sat still all day. This is now part of my journey of reclaiming my wellness. People sometimes label you and don’t encourage positivity. It’s all attitudinal. Being active again is my way of getting myself back. I’m looking forward to being part of the Manchester Run. It will be very exciting.”

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If you’re feeling inspired and want to run, jog or walk the 10k with hundreds of Manchester Metropolitan staff and students as part of #McrMetProud team visit www.mmu.ac.uk/mcrmetrun for more information