Bad trip inspires successful weight loss

Mandy Norris before and after taking up running, which helped her to lose eight stone.
Mandy Norris before and after taking up running, which helped her to lose eight stone.

A woman whose dream holiday was ruined because of her weight can now fit into one of her old trouser legs.

Mandy Norris, who is originally from Morpeth, took up running following the trip to Morocco and she has lost a huge eight stone.

The 46-year-old tackled the Great North Run two years ago and this year she will run the Great North 5k, the day before the world’s biggest half-marathon, alongside her daughter Kara and friend Nicola in a bid to encourage them to take up running.

A few years ago, she often gorged on takeaways and junk food and became so uncomfortable that by the time she went on a romantic summer holiday in Marrakesh, she was so unfit that she was forced to miss out on an excursion to the Atlas Mountains.

Mandy, who now lives in County Durham, said: “All my life I had dreamed of visiting Morocco, but from the moment we landed I did nothing but moan.

“It was so hot, some days it hit 50 degrees, and I was so embarrassed by my size that I covered myself up with long maxi dresses when I longed to wear little shorts and dresses.

“One day we all went up to the Atlas Mountains, but I had to stay behind by myself and wait for them in a café as I was too unfit and big to go and climb and walk with them all.

“I vowed I would return one day, slimmer. I did return two years later, still losing weight as a size 14 and much happier.

“I loved it so much that I returned this year and finally had the confidence to put on a pair of shorts and a running vest.”

A major factor in her weight loss was taking up running with the help of her husband, Tony.

She also eats healthier food such as soup, fruit and vegetables, but still enjoys treats as she can burn them off with a run.

Mandy added: “Kara and Nicola are non-runners and don’t have the confidence to run it alone, so I said I would come along with them.

“They will be walking some of it but that doesn’t matter, I’m just so proud they are having a go.”

The Great North 5k will take place on Saturday, September 10 – runners start on the Newcastle side of the River Tyne and follow a scenic route over two of the Quayside’s seven bridges. Visit greatrun.org/North5k to enter.