Member Profile – Charlotte Proud

cpI started running around 2 to 3 years ago and was a complete beginner, (Although I had previously completed the Junior Great North Run in 2004 and 2007). I gradually went from being able to run down the street until I could run a mile and then built it up from there. Running has always been in my family which I guess has helped, as my older brother has completed many races including the London Marathon and the Madrid Marathon.
Not many people know, (as I guess you can’t really tell!) but I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta also known as Brittle Bone Disease. This is a rare genetic condition that basically means that I am prone to fractures more easily than others. People often ask me, can I not just drink more milk, if only it was as easy as this! I think it is estimated to affect around 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 50,000 people. The only way that you can tell, is that the whites (sclerae) of my eyes are a pale blue/grey rather than white.
Although I have the mild form, I have had around 40-50 fractures although no one knows the exact number, as I have a high pain threshold from being used to having fractures. I started running after having to accept that Football wasn’t really the sport for me, after someone slide tackled me (badly!) when I was 14 and I ended up with a dislocated ankle and a crushed fibula and tibia.
I have always been a sporty person and with my interest in running increasing, a friend suggested that I join Saltwell Harriers although I wasn’t really sure at all that I was good enough to join a club. I remember feeling really nervous, although I already knew Keith and Fred. My first session that I went along to was the bleep test at Gateshead Leisure Centre, I really enjoyed it, and I’ve been a member of the club ever since.
Club sessions are great, as everyone is really friendly and it keeps you motivated especially on cold, dark nights. I like the variety of club sessions such as hill training, tempo runs, speeds sessions as well as club races. Saltwell has definitely been the right club for me to join, as everyone always looks out and supports each other. I tried cross country for the first time in 2013 and bought my very first set of spikes. I have found that it is something that I really enjoy the challenge of and the atmosphere/support is always great.
Running has massively helped with my condition in terms of bone density and building up strength, so far I’ve only tripped over once whilst out running and fractured a small bone in my hand, although I still ran all the way back home and to just be on the safe side I completely avoid running in the snow/icy conditions.
Running with Saltwell has given me a great boost in confidence in what I can do and achieve (For example, I am 23 and have already completed 3 half marathons with 2 more planned in 2015). I am excited as to what this year will bring in terms of training and completing different events. Recently at the weekend I completed the Haweswater Half Marathon in 2hrs 18 mins which is a new personal best (knocking 6 minutes off my previous HM time and around 26 minutes in total since my first HM in 2012). I have entered many races this year including the North Tyneside 10k, Leeds Half Marathon, Blaydon Race, Bridges of the Tyne 5 mile Race and the Great North Run and hope to improve even further.