It is no secret that Julie Williams draws inspiration from her medals, each one is a constant reminder and proof that it is never too late to embark on a journey of wellness.
Perhaps one of the best gifts you can give to yourself is being the best version of you.
Julie shares her life-changing journey with us.
“ I have always wanted to be able to run but seven years ago and at ten stone overweight walking at times was often challenging enough, I constantly felt tired and was in a vicious circle of over eating and doing no exercise what so ever with my confidence at an all-time low.
I had a couple of weight related health scares and I didn’t want to be the mum at the school sports day who was too embarrassed to take part, more importantly I wanted a good quality of life to be able to do things with my son and not feel exhausted.
I wanted my life and control over my life back, so set about losing weight and getting fit.
I enjoy fundraising and set myself the challenge of doing the Cardiff Half Marathon in 2013, it didn’t quite go to plan and quickly realised how ill prepared I was. I walked the majority of the course and finished in 4hrs 20 minutes and literally collapsed at the finish line with severe cramp but I did it.
Once that medal was around my neck I developed a passion for shiny medals and that was the start of what has been a life-changing journey for me.
Following this I did numerous 5ks, 10ks and Half Marathons but again walked more than ran. I didn’t believe in myself enough that I could do it and was capable of running. I was losing weight but mentally there were still so many barriers for me.
In 2018 I joined a local gym, and set myself the challenge of raising money for Charity and actually attempting to run the Newport 10k without stopping. By being consistent and determined and with the support of the Gym Owner Lee who did not leave my side and kept encouraging me I did achieve my goal and finished in under 1hr 25 minutes, this was a remarkable achievement for me and the longest distance I have ever run in my life.
In 2016 I took part in the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, my claim to fame being that I ran in a race with Mo Farrah, he might have beaten me but I am owning it!!!!
With the help of healthier eating and running I have lost 10 stone, I still have some more weight to lose, however, running has transformed me and the mental health benefits are huge in helping me cope with anxiety and depression that affects me from time to time.
I now do Parkrun on the Weekends and enter as many 10k and Half Marathon’s that I am able to, I entered the ballot for the 2020 London Marathon and was unsuccessful but will keep trying until I get in so definitely no plans to hang my trainers up anytime soon. And why would I, I need to buy some more medal racks from Medal Displays and start filling those up with more shiny medals.
I find myself looking for the next race to sign up to and this gives me focus to carry on running and try for a PB.
In September this year I was shortlisted for the Welsh Fitness Awards Gym Member of the Year having been nominated by Lee at my Gym Community Fitness in Brynmawr, and although I didn’t win I was thrilled to attend the awards and be recognised for all my hard work.
Now at the age of 46 I can now proudly call myself a Runner and am physically and mentally in the best shape that I have ever been.
Every time I use my front door I can look at my medals and am reminded that Dream, Believe and Achieve is 100% accurate.
Every one of my medals fills me with pride and there are always great memories attached to each race, new friends made and how much my life has changed for the better.
An added bonus is when people tell me how much my running had inspired them to.”
Keep posting photos of your Medal Displays to our Facebook page for your chance to be featured and earn yourself a free Medal Display!
Plus, you never know who you might inspire!
We're super excited about this as we know that behind every collection of medals is an awesome story!