A super-fit Lichfield mum will represent the UK in the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in Canada today.
Three years ago Katie Joyce had never even run 10k – but now she’s clocked thousands of miles and become one of the UK’s top female obstacle course runners.
The 35-year-old mum of two qualified for the championships earlier this year after challenging herself to 12 endurance events in 12 months to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
The events – which totalled over 170 miles and included the London Marathon – were completed in memory of three family friends who passed away within 12 months of each other.
It was while training for the gruelling challenges that Katie was spotted by a UK obstacle course team and encouraged to enter qualifications for the World Championships.
Katie, who raised nearly £2,300 for Cancer Research UK, said: “I can’t quite believe I’m going to represent my country in a race. I never dreamed I’d ever run a marathon, let alone compete in a world championship. It all feels unreal.
“I’d like to thank all the people who’ve helped me get this far, especially the team at PS2 gym.”
Katie’s husband Andy and their two daughters Libbie, 9, and Jess, 5, will be cheering her on from the sofa at home in Fradley with regular telephone updates.
“It will be really hard leaving them behind but I couldn’t pass up the chance to compete for the UK in a sport that’s really up and coming,” added Katie, who is being sponsored by local security firm Jellybean Technology and Manuka Sport.
Dan Berry, owner of PS2 gym near Fradley, said: “Katie is a real grafter who never gives up. She’s like a machine. We’ve even nicknamed her The Duracell Bunny because she doesn’t stop! We couldn’t be more proud of her for taking on such a set of tough challenges and winning a place at the OCR World Championships.”
Twelve months ago Katie paid tribute to the three ladies who inspired her to run when she launched her year of running in their memory.
Katie’s friend Claire Olden died in January 2013 – just months after giving birth to her baby boy Corey. Just four months later, another of Katie’s friends Katie Scarborough passed away, aged 32, after battling bowel cancer. Then, in August that year, one of her daughter’s school friends Violet Mornington died of a rare blood disorder called HLH, aged five.
“That year was absolutely heartbreaking so I wanted to do something really significant in their memory,” said Katie. “The courage they each showed has inspired me to keep going this year even when it’s been really tough.”