Nothing was going to stop Angela Hamilton from completing her remarkable journey – from fighting for her life in hospital to running the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run.
The 49-year-old, who lives in Newton Mearns, thought she would never run again after being struck down last year with the rare blood disease, Churg Strauss Syndrome.
She was in hospital for three months and had multiple emergency operations, before beginning the road to recovery earlier this year as she vowed to pound the streets of Glasgow once again.
And despite her auto immune condition – which causes inflammation that can restrict blood flow to vital organs and tissues – resurfacing on the eve of the event, Angela admitted it never crossed her mind that she would not be able to take part after getting the go-ahead from her doctor.
She said: “My condition flared up the week before and when my tests came back my lungs and breathing were affected, but I wasn’t worried I wouldn’t be able to do it – I’m not really a worrier.
“My consultant had to give me some medication, but he’s actually a distance runner himself and he said just do it and hopefully it will go okay – I was fine once I had his blessing.
“It was hard mentally as I’m used to running long distances, so it was hard getting my head around it being a big achievement, but it went much better than I thought it would.
“The atmosphere was really good, particularly at the start and when you get back into town and Glasgow Green, it was really good and there were big crowds cheering us on.”
Angela continued: “I finished in one hour 13 minutes in the end.
“I didn’t have a set time I wanted to do it in as I used to do it in about 50 minutes before I got ill, and I knew I wouldn’t get near that.
“But I think on the day because I had been so ill the week before, I said to myself if I could do it in 1hr 30mins then I would be delighted, so it was faster than I thought I would do.”
While it took time for the scale of her achievement to sink in, Angela said it eventually dawned on her after completing the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run just how far she had come over the past year.
“Considering the problems, I had beforehand I didn’t expect to do quite as well, but I didn’t do badly,” she said.
“I wasn’t nervous beforehand, I just wanted to get out there and get started. I was happy to finish and there was a little teary moment when I crossed the line, but it was great to complete it after everything I’ve been through.
“You kind of forget where you have been, so I had a moment of reflection after the race and that kind of put things into perspective for me. My husband was absolutely delighted.”
Angela completed the Great Scottish Run as part of the Community Challenge, launched by race sponsors Bank of Scotland to help get Scotland active – with the programme in its second year.
The campaign aimed to recruit one runner from each of the 32 local authorities in Scotland to take on a ‘10 week to 10k’ running challenge, with Angela representing East Renfrewshire.
As part the ‘10 week to 10k’ challenge, she received a personalised training programme by an expert coach in the weeks leading up to the run, which took place on September 30.
And while there were times during the race when Angela cursed donning her trainers again, she revealed she has already decided to take it on again as long as her condition allows her.
“I definitely want to do it again,” she said. “When I was about halfway round I was thinking, ‘This is rubbish, I hate it’, and then by the end you are applying for the half next year.
“I would like to do another few 10k races, but I’ll just have to see how my health is. I’m back in the gym though and that doesn’t affect my breathing as much.
“Even though I couldn’t fully commit to the ‘10k week to 10k’ because of my illness, I would definitely recommend it to someone as it was a really good programme and very helpful.”
Bank of Scotland is celebrating its 10th year as partner of the Great Scottish Run.
For more information, visit Great Scottish Run