They turned their lives around in our Fit Factor programme - now they are taking on another major challenge.
Kerry Robertson and Kate Pickard were among the participants who lost weight and learnt to lead healthy lifestyles through the 12-week Fit Factor fitness regime.
With the help of trainer David Fairlamb, both women lost more than three stone each.
Now they will take on the Great North Run on Sunday - their biggest challenge till date - as part of our Great North Fitness Revolution.
Kerry, 36, a training co-ordinator, of Shiremoor, said: “I lost 3st 2lbs during Fit Factor, dropping from 17st 9lbs to 14st 7lbs. But since then I have lost another stone and a half. The programme was very good for me and I have continued to follow what I was taught.
“I have stayed focussed and carried on eating healthily, exercising and running.
“Now I’ll be doing the Great North Run. I’ve been training hard for it. I go out running two to three times a week and have been building up my pace and distance.
“I’m a bit apprehensive and nervous because I have never run this distance before. You’re never sure what to expect.
“But I’m sure I will be fine once I get going. People say the atmosphere is amazing. The spirit of human nature is there, it brings people together. I’m hoping that will carry me through the final few miles.”
Her family, including husband Kirk, 38, and two-year-old son Max, will be supporting her and awaiting her at the finish line. She will be raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
She added: “The Great North Fitness Revolution is great because it is encouraging people to lead healthier lives.
“Being a mum, this is important for me. I do not want to pass on bad habits to my boy and want to set a good example. If you want to have a happy life, it is important to stay healthy and look after your body.
“I want to have a healthy active family, carrying out outdoor activities, kicking a football around or going out on a scooter rather than sitting on the settee watching TV, which is what I was doing before Fit Factor. I would come home from work, sit in front of the box, eat and go to bed.
“That was my life before. Now everything is different.”
Kate, 25, a dental nurse, of Chester-le-Street, weighed 15st when she joined Fit Factor. After the programme, she reached 11st 12lb and is continuing to lose more weight.
She said: “The fitness programme has totally changed me. It’s now normal for me to eat healthily and I have managed to keep away from everything I shouldn’t be eating.
“I have dropped down from a size
20/22 to 12/14. This goes to show that it can be done and there are no excuses.
“I am now doing everything I can to prepare for the Great North Run. I have been going to the gym, I joined a running club in Chester-le-Street and I also go out running on my own.
“I am so excited for Sunday. This is the longest distance I have ever run. I have also dragged my partner into doing the run with me. He has also been following a healthy lifestyle like me and that has made it easier, it is something we are doing together.”
Kate will be raising money for Durham-based children’s charity Heel and Toe.
Also taking on the half-marathon is Sarah Green, 39, of Jesmond, Newcastle, a business network director.
She lost almost four stone during Fit Factor, going from 16st 7lb to 12st 13lb.
Fit Factor trainer David Fairlamb said: “They have all done really well. Before the programme, they would not have thought about running a mile, never mind the Great North Run. To see them coming along in this way is very satisfying. This is a massive goal for them and I’m confident they will all do well on Sunday.
“This proves that you can change your life very quickly if you put your mind to it and have the right tools.
“It’s all about making small changes and continuing with those changes.”
Two years ago, The Journal joined forces with Nova International to launch our Great North Fitness Revolution.
The campaign is challenging everyone to make a pledge to get active and make the positive changes that will lead to a better life.
From training for the Great North Run to something as simple as increasing the number of steps you walk each day – everyone can get involved.
The initiative received the backing of a host of famous faces, including TV presenter Ben Shephard, Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries, athlete Steve Cram and former Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn.