Claire’s Year of Hell for the Hospice

St Mary’s Hospice have some truly amazing supporters – but Claire Noble from Barrow is prepared to go to put herself though (some peoples’ idea of) hell in order to raise money for a cause close to her heart. In her own words, Claire shares her remarkable story here:

“St Mary’s hospice is an awesome organisation with the support it provides for the community and the help it gives so many families, mine included. And this of my way of saying thank you. I have nick named 2020 as my Year of Hell: I have pledged to do 15 long distance events thought out the year, all from different disciplines of triathlon. I have some really difficult events in front of me and I know I’m going to have to push myself, but I am up for the challenge and excited for the year to come.

I’ve always been overweight, ever since I was a kid. I love food and that was my problem, I wouldn’t think twice about what I was eating or if it was good or bad for me. I was bullied right the way through school and I haven’t got a lot of fond memories of it: I couldn’t wait to leave. I’d been on most diets, sometimes lost the weight but then I’d get complacent and pile it all back on and then some.

A few years ago I went on my mate’s stag do, it was a week away in Puerto Rico and I was looking forward to the time away, to have a laugh and obviously having a few drinks with ‘the lads’. There were 6 of us in total, all good mates who always had a great time together no matter what we were doing.
The first day of the holiday I realised as I was sitting around the pool in nothing but a swimming costume, it made me feel sick. I wore a t-shirt so no one could see my body and I hid away the entire time I was there. As much as it was a great holiday, through my own self-consciousness I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have done. On the last day we all stood on a balcony and had our photo taken. Looking at the photo, I took up most of it and that’s when I realised I needed to do something and pretty quickly.

When I got back to the UK I looked into diets and which would the best. With my love food it had to be Slimming World, as you can still eat normal food. I looked online to choose the meetings where I had little chance of anyone knowing me, as I felt ashamed that I’d let myself get so bad. I decided to attend a group in Hawcoat with Sue Park. I went on my own as I didn’t want anyone else to know I was going. I was nervous and apprehensive but I knew I had to do something. I listened to Sue and as she explained everything I sat and thought ‘I can totally do this, I can pretty much eat however much I want as long as it’s within the plan.’

The moment had come to step on the scale and my heart totally sank at the weight that I was, I was over 18 stones. I was gutted I’d let myself get so overweight. Over the months I followed the plan and my weight started to come down, people started to notice and I was starting to feel good. Some weeks it wasn’t easy to stick to the plan, with weddings, Christmas and social events and as I work a shift pattern of days and nights it was difficult figuring out times to eat and what to eat. Two years later I’ve lost 7 stone, it’s not been easy but I’ve got there.

Since losing the weight I’ve taken up sport: I swim, cycle, run and I’ve also taken up triathlon. I’m not fast by any stretch of the imagination but I’ve given these sports a go and I enjoy them. I do some sort of training each day, I have a personal trainer at the gym and I also have sports therapist, both of whom have been a great support. My family have also been massively supportive and I have a few close friends that have there to cheer me on and support me since my weight loss and sport journey started.
I hope I can inspire other people – to get in shape, to make the best of themselves and to go beyond their comfort zones for something they feel passionate about too. And it would be great to raise as much money as possible for St Mary’s so that they can carry on doing the brilliant work they do.”

We will be sharing Claire’s adventures throughout 2020!