Vanessa Lucas

Runners crossing the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle

Meet Vanessa - a member of our Great North Run Team 2021

What does Sight Support HEY mean to you and why did you decide to run for us?

When staff from Sight Support came into Smith & Nephew for the volunteer event to advise employees how they can help the charity, I was really struck by how devastating it must be to lose ones sight either partially or totally. The support that the charity offers to people in these circumstances really serves to improve the quality of their lives and I wanted to do something to help raise funds.

My mum, who sadly passed away this year, suffered a deterioration in her sight in her later years due to an underlying health condition, she loved to read and write and both became really difficult for her. I enjoyed reading aloud to her and my sister helped her to write letters and stories. Not everyone has family to help them which makes the support offered by this charity so important. Running on behalf of the charity was an easy decision, I get to maintain my fitness and raise money at the same time so we all win!

Do you run regularly or is this a new challenge for you?

I started running when I was 47, so 8 years ago. I wanted to get fit but struggled to find an activity I enjoyed. I tried the gym and fitness classes but I am more of a “lone wolf” and much preferred to be outside and by myself. I built up my distance gradually and ran my first half marathon when I was 50. For me, it’s never too late to achieve your life goals! When I am training for an event I have a planner and I follow it daily, I enjoy crossing each session off on the chart and seeing how I have progressed. When I am not in training I still run 4-5 times a week, and make one of them a slightly longer run. In 2019 I had a goal of running 1000 miles over the course of the year and I finished at 1007!

Do you have a favourite running playlist?

I love music and have many playlists ranging from 70's disco to some great rock tunes. Recently I have had an ear infection and have not been running with music. I have been enjoying listening to the birdsong and just enjoying my surroundings for now.

Do you have any training tips for anyone else running the Great North Run?

Have a plan and stick to it, make sure you combine some strength work in with the running and above all enjoy it.

How are you keeping motivated?

Having the visibility of my progress on the chart works well, I am also motivated by the people who have donated to my fundraising – their belief in me is very powerful.

I am really looking forward to completing this iconic event, it will be my first post-COVID race and I expect that it will be a fantastic atmosphere. I am very thankful to everyone that donates to this great cause.

You can support Vanessa here:

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