A Great-gran says Liverpool Hope University helped inspire her to run her first full marathon at the age of 74.
Pat Hughes only took part in May's Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon at the last minute when her daughter Andrea persuaded her to do it with her.
The great-gran-of-two had been unable to exercise for a year because of extensive renovation she and her husband Dave undertook when their house got severe dry-rot.
She said she was encouraged by her experience on a four-month training programme she took part in at Liverpool Hope University in 2017, as part of healthy ageing research.
The retired wedding photographer, who occasionally plays crown green bowls, jogged most of the 26-mile route in Liverpool and ran across the finish line holding her daughter’s hand.
She said: “The longest I’d ever run before was a 5km fun-run years ago and we’ve had such a busy year I haven’t been able to go to the gym.
“Before I did it my husband said ‘You’re crazy – you’ll make yourself ill’, but it’s all in the mind.
“Andrea entered me ages ago without telling me. She came over for the weekend from Munich where she lives and said: ‘Mum you can do it – we’ll go at the same pace’.
“It was a lot more uphill than I expected, but we kept ourselves distracted by talking about everything; from our childhoods to the mysteries of the universe.
“Seeing the eyes of my husband, my 10-year-old grandson and my other family light-up at the finish line made it all worthwhile. It was an amazing bonding experience with Andrea too.
“My leg got a bit tight in the last six miles but the next morning I was absolutely fine.
“When I tell people they don’t believe me. It took a few days for it to sink in for me too.”
The West Derby gran ran in the oldest 70-74 age category and completed the race, which finished at the Pier Head, in 5 hours and 24 minutes.
Pat, who is generally active and prefers to walk rather than drive, is also a charity fund-raiser and a long-term organiser of the Miss Liverpool beauty contest.
“I loved sports at school but I’ve never been much of a runner,” she said.
“But the research at Liverpool Hope involved us lifting weights. Kate and Ben who ran it were very encouraging. We would start with 10kg and they kept making us do a bit more and a bit more.
“It helped me push past my limits and see what I was capable of. That made me realise I’ve got it in me to go that extra mile, and I suppose the marathon proved it.”
Hope PhD student Kate Mooney, one of the researchers behind the study into Healthy Ageing and Nutrition said: “It’s so impressive to think she did all that without training for it.
“Pat is so mentally strong – what a woman!”