AN overweight Scot - who took up fitness and exercise after a life-threatening health scare - has taken part in a charity 10k run.
After being diagnosed with a lung disease, which left her breathless and with a chronic cough, Dr Jackie Wiggins decided to lose some weight and took up running.
The best part is I have no disease progression and hopefully my life will have a few more years tacked on.Dr Jackie Wiggins
The consultant psychiatrist became hooked on her new hobby and was able to take part in the Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running this autumn.
The 40-year-old mum-of-two, from Broomhill in Glasgow, had a few bouts of pneumonia and was diagnosed with bronchiectasis. She said the condition could have severely damaged her health if she hadn’t taken action.
“I got quite miserable and stressed, and my health worried me so I decided to lose some weight and try exercise,” Dr Wiggins said.
“Since I have become a regular runner my cough has gone and I have had no infections.
“I’m still tired and the antibiotics bring their own issues, but there’s no doubt that outside running has rescued by chest and, fingers crossed, extended what could have been a foreshortened lifespan.
“Having never run or spent any time exercising before it has been a struggle at times to motivate myself but with a bit of support from friends and the local running club I’m still at it.
“The best part is I have no disease progression and hopefully my life will have a few more years tacked on. I do wonder how many humble people like me have benefited from running.”
The timing of the race, and the chance to finally visit Loch Ness, really appealed to Jackie, who hails from the North-east of England but has lived in Scotland for 16 years.
”I really fancied the idea of an end of the season race to aim for, and also some lovely scenery to look at. It’s a scandal that I’ve never been to Loch Ness, so running will broaden my horizons.
“It is ridiculous that I’ve been all over the world and seen many things but treading the tarmac now makes me look at what’s closer to home. I see the trees, smell the blossom, jump the puddles and listen. You see and hear so many things when you’re out running; it’s a different world.”
Juggling the pressures of work and the demands of a family, the mum of two young children experienced few hiccups along the way.
In one 10K, she ended up attending to a fellow runner who collapsed at the 6K stage; in another she got such bad cramp in the cold and sleet weather that she was forced to slow down - and developed mild hypothermia as a result.
The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running comprises the marathon, River Ness 10K, 10k Corporate Challenge and River Ness 5K as well the Wee Nessie fun run for pre-school children.
Find out more about the day at www.lochnessmarathon.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/lochnessmarathon and on Twitter @nessmarathon