Hannah Pavelkova

“Throughout my life I have constantly battled with my weight. I was a heavy teenager and never felt comfortable to take part in sports or physical activities. Getting older, I fluctuated due to dieting but my fitness was never a priority, only what I looked like and a number on the scale.

Just under two years ago me and my partner started planning a trip to South East Asia. We spoke about the treks and mountains we could climb, and beaches we could swim in. My heart sunk. I realised, not only was I not comfortable enough to be in a swimming suit, but I genuinely don’t think I would of made it up a small hill, let alone days trekking on hard terrain.  I wanted to see the world, but only if I could see it without my fitness limiting me. This was the start of a massive lifestyle change.

One day I attempted my first run. I managed all of 5 minutes and couldn’t go further. I felt defeated. But that defeated feeling spurred me to keep going. I started running once a week, then twice, then four times, until I was running almost everyday. I truly found a hobby that not only helped my fitness, but also allowed me to switch off from the outside world and focus positively on my body.

Shortly after I managed my first 5km I was hit off my bike and suffered torn ligaments in my knee…a major set back. But I knew I couldn’t let it stop how far I had come. After a 3 months recovery and physio, I was back on the road but had dropped managing only 2km and in very slow time. Instead of feeling defeated again I set myself a goal. A half marathon.

I started a strict diet and running plan, mixing in the gym as well. In September 2019, just six months later, I ran my first ever race, The Richmond Half Marathon in a time of 1hr 58mins, raising £700 for Macmillan Cancer Trust. I can honestly say I have never been so proud of myself.

At the moment I am currently in South East Asia, weighing approx 65kg (almost 30kg lost in total) and today completed a jungle trek of 10km, one of many I have done on the trip so far. Although I am so much happier in the way I look, I can genuinely say that I am most happy about being much healthier and knowing that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.“

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