Axial SpA (AS) is a form of inflammatory arthritis that most commonly affects the spine, but is a complex condition affecting different people in different ways, often with other related issues.
There is currently no cure for AS, and one in 200 of the adult population in the UK have the condition. To mark World AS Day, parkrunner Janet Chapman tells us what it’s like being a parkrunner with AS…
I was diagnosed with AS early in 2017. My symptoms had started while I was training for a half marathon. I was a parkrunner before I was diagnosed with AS having completed over 100 parkruns. Before AS arrived parkrun was a great motivation to get the next PB!
In the early days of my diagnosis, and before I started treatment, my symptoms were quite severe. Some days I had to get my husband to put on my running socks before parkrun and I often had to walk upstairs on my hands and knees as I was in so much pain.
Yet however stiff I felt in the morning, I kept going to parkrun because it was just what we did every Saturday morning at 9:00am. When I was in a lot of pain I would walk the course with the Tail Walker.
But the beauty of parkrun is it really didn’t matter – I was still outdoors, getting exercise, supporting fellow parkrunners, being supported by them too, and part of my local community. I have never regretted going to parkrun!
Whilst I have always loved parkrun, since my diagnosis of AS it has become to mean so much more than ‘just a run in the park.’ The beauty of parkrun centres around the fact that it doesn’t matter what your sex, culture, ability or age is, we are one big family that enjoys exercising outdoors.
The support you get from your fellow parkrunners is empowering as is the support you can give to them. I have now completed over 200 parkruns. Running is not easy with AS but it certainly helps doing it in such a supportive environment as parkrun.
So whether you can walk, jog or run, please come along to your local parkrun on World AS Day on Saturday 4 May and witness the power of parkrun for yourself.
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