CONTRA
News - 3rd August 2022

I never believed I could

A close up image of Lois smiling, wearing a purple top and glasses. She is holding a red balloon and there are parkrunners in the background.

Trigger warning: content which discusses ectopic pregnancy

 

There’s no need to do the 5k at parkrun. Lois Rowland was a parkrun volunteer for more than ten years before eventually deciding to have a go at the 5k, following an ectopic pregnancy.

 

Having now completed 50 parkruns, she tells us her story.

 

My husband is a keen parkrunner and has been taking part in our local event each week for 10 years. I didn’t consider myself a runner, I’d have rather missed the bus than run for it, but, I really enjoyed being a parkrun volunteer.

 

I decided to try the 5k in 2019, after sadly experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. This is where a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. It affects around one in 80 pregnancies and sadly the baby can never be saved. Left untreated it can be life threatening.

 

Thankfully, I received the treatment needed and wanted to thank the charity that had supported me during my experience. So, I signed up to one of the trust’s challenges, which involved running 1000k over 12 months.

 

It felt far more manageable to me than doing a single event and on New Year’s day 2019, I went for my very first jog, and whilst it may have been short it was a big step for me.

 

I gradually built up my fitness and the distance I could run without needing a walk or rest and three months later I felt brave enough to try on my very first 5k parkrun. I absolutely loved it.

 

The parkrun community welcomed me with open arms and encouraged me to go back, so I did!

 

By the end of my 12 month challenge I had achieved the 1000k target and wasn’t ready to hang up my trainers. New Year’s day 2020 saw me straight back out for the first parkrun of the year and I continued running both solo and with my family over lockdown – although, I was pleased when parkrun was allowed to return because I’d started to lose my running mojo, so it reignited my motivation to get back out there again.

 

parkrun has become a firm weekly fixture for me, my husband James, and our two children – who were delighted to help me celebrate my 50th parkrun earlier this year. Having never believed I could ever complete 5k, reaching my 50th parkrun felt like a huge achievement.

 

Getting out there and walking, jogging or running amongst so many lovely people and sharing my story with them has sparked a number of conversations about ectopic pregnancies on the way round. I feel like I’m doing my bit to raise awareness of the condition and parkrun has enabled me to do that.

 

Ectopic pregnancy can be a life-threatening condition for a woman if not diagnosed and treated quickly. It is important that women of child-bearing age who are sexually active or having fertility treatment like IVF are aware of the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy and, if they experience any symptoms then should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

 

The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust provides general information and support to anyone affected by an ectopic pregnancy. Their website has information on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, physical and emotional healing and, if and when needed, trying to conceive again.

 

Lois Rowland

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