Derry grandmother takes on half marathon to beat depression

Phyllis Moran says she feels like a new woman

Derry grandmother takes on half marathon to beat depression

Phyllis Moran | Image: Derry City and Strabane District Council

Less than a year after taking part in a fitness programme, a 65-year-old mother-of-eight has registered for a half marathon in Co Derry.

Phyllis Moran signed up for the 'Couch to 5k' programme from Derry City and Strabane District Council, and will now run the Waterside Half Marathon on Sunday, September 4th.

Moran says she feels like a new woman since taking up running, and has found that her new exercise and training regime is helping her battle with depression.

She revealed it was local man Danny 'The Running Man' Sheerin - who ran the city's very first marathon 35 years ago - who spurred her into action.

She says she would never have thought of running, until she heard Sheerin speak at a showcase.

"His story just inspired me because I thought, there he is and he's still running. I was always afraid to give it a go as I was not a sporty person, and then my son Anthony, who was in the Rise running club, told me about the 'Couch to 5k'," Moran says.

"I knew that I needed something; I suffer with depression and it does clear your head, I find the running just amazing."

"I thought, I'm a bit old for this and felt a wee bit out of it. But I thought I'd give it a go, at that stage nobody knew what age I was, just that I was older, although you never really feel your age."

"I said to the coaches, 'do you think I am too old?' They said, not at all, you just go at your own speed."

'I'm doing it for them'

"I did the 7k Ballyliffin Challenge earlier this year and a 10k from Muff to Redcastle for Children in Crossfire, but I never, ever thought I would sign up for the Waterside Half Marathon. I am really looking forward to it."

Moran says she also has the full blessing of her husband Georgie, and is now firmly focused on building up to the half marathon.

"I have never felt healthier. I used to smoke for about 40 years and I'm off them now five years."

"I've never felt better, I just go at my own speed. As long as there is somebody running at the same pace as me I'll be happy, because I have no sense of direction," she joked.

She will also be running the 13.1 mile route for Cancer Research UK - in memory of her sister Maureen, who died from cancer aged 51, and her brother-in-law Neil McCarron, who lost his battle with cancer last year.

"I am doing it for them. If I make any money it is going to Cancer Research UK. There are a lot of charities but you just have to pick one and everybody has somebody related to them who has died from cancer, it's a great charity."

Moran, who has eight sons and four grandchildren, says they are all 100% behind her.