A back injury which required spinal surgery provided the unlikely prompt to inspire a Cumbrian woman to take up the sport of weightlifting.
Now, less than five years on from what could have been a life-changing operation, Kate Hodge from Ulverston has become a British Weightlifting Champion.
Kate, who works in Supply Chain for BAE Systems in Barrow, began a fitness regime while recovering from an operation on a prolapsed disc which was crushing nerves in her spine. She later learned she was only weeks away from becoming wheelchair bound.
Work to strengthen her core led to an interest in Olympic weightlifting.
Kate said: “My husband opened a gym with friends at the time I was recovering and I began working on my core but I built up my experience and took to the sport; it’s fun!” Husband David, a senior project manager also working at BAE Systems, has just begun competing too. Both returned with gold medals from the British Masters Weightlifting Championships at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Telford.
Kate was crowned the British Weightlifting Champion W35 for the 59kg category while David was successful M40 in the 89kg category. Kate also broke two British records.
Recalling the moment she discovered that she was a British Champion, Kate says: “It was an amazing feeling. I had my family and my weightlifting friends cheering me on. My husband had also won his category just before it was my turn to compete so I was already really excited for him.”
The couple’s ten year old son Alex is also interested in the sport; he and his parents will be spending some time during their holidays training at Triple-X Performance Centre, a specialist gym in Manchester, with the aim of gearing up to compete in the European Masters Weightlifting Championships in Finland this June.