There's no stopping Joanna ...

October 31 2019

Joanna Yeo is back in Spartan action after back surgery.

Joanna Yeo is back in Spartan action after back surgery

A FITNESS fanatic who thought she'd never run again has come second in a tough endurance race just six months after undergoing major back surgery.

Joanna Yeo, 38, from Kingswood, was devastated when a prolapsed disc meant she could hardly move, let alone run.

The condition caused nerve damage to her left leg and foot, leaving Jo in excruciating pain and having to take five months off work.

“I couldn’t lift my foot or wiggle my toes and once the painkillers had kicked in, I also discovered I couldn’t feel most of my left leg or foot,” Jo said.

Jo, who previously trained up to six times a week, ended up having to wait two months for an MRI scan. Then, in December 2018, she received a call from her neurosurgeon telling her that she had to come in for emergency surgery. 

“Prior to the surgery I was on strong pain killers, which turned me into a zombie for a while, I was off work for five months. I had to be careful walking as I couldn’t lift my foot properly, nor could I feel where I would put it when I walked, which led me to falling down the stairs multiple times.

“The recovery was very frustrating as I love to keep active. After doing research online, as soon as the wound healed, I started swimming again and practised mobilisation exercises. On my physio’s advice I started running after 16 weeks and slowly built it up.”

Jo then heard about the Spartan Race, an endurance weekend taking place at Marston Lodge in Leicestershire, and decided to go for it. She believed it would be a good test of her recovery and signed up to the Spartan Sprint, a 5km race with 20 obstacles.

She came second in her age group. Now Jo aims to take part in next year's Spartan European championships in Austria.

Jo said: “I was undecided about participating but I thought I’ll never know until I try.I was so happy that I was still able to do what I love, and I felt even stronger than before the surgery.”

For more information about Spartan Races please visit