Ann Harman had never done any running before. But the inspirational 71-year-old from Llandrindod Wells in mid Wales ran the London Marathon for us last Sunday.
Not just ran it but smashed it! Our oldest participant came home in a time of 6 hours and 3 minutes to be the 31st fastest runner in her age group.
“The atmosphere was amazing” Ann said. “It is a really fantastic thing to do. I can’t believe how many people offered me jelly babies on the way round – someone even offered me some bread pudding!”
Ann’s efforts have raised over £2,000 to support our ongoing work saving lives and rebuilding futures through research, awareness and support, and we’re really grateful to her and our other 100 runners. Their efforts will make such a huge difference to rebuilding futures torn apart by meningitis.
Ann herself contracted meningococcal meningitis while celebrating Hogmanay in Glasgow in January 2009. An ambulance took her to Glasgow Royal Infirmary when she saw red patches appearing on her body, on top of flu and sickness symptoms.
“I had a seizure and stopped breathing” Ann said “and the crash team whisked me away.” After tests and a lumbar puncture Ann was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis. Doctors later told her that they had never had a 65-year-old woman with meningitis before.
“Apparently during my semi-conscious state when I arrived I had told them I thought I might have meningitis,” Ann said. “They told me I had helped to save my own life.”
Ann was in hospital for two-and-a-half weeks and had to postpone her plans to walk from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, as she worked hard to get her fitness back. She finally achieved this ambition in 2011.
And so onto the next challenge – running the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon, now successfully achieved.
“I’d really like to thank all the individuals and organisations who supported my fundraising,” Ann added, “particularly the Royal British Legion, Llandrindod Lions Club, U3A and Holy Trinity. Their support made me determined to finish, even if I had to crawl to the finish line!”
Next year is our 30th anniversary and if Ann’s exploits have inspired you to join our London Marathon 2016 team we’d love to have you.