One woman is planning to run the virtual London Marathon to celebrate after recovering from an operation that removed her entire colon and lower bowel.
Fiona Diamond, from Fareham, Hampshire, plans to run 26.2 miles around Warsash and Gosport to raise awareness of Crohn’s disease and colitis, after having surgery that gave her a “new lease of life”.
She told the PA news agency: “I really do want to try and show and give hope to people who might be thinking their life is a bit rubbish, and it’s too hard. Put your mind to it, change your attitude, think positive and you can achieve a lot more than you think you can.”
She had planned to run the London Marathon in April before it was cancelled due to the lockdown. The challenge has now been made a virtual one, with runners encouraged to complete the marathon length in their home towns.
When she was 55, Ms Diamond underwent major surgery to remove the lower part of her bowel after suffering from Crohn’s for most of her life. After an ileostomy, she now she just has her small intestine left, which pokes out through her abdomen.
“I am very positive that I am going to be fine,” she said.
“For a lot of people, they are facing the prospect of not getting better. It is debilitating. It does stop you from getting out and being who you want to be.
“It’s really important that we try and help the scientists to find a cause, to find a cure and try and make sure that younger people can get on and live their lives a bit better.”
Inspired by her youngest daughter Becky, who ran a marathon in April 2019, and the rest of her family, who have all completed difficult endurance challenges, she decided to enter the 40th London Marathon.
She had almost completed her 16-week training block when the Virgin Money London Marathon was cancelled, and had to decide whether to carry on training, not knowing if there would be a race for her to run, as well as training through the heat of the summer.
Ms Diamond has now run 1,000 miles, including 62.2km (38.6 miles), divided into six runs spelling out “Sixty” the week of her birthday.
She said: “I kept myself reasonably fit. I was doing about 15-20 miles a week and we started the 16-week training block again, not knowing if we were going to be doing the marathon or not.
“It wasn’t until the end of July, halfway through that training plan, that we found out they were running it but as a virtual thing.”
Now she plans to complete the run alongside six other runners from Holly Hill Runners — with three raising money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
Without their support, she “would not have been out of the starting blocks”, Ms Diamond said.
She said the training process has made her realise she is “more determined” than she had thought, adding: “I have been quite driven to achieve this and complete that. I have proved to myself that I am reasonably determined to finish what I started.
“I have learned a lot about myself. You get a lot of time to think on these long runs.”
Ms Diamond is aiming to raise £3,000 and donations can be made online at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=team160&isTeam=true