Inspirational Ipswich woman takes on seven marathons in seven days after being moved by four-year-old’s heartbreaking story

The 49-year-old covered almost 200 miles across seven marathons. Picture: NSFT

The 49-year-old covered almost 200 miles across seven marathons. Picture: NSFT - Credit: Archant

An NHS support worker from Ipswich took on a marathon task earlier this month when she set out to run almost 200 miles in just seven days.

Mandy Harley completed a massive seven marathons in seven days. Picture: NSFT

Mandy Harley completed a massive seven marathons in seven days. Picture: NSFT - Credit: Archant

Mandy Harley completed seven marathons in seven days after being inspired by a young boy with mitochondrial disease.

The 49-year-old, who supports patients with dementia at Woodlands mental health unit in Ipswich, decided to take on the marathon task after being moved by the courage of four-year old Charlie Nicholls.

Having already completed more than 100 marathons since 2011, Ms Harley took on the ‘Week at the Knees’ challenge to raise money for The Lily Foundation, which supports families affected by mitochondrial disease.

Ms Harley said: “Charlie is such an inspiration. He greets everyone with a great big, beaming smile and has such a love of life.

Ms Harley completed the 'Week at the Knees' challenge to raise money for The Lily Foundation. Pictur

Ms Harley completed the 'Week at the Knees' challenge to raise money for The Lily Foundation. Picture: NSFT - Credit: Archant


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“So, running for The Lily Foundation, which helps children like Charlie, was the obvious choice. I’m so pleased with how much we’ve raised and so grateful to everyone who has helped – I really couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, friends and colleagues.”

So far, Ms Harley has raised nearly £600 for the charity.. Her times ranged from just under 4 hours 36 mins to just over 5 hours.

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Charlie’s dad added: “We were over the moon when Mandy offered to run not just one marathon, but seven.

“We are so grateful to her and all the people who have supported us. The money raised for The Lily Foundation will go a long way to helping people affected by the condition.”

In an amazing show of resilience, after breaking her hip part-way through her fifth marathon since 2011, Ms Harley ploughed through the remaining seven miles to the finish line, before going to hospital.

Her Just Giving page reads: “Charlie, a gorgeous four-year-old living with mitochondrial disease has touched the hearts of everyone he meets with his huge smile and love for life.

“Charlie has severe Global developmental delay, is partially sighted due to Nystagmus and cannot communicate in any way. Due to sever Ataxia he cannot walk unaided but loves to charge around with his walking frame and climb causing chaos everywhere he goes.”

To donate to The Lily Foundation, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mandys7marathonsin7days

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