Mother of five from Bury St Edmunds defies medics to take part in the London Marathon

Juliet Hanka and Gigi Erhardt

Juliet Hanka and Gigi Erhardt - Credit: Archant

A 49-year-old mother of five is defying medics and taking part in this year’s London Marathon

She suffered from chronic back pain and a stress-fracture of the hip but has pledged to keep her promise to her daughter to take part in the event.

Juliet Hanka is running the punishing 26-mile route with Gigi Erhardt with funds raised from the challenge going to Ormiston Families, the leading family charity in the East of England.

Despite being a keen runner and no stranger to marathons - Juliet ran the London Marathon back in 2015 – and she has had to overcome her two mighty hurdles in the past two years to get to where she is today.

According to Juliet’s recent MRI scan she should not be running and has defied orders from doctors, including her medically trained in-laws, to train for this year’s marathon.

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However, a promise to her daughter to run a marathon together when she turned 18 and Juliet’s emotional ties to Ormiston Families is proving inspiration enough to push past the pain.

In 2017, during a “gap year” before starting a counselling degree at the University of Suffolk, Juliet began volunteering at Ormiston Families’ Mpower project in 2017.

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Mpower is an early intervention service which works with women who have complex and challenging needs and who have subsequently had children removed into the care system under child protection proceedings.

Juliet, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, volunteered one day a week at Ormiston Families, helping out in the office and supporting the women who used the Mpower service one-to-one.

She said: “Having a daughter the same age as some of the women who had already gone through so much pain, resonated with me. When the time came to start my degree and end my time at Ormiston Families, I decided I needed to do something to continue supporting these women.

“That is when my daughter, Gigi, kindly reminded me that I had promised to run a marathon with her once she had turned 18. The pieces fell into place, and I am, once again running a marathon for such a worthy cause close to my heart. No one and nothing is going to stop me from reaching that finish line. If I can’t run it, I’m jolly well walking it.”

With a fundraising target of £4,800 between them, Juliet and Gigi are urging their friends and family to donate through a variety of fundraising activities.

To support the pair go to

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