West Norfolk woman slows down a GEAR after London Marathon

Beth Harper at the London Marathon

Beth Harper at the London Marathon

Few people would consider the 10km Grand East Anglia Run as a “cool-down” but it was an ideal way for a West Norfolk woman to recover after the London Marathon.

Beth Harper pulled on her trainers to tackle GEAR on Sunday, a week after raising nearly £6,000 for Down’s Syndrome by completing the marathon.

Miss Harper, 28, of St Germans, took on the 26-mile challenge in memory of her brother Chris, who would have celebrated his 26th birthday this Sunday, May 8.

Christopher died on February 2 last year, having been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2014.

Miss Harper said: “It is over whelming to have raised that much money.

“It is a testament to the memory of Chris. He was very popular.”

Miss Harper hoped to complete the course in five hours but beat her target by crossing the finish line in four hours and 43 minutes.

Chris’s name was featured on Miss Harper’s shirt.

She admitted: “I did expect it to be quite emotional but I was focused on what I was doing.

“I ran next to a guy who was a double amputee and everyone was running for someone.

“It makes you realise how much people have gone through.”

Miss Harper is grateful for the support from family and friends along with the crowds.

She said: “The best bit was the half-way point at Tower Bridge.

“I took my headphones out then and didn’t put them back on again.

“The support from the crowds was incredible. Everyone was really cheerful.”

Miss Harper also says messages of support which came through on her phone helped when the marathon began to take its toll.

She said: “By the 22nd mile I was tiring. I didn’t hit the wall that people talk about but the last stretch was exhausting.”

Miss Harper celebrated her achievement with a reception with the other people running for Down’s Syndrome.

On Sunday, she was among the 2,400 people who took part in the 10km GEAR course around Lynn.

Miss Harper said: “GEAR was a nice cool down. I hadn’t run since the marathon so it was nice to go out with friends.”