Northampton

Runner who collapsed at Silverstone half marathon given medal

Helen Lester Image copyright Helen Lester
Image caption Helen Lester collapsed at mile 11 of the Silverstone half marathon and spent two nights in hospital

A woman who collapsed during a half marathon has thanked the other runners who took care of her and accepted a medal from the race director.

Helen Lester passed out at mile 11 of Run Silverstone last Sunday and was helped into an ambulance by other competitors.

She said she was "really shocked" to receive a phone call offering her a medal while she was in hospital.

The mother-of-three has been invited to start the race next year.

"I wasn't sure whether to accept the medal because I didn't finish and it was a scary experience," she said.

"But the other runners who sacrificed their race and the paramedics and doctors, and the support I have had from my family and my running friends has been amazing and turned it into a positive experience for me."

Image copyright Helen Lester
Image caption Helen ran the half marathon with her friend Karla, while her father John (also pictured) ran the 10K
Image copyright Run Silverstone
Image caption Helen started the race with her friend Karla, but encouraged her to run off at mile 10 because she was feeling fine and thought Karla could get a better time

Mrs Lester, who lives with her husband and children in West Bridgford, near Nottingham, ran the London marathon last year and was taking part in her sixth half marathon when she collapsed, which she said came "completely out of the blue."

She remembered waking up in the ambulance and panicking that no-one would know where she was but she had written emergency contact details for her mother on the back of her race number.

"I really want to spread the message about how important this is. I nearly didn't fill it in, but I'm so glad I did," she said.

Doctors at Northampton General Hospital kept her in for two nights but could not find the cause of her collapse. They have said she should have extra tests on her heart.

Image copyright Helen Lester
Image caption Helen spent two nights in hospital and is due to have more tests on her heart

Mrs Lester, who is 42 and works as a programme manager for Nottinghamshire County Council, said she would return to running as soon as possible but would stick with shorter runs.

"I run with a local group called Compton Runners and Panters, and they have been fantastic and given me so much support, plus the friends I have made through the Run Mummy Run Facebook group.

"I was meant to be running my 50th Parkrun at Clifton this weekend so I will have to delay it but I am determined to do it when I am better."

Richard Parr, race director of Run Silverstone, said lots of runners had contacted him to check on the "lady with the jazzy leggings".

"I've asked her to return to Silverstone next year to shake off those demons and be our guest to start the races for us - hopefully she'll be able to do that and then get a run in as well. She's obviously a total warrior, so we'll see her again one way or another. I'm sure of that," he said.

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