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Simplyhealth Great Newham Run 'symbolic' for 57-year-old

PUBLISHED: 10:18 03 March 2017

The Great Newham Run proved popular last year

The Great Newham Run proved popular last year

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London 2012 Games Maker preparing for stadium appearance

Romford's Caroline AylottRomford's Caroline Aylott

This summer’s Simplyhealth Great Newham Run will prove particularly symbolic for 57-year-old Caroline Aylott.

Last month’s Valentine’s Day marked a special 10-year anniversary for Aylott, who celebrated with her new found love of running, as she prepares for the big Newham event in July.

In February 2007, Caroline was left fighting for her life with pneumonia and septicaemia, but she battled through and now wants to encourage others to make the most of their health and get into running.

Recovering and vowing to change her life for the better, Aylott took up swimming and now works as a lifeguard at Central Park Leisure Centre. She is also the chief instructor at Romford Lifesaving Club.

Athletes approach the finish line at last year's Great Newham RunAthletes approach the finish line at last year's Great Newham Run

Unfortunately, the legacy of her ordeal resurfaced last year when a bout of breathing difficulties and an MRI scan revealed pleural thickening on the lungs. The issue, due to scarring from being on life support, left her with only 80 per cent of her lungs functioning.

“It upset me at the time, I’d just turned 57. I thought, I’m going to do something about this – I’m going to make the best of the lungs that I’ve got,” she said.

After working as a lifeguard for Great Swim events, the Romford runner decided to take on the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run, which is being held on July 2 at the London Stadium.

“Running’s the one thing I always said I’d never be able to do. I started running in May, going from my house to the corner, and now I run every day between three to six miles,” she said.

“The Great Swim events are so well organised, so I thought the Great Newham London Run would be the crème de la crème of running events.”

Aylott, who was a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympics, will return to the stadium this summer and cross the same finish line as Olympic and Paralympic legends, alongside 15,000 other runners.

The event takes place just weeks before Usain Bolt and Mo Farah compete on the same track, at the London 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships.

“I’m excited to go back to Newham where I was born and back to the stadium,” added Aylott.

“I worked in the Events Services at London 2012, but never actually went down to the track so I’m really looking forward to running on it. I’m bringing my husband and one of my grown-up sons to watch on the day so it’ll be great.

The Romford mum has a few words of wisdom for those who think they can’t run, adding: “Every time I run I achieve something. It doesn’t matter how old you are.

“When I started I couldn’t run to the end of the road. But you can run. Running is something available to everybody, even if you think you can’t. It’s freedom.”

Entries are now open for the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run 10km or 2km Family Run on July 2 at greatrun.org/London.

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