Inspirational Michelle Hoffman, who just a few years ago was bedridden with arthritis, has successfully completed the London Marathon.
Michelle (24) and fiancé Chris Tinsley (24) from Benwick joined thousands of other runners on Sunday in the nation’s capital to pound the streets and raise cash for good causes in one of the world’s most famous endurance races.
The couple have raised more than £4,300 for Arthritis Research UK and completed the 26.2 mile course in around six-and-a-half hours.
“It was a lot harder than I think I had expected,” Michelle said. “It was really warm, which was tough getting used to. I’ve also been carrying a knee injury since January and my arthritis kicked in in my knees and ankles.
“But the crowd was really great. It was brilliant. I was overwhelmed and got a bit emotional.”
Arthritis Research UK CEO, Liam O’Toole, said: “We were thrilled to have 81 inspirational runners taking part in the Virgin London Marathon this year, who have collectively raised around £150,000 to fund vital research into the treatment, prevention and cure of arthritis.
“The marathon was a fantastic event, full of emotion, and we are so proud of every single one of our runners. We’d like to thank them all for their tireless fundraising, continued dedication and hard work. We’re so grateful to everyone who played a part in the day and look forward to welcoming even more runners in 2014!”
Michelle suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis which causes inflammation to the joints in the spine and other areas of the body, which was diagnosed in her late teens.
Michelle was given a miracle drug treatment called Humira, which she has to inject herself with fortnightly. Prior to this, she had not been able to move her neck, had needed a wheelchair and was almost entirely bedridden for a year.
Just three hours after her first injection, she could stand unaided for the first time in a year and two weeks later she was walking again.
Fellow sufferers across the country were delighted when Michelle’s story was broadcast during the marathon by the BBC, drawing attention to this often unheard-of condition. People took to online message boards to praise her and said hearing her story had bought them to tears and given them hope.
A keen sportswoman before her arthritis flared up, Michelle was determined to put in the hours and get to London. She said she didn’t even think about the possibility of not making it, in spite of her injury and her condition.
But she has not got the marathon bug now and is resting at home to recover.
“It was on my bucket list to run a marathon and I’m really glad I did it. But it’s not on my list to do it twice!”
• You can still donate to Michelle and Chris – visit www.justgiving.com/Michelle-Chris