BTF trustee, Anna, lives with hypothyroidism and ANCA vasculitis. Several family members also have thyroid issues, including her son who has Graves’ disease. Anna recently competed in the New Forest Marathon and told us about her challenge: Like many in lockdown I decided I would do the Couch to 5K. Due to my ANCA vasculitis I had to shield. Running became a focus. I thought I would set myself a challenge and see if I could train for a marathon. I checked with my consultant and she said it was fine.

I was half hoping she might put a stop to my crazy lockdown idea! Like many, before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism I struggled with fatigue and heavy legs but I have been lucky to have been stable for years on my levothyroxine. Vasculitis has damaged my lungs and kidneys and when it’s active I struggle to walk and get very tired. A routine blood test before my 6 monthly infusion to treat the vasculitis showed I was hyperthyroid. My TSH was 0.05 so I needed to reduce my levothyroxine for the first time in years. I always struggle with breathlessness when I need an infusion for the vasculitis and I don’t expect being hyperthyroid helped. So, I had to pause and reduce my training for four weeks at the end of July.

Training back on track I was then told that the marathon couldn’t go ahead in the New Forest and it would probably be cancelled. I was quite disappointed despite finding the 20-mile training run hard. A week later I received the good news that an alternative venue had been found; however, the route was nearly twice as hilly at the original one. On the day, we were all given a separate start time so we could socially distance. This meant quite a few runners had already started. I set off at a good pace and really enjoyed the first 10 miles even overtaking a few people. The hills took a quite a lot out of me and I decided I would walk up the steeper ones if needed. Psychologically that really helped. Counting down the
miles in single figures from mile 16 also gave me another boost and by 20 miles I knew I could make it. I even ended up running a little more than the full marathon, as my running watch hadn’t recorded 26.2 miles!

It is definitely the hardest thing I’ve physically done. My official time was 5 hours 21 minutes and 17 seconds and I also managed to reach my fundraising target. Sadly, when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I was not aware of the BTF. I
hope by raising money they can continue with their work and reach all the people that need them.”

Anna raised £613.20 for the BTF.