A St Helens mum is preparing to run her sixth consecutive London Marathon to highlight the everyday struggles for youngsters battling Type 1 diabetes.
Carol Littler has run the gruelling 26-mile race every year since 2013, and will do so yet again on April 22 to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Carol, whose 18-year-old son has the condition, has been raising funds for the foundation for years.
The 48-year-old from Billinge began competing in endurance events for the JDRF after making several healthy lifestyle changes in 2012, including buying her first pair of running shoes at the tender age of 42.
Carol said: “I had never ran in my life! But I felt better about myself having lost weight, and found a new career as a Slimming World consultant.
“I rang JDRF to ask if I could help raise money, and they offered me a place in the London Marathon. I never thought I’d do it bit I thought I’d never get the chance again. I gradually built up my fitness, and it went from there. I joined the JDRF team and have run the marathon for the past five years!”
While a personal best time is not the main priority for Carol, she still retains hopes for achieving her fastest time, hoping to complete the run in five-and-a-half years.
She said: “I just love the atmosphere. I end up talking to people all the way around. It’s so emotional listening to why they are running.”
Completing so many long-distance races is certainly time consuming for Carol.
She trains at least three times a week and is even getting ready for the race in the capital by taking part in the Manchester marathon, half-marathons in Wigan and London and even the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.
And it’s all in aid of helping to find a cure for the condition which has blighted the son’s life, ever since he was diagnosed as a two-year-old.
Carol said: “He’s had over 50,000 injections of insulin since diagnosis just to stay alive. He’s my inspiration and my reason to run, to find a cure for him and over 25,000 other kids with Type 1 diabetes in the UK.
“It’s heartbreaking, seeing what these kids go through.”
To help Carol reach her £2,000 fund-raising target, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CarolLittler1.