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'I trained in secret' - Woman with MS surprises friends by joining them on Great North Run

PUBLISHED: 12:09 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:09 11 September 2019

Back row (left to right): Gary Lansdale, Rodney Cleverly, Louisa Thompson, Lee Thompson, Mark Lansdale, Simon Durrant. Front row (left to right): Shelley Lansdale, Katie Pickess ,Katy McMurtry, Jenny Durrant,Rachel Carbonelli, Michelle Lansdale

Back row (left to right): Gary Lansdale, Rodney Cleverly, Louisa Thompson, Lee Thompson, Mark Lansdale, Simon Durrant. Front row (left to right): Shelley Lansdale, Katie Pickess ,Katy McMurtry, Jenny Durrant,Rachel Carbonelli, Michelle Lansdale

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A woman with multiple sclerosis surprised friends planning to run the Great North Run on her behalf by joining them in the half marathon.

A fantastic effort - the group of 18 travelled from Lowestoft to Newcastle and raised over £10,000 for the MS society.A fantastic effort - the group of 18 travelled from Lowestoft to Newcastle and raised over £10,000 for the MS society.

Shelley Lansdale, 42, from Lowestoft, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after last Christmas. The disease damages nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and can affect vision, coordination and sensation.

Her husband, Gary, decided to raise money for the MS society to help with research into the disease which has no known cause or cure.

He said: "I asked a couple of friends if they fancied doing it with me and then it just grew. In the end 18 of us travelled up and 14 did the run itself."

Mrs Lansdale said: "Although Gary organised everyone to do the run, he didn't know I was going to do it. We travelled to Newcastle on Saturday and on Sunday morning I came down dressed for the big day. It was a total surprise to everyone."

Mrs Lansdale said she kept her training and entry in the half-marathon secret from her friends.Mrs Lansdale said she kept her training and entry in the half-marathon secret from her friends.

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Mrs Lansdale worked in Lowestoft as a hairdresser, but now stays at home with her two sons aged 11 and 16. She practiced for the run in secret at Lowestoft park runs.

She said: "Some of us had never run before and some were regular runners. We all did the park run and everyone was going out doing all their training. I was going to do it even if I had to walk.

"It was brilliant. We were all emotional travelling up but once you start going it's just excitement."

Michelle Lansdale was diagnosed with MS just afgter Christmas last year.Michelle Lansdale was diagnosed with MS just afgter Christmas last year.

Between the 14 runners £10,308.20 was raised for the MS society. But the runners are still accepting donations and have nearly £11,300.

Gary Lansdale said: "Shelley is an inspiration showing that it is possible to face life's problems and overcome them. The money is a massive help but the awareness is equally important.

"When Shelley was diagnosed last year, prior to that there were signs which we didn't know about. for others reading this it's about awareness of the signs. It's a tough disease because many things can be affected."

Donations can be made online here.

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