Northamptonshire great-grandmother set for 12th London Marathon

Diana Green will be running her 12th London Marathon this weekend
Diana Green will be running her 12th London Marathon this weekend
  • First marathon was while in remission
  • Finished one marathon despite a bad fall after nine miles
  • Ran one year following a double hip operation four months earlier

A great-grandmother who has had a double hip replacement is to run her 12th London Marathon, aged 81.

Diana Green, from the village of Old, started running in 2002, the day after she was told she had breast cancer.

I had a sign pinned to my back which read: ‘Running in two new hips - please overtake.’

Diana Green

Doctors told her that, if she had surgery, she might live another five years but she has far surpassed that prognosis and is now much fitter than she ever expected to be.

She said: “The running was a reaction to the diagnosis.

“I felt I wanted to raise money for a cancer charity but I also suddenly needed the challenge.

“I never really discussed it with my doctor for the first four years or so but when I did, I think he thought I was completely mad.

“But it keeps me fit and it’s fantastic for clearing the mind.”

Diana is this weekend embarking on her 12th London Marathon – her 13th overall including one in New York in 2006 – and she has to date raised more than £50,000 for the Breast Cancer Campaign charity.

Her training programme each year includes a handful of long runs of up to 20 miles, the odd half-marathon event and three runs per week of between three and five miles.

Aside from the distance, the event has thrown up some intense physical challenges for Diana.

She ran her first marathon while she was in remission and had trained for it while undergoing harsh treatment.

Last year, she was accidentally tripped from behind after nine miles and fell flat on her face.

Despite being covered in blood from her nose and bad bruising to her hands and knees, she carried on without medical attention in case the stewards make her stop.

Her worst experience came after she ran the London Marathon four months after being discharged following a double hip replacement operation.

But she did finish and crossed the line in about seven hours.

She said: “I had a sign pinned to my back which read: ‘Running in two new hips - please overtake.’ People were quite amused by that, I think.”

Her marathon personal best is five hours and 20 minutes but she admits she will never get near that again.

Despite saying almost every year that she won’t do another marathon, Diana says she doesn’t know when she will retire from running and wants to go on for as long as her body can take it.

She is already targeting next year’s event, which will coincide with her 82nd birthday.

Asked how she now feels about whether she believes having cancer was a positive thing for her, she is philosophical.

She said: “I suppose if I was never diagnosed with breast cancer I wouldn’t have found running and I would never have raised all this money.

“I always say that if there’s a debit in life, look for the credit, there usually is one.”

To help sponsor Diana visit her Just Giving page.