Four people who have been chosen to join a team to go from beginner runners to completing the Simplyhealth Great East Run met with a GB international runner to kickstart their training.

British marathon runner Lily Partridge, who finished 8th as the first British female across the line in the London Marathon, will provide guidance to the beginner runners as the event’s new elite athlete ambassador for 2018.

The group will also be supported by specialist running coaches from Ipswich Jaffa Running Club, who will provide them with weekly training sessions and a bespoke half marathon training plan.

Lily, will support the runners through question and answer sessions as well as being there to welcome the team across the finish line on event day.

Nick Partridge, from Southwold, lost a huge 13 stone in one year after he was advised by his GP to lose weight for the sake of his health.

He embarked on a strict lifestyle change involving diet and exercise and enjoyed running. But following a shoulder fracture, his fitness decreased, and he wasn’t able to exercise.

He’s been looking to improve his confidence with running again and thinks that joining the Half Marathon challenge team will help him return to the sport he loved.

Leah Ambrose, from Ipswich, suffered an unexpected stroke at the age of just 37. She was a keen, novice runner before taking ill and since then her balance, coordination and mental health has been affected.

She’s used physical activity as a way of helping her deal with the stress and hopes that training for the Simplyhealth Great East Run will help her find a love for running again.

Joanne Porter, from Rushmere, discovered a lump in her arm which turned out to be cancerous. Thankfully after visiting her doctors, it was caught in time, but she required a skin graft to ensure that it had not spread.

Following her recovery, she decided she wanted to set herself a challenge to fundraise for Cancer Research UK.

Amanda Cook, from Ipswich, suffers from Lupus which often leaves her fatigued with aches and pains.

The condition has drained her confidence but as she was once a keen runner in school, she hopes that the Half Marathon Challenge can offer her the support she needs to enjoy running again.

The Simplyhealth Great East Run is staged in partnership with Suffolk County Council and offers 3,500 participants of all abilities to be their greatest by conquering a half marathon, which starts and finishes in Ipswich and travels out through the Suffolk countryside.

Abdul Razaq, Director of Public Health and Protection at Suffolk County Council said: “It is truly inspiring to hear the journey and challenge that these individuals are embarking on and I wish them all the very best with their training.

“I am sure Lily will be an inspiration to them and the many more runners who will be taking part on Sunday 16 September and making a positive contribution to our ambition to make Suffolk the most active county in England.”

The Simplyhealth Great East Run has generated huge interest and is now sold out. For more information visit Greatrun.org/East.

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