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News > Stroke survivor crossed finish line at Glenlivet 10K against the odds

Stroke survivor crossed finish line at Glenlivet 10K against the odds

Sue Payne, 57 from Ayr, is a keen runner and sportswoman. Despite suffering from a number of debilitating health conditions, including a serious stroke in 2010 which meant she had to relearn how to walk and talk, she hasn’t let this slow her down.

Sue suffered a bleed on the brain while taking part in the Glenlivet 10k in 2019 and is urging runners to sign up to this year’s race to support Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

Keep going

Taking part in her favourite run, the Glenlivet 10k, Sue Payne began to feel unwell as she climbed the route’s infamous two-mile Steady Incline.

Weighing up her options for how long she’d have to wait for medical care if she stopped on top of a hill in Cairngorm National Park, Sue decided to keep going.

She finished the race and promptly collapsed into the arms of a waiting steward from run organisers Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

Sue had suffered a bleed on the brain. Amazingly, she was able to return last year to run again in the race billed as the most beautiful in the UK. Before the event in 2021, she wrote a heartfelt letter of thanks to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

Stroke survivor Sue enjoys walks with her dog Monty to keep active.

In her letter, she wrote: “All I remember is this wonderful lady volunteer at the finishing line who caught me as I went down. It was like an angel carrying me to the ambulance.

“The volunteers and staff took such good care of me and my family. Now I have a chance to run this year and say a huge thank you.”

Life-changing health conditions

A keen runner, footballer and coach all her life, Sue had always been superfit until she was diagnosed with the immune condition Sjogren’s syndrome in her 40s. This condition affects the part of the body that produces tears and saliva.

Then, in 2010, as she returned to Scotland from a trip with the women’s national football team where she was part of the coaching set-up, Sue suffered a stroke. Since then she has had several bleeds and inflammation on the brain, similar to the one she had during the 2019 Glenlivet 10k. She also has lupus, an autoimmune condition that affects her organs.

Of that stroke, Sue says: “I now find it harder to achieve what I used to do without thinking. It did hit me hard.

“My first reaction was ‘oh my gosh, what about my boys?’, then I thought about my sports, then I thought ‘so what?’ I’m here, I’ll just have to get on with it.”

Sue has completed the Glenlivet 10K several times. Her husband Jonathan and son Oliver were competing alongside her when she suffered a bleed on the brain in 2019.

The most beautiful run in Scotland

Unfortunately, as her health has been poorly and her eyesight deteriorating because of the effects of the stroke, this year Sue will have to sit out the Glenlivet 10k, but she’s urging people to sign up to complete the race on behalf of such a worthy cause.

“I was introduced to the Glenlivet 10k in 2014. As a family, we love the Highlands, so when I saw where the course, I just had to take part. My husband hates it because it is very hilly, but I always love the views.”

“We did the virtual Glenlivet in 2020, but it was so good to be back in person last year, even if the weather was atrocious! I was quite scared about returning to the place where I had collapsed, but I needn’t have worried. It was wonderful to be back.

“Sadly I am not well enough to do the race this year. But I would encourage anyone who can to do this race at least once. It’s not only a beautiful setting, but it is for a charity that does so much good.”

Fancy taking part in the Glenlivet 10K 2022 to support stroke survivors like Sue? Sign up now and join us on Sunday 3rd April in the Cairngorms National Park:

People are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. You can change that.

Your donation can help people do more than just survive – you can help them really live.


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