83-year old Caroline to run Great North Run for My Name'5 Doddie Foundation
08 September 2023
08 September 2023
Less than a year after hip replacement surgery, an 83-year-old woman is set to take on a half marathon in memory of her late husband.
After 56 years of marriage, Caroline Quibell’s husband Michael died last year following a seven year battle with motor neuron disease.
Now, the grandmother of 12 is set to take on the gruelling Great North Run to raise money for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, a charity committed to funding research into the disease.
The retired nurse has been training for the race with runs around Tunbridge Wells alongside her training partner Streak - the Irish Water Spaniel who Caroline’s five children bought for her as a companion during Michael’s dying days.
She said: ”I’m on a mission to end MND. My beloved Michael lost his battle, but his courageous spirit lives on, inspiring me everyday.
“I’m running in tribute to my dear husband. The training has been especially hard - but with a new hip and my dog Streak by my side, I’m putting in plenty of miles. Streak has been my rock!
“By helping My Name’5 Doddie Foundation towards its vision of a world free of MND, I can honour Michael’s memory and make a difference in the lives of those suffering from this horrible disease.
“I am so grateful to my family and friends for their unwavering support.”
Caroline has run the Great North Run four times before, but it’s been five years since her last race due to a combination of covid restrictions and the toll taken by her role as a full time carer to her husband.
In 2018, the last time Caroline took part, he was there cheering her on.
Michael, who was 81 when he died in October last year, lived with MND since 2015, beginning to severely decline from 2019 onwards.
In November last year, just a week before her husband’s funeral, Caroline fell and broke her hip - but now she’s ready to take on the challenge with her new hip.
Her son Justin, a 44-year-old property consultant from Warwickshire, who is one of five siblings, said: “We were all so focussed on her recovery that it was a bit of a shock when on Christmas Day last year she told us she was going to run the Great North Run.
“We’ve all been worried, and a little cautious, but when she puts her mind to something, she tends to do it, so we’ve realised it’s easier to go along with it!
“I think we all know now that life isn’t a rehearsal; if it’s something you want to do, do it. So we’ve encouraged her.
“Most people think this is fabulous but crazy, but that sums mum up,
“She’s always been fit, walking dogs and running, so it was very difficult for her to lose her mobility before and after surgery. For mum, I think this has been quite a cathartic part of her process. Training has given her a focus since we lost dad. He was such a fit and healthy guy, but towards the end he lost all mobility and it was very hard. She cared for him all the way to the very end, looking after him 24/7 took its toll, but she never complained once. “
All five of Caroline’s children and 12 grandchildren are planning to be in Newcastle on September 10 in support. Caroline’s son Toby, a 56-year-old educational psychologist, will take on the Great North Run alongside her.
Paul Thompson, director of fundraising at My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, added: “Without fundraisers like Caroline, we wouldn’t be able to fund research that will accelerate the development of new treatments for MND.
“Our thoughts are with Caroline and her family after their loss, and we are so grateful that she has chosen to support the charity. We wish her all the very best - we’ll be cheering her on at the Great North Run.“