As Sophie Raworth valiantly strode across the finish line at the London Marathon in April to calls of ‘You can do it!’ from the crowd, her relief was palpable.
For after a strong start, with just two miles to go the 43-year-old BBC newsreader had dramatically collapsed, suffering from heatstroke – a condition that can be life-threatening.
Despite having trained rigorously, like many of the 45,000 competitors that day, Sophie had not bargained for the unseasonable 20C weather.
Recalling the moment she collapsed, the mother of three says: ‘I really did think I was dying.
‘It had all been going fine, but then I remember feeling that it was becoming very, very difficult. My legs were so heavy, but I was still pushing myself to the limit.
‘As I reached the 23-mile mark I became light-headed – it was horrible. My heart was racing and I had begun weaving, running erratically from side to side, then I swerved into a barrier. I heard someone shout “Keep going!” and then, nothing…’
Sophie’s remarkable recovery, which allowed her to complete the race in just over six hours, is thanks to the swift intervention of a team of first aiders – and one woman in particular, Trish Norman, a St John Ambulance volunteer.
Pictures by David Poole.