Vicki Walsh was told she would never run again, but with the help of her best friend, she crossed a half marathon finish line with tears in her eyes.
Six years ago Walsh, 49, was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a form of terminal brain cancer.
The once-avid runner had since suffered two strokes and now has difficulty walking.
But for the second time in four months, Walsh has completed a half marathon in a modified wheelchair.
Best friend Maree Morpeth pushed Walsh’s wheelchair through mud, grass and clay at the Manawatu Striders event on Sunday to prove that anything was possible, finishing in two hours and 50 minutes.
Morpeth and Walsh also completed a Wellington half marathon in February – the first time they had raced together with the modified wheelchair.
Before her diagnosis, Walsh said the pair used to be ‘‘absolutely hooked’’ on running. They completed their first competitive race together at the Striders event about 11 years ago.
Walsh and Morpeth used to run the Manawatu Gorge track every weekend prior to Walsh’s first stroke in May 2011.
The stroke led to the discovery of the glioblastoma multiforme and she was given 12 to 14 months to live.
Being able to cross a finish line in a race Walsh thought she would never be able to take part in again, was life-changing.
She said the strength and support of her friend was amazing.
‘‘Not only is Maree running and doing something that most people can’t do, she’s having to push me.’’
Morpeth, who now lives in Taupo, came up with the idea of racing with a modified chair after receiving a text from Walsh.
‘‘[She] said: ‘I saw these two old ladies who were out running. I wish that could be us’. And I thought, well, maybe it can be.’’
Morpeth joked that even roadkill passed them on their race, but the point was getting out there and doing it anyway.
Regardless of any disability, they wanted to encourage others to give it a go.
‘‘It’s showing people that no matter what, you can still do it. There’s no barriers to anything. If you just put your mind to it then you can achieve anything.’’
Terminally-ill woman Vicki Walsh was told she would not run again. Her friend Maree Morpeth made sure they could still do half marathons.