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Mum-of-three Sue Bennett initially took up running to combat exhaustion, unaware her fatigue was due to liver disease. Here she tells the story of her liver transplant and her remarkable sporting achievements since…


One winter’s night in 2008, I was walking home from my local pub with some friends when I announced I was going to start running,” says Sue Bennett, 43, from Stafford. “I’d heard it could boost your energy levels. As a working mum with three young children, tiredness was to be expected. But some days I felt too exhausted to even pair up socks or lift the washing basket.

“I began with a mixture of walking and jogging, and slowly increased the distances using trees as my markers. After a year of worsening health I was finally diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis, an incurable and progressive autoimmune disease that attacks the bile ducts in the liver. It was a devastating blow: I immediately thought I would die and not be there for my children who were then aged two, four and six. Initially I slept on my youngest son Jack’s bedroom floor as I was so worried he wouldn’t remember how much I loved him when I died. My husband was heartbroken and, fearing the worst, had begun considering how our family life could be without me. However, I felt more positive when I was told there was medication to slow the disease down and many people with this condition go on to live long lives.

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About Women’s Running

Discover the best running gear of 2017 with the December issue of Women’s Running. In our annual Women’s Running awards, we’ve tried and tested 1,000 running products and, in this issue, we uncover the products that came out on top. While giving you ideas for your Christmas wishlist, we’ll help you to stay motivated too, with stories of amazing women who have used running to transform their health and lifestyles. You’ll also learn how to adopt a winning mindset, so that at every race you feel like a winner, no matter where in the field you finish. And if that’s enough to inspire you to take on a new race challenge next year, head over to our regular race reports section for a taster of some epic races the team have taken part in this season. We’ve also got for you a killer workout for abs and arms, helping you to tone up and improve your form, plus plenty more advice and inspiration to boost your running.