This Sunday will see many members of #teamstrathcarron take on a huge personal challenge as they tackle the Stirling Scottish Marathon and Stirling Scottish Half Marathon, and each one of them will have their own personal reasons and story behind their marathon journey. One young lady with a very inspirational story to tell is Mandie Stevenson, who originally turned to running after a secondary breast cancer diagnosis in 2015 and took on her first half marathon two years ago just weeks after finishing chemotherapy.

Doctors had initially given Mandie five years to live - but she believes that running and a positive outlook has extended her life further. She said: “When I was diagnosed in September 2015 it was a massive shock as I’d only just turned 26. They gave me two to three years and five at the very most, but I’ve kept myself so fit, I’ve got a bucket list and I’ve done so much that I keep adding things to do. I enjoy my life, I’ve achieved so much, and I’ve done everything I want to do. I believe I’ve lived longer because I run – and now I’m running a marathon. I just want as normal a life as possible. Being busy and being normal keeps my mind off it, it is mind over matter.”

Mandie continues to defy the doctors through her running and she felt that the marathon – double the distance she has managed previously – was the next logical step.She explained: “I did the half as a test to see how my body would cope, as my oncologist said that the most I could do was a 10k. I had chemotherapy initially but now I have monthly injections – I’ve had to tailor my runs around this. I’m having hormone therapy treatment, and I get an infusion into my bones which makes me very tired. It has been harder for me to get fit, but I’ve worked around it and I’m looking forward to the day - the longest run I’ve done is 22 miles and I’m ready for it now! It'll be tough on the day but I'm so excited!''

Mandie has selected the Stirling Scottish Marathon as she knows she will have her friends and family around to support her on her 26.2 mile journey.  She said: “It’s very close to where I live, I know I’ll get a lot of support from my friends and family as it’s not far for them to go. It’s a great charity to support as well. Raising money for Strathcarron has been in the back of my mind and that’s kept me going when it has been hard. It’s a charity that everybody knows how much they are needed. I’ve visited there, and it’s where I want to go when the time comes. It feels good to do your bit for the Hospice. I know people who have been in there. When I was first diagnosed I was a bit afraid of it, a hospice is not a good place to be. I couldn’t believe it when I went round there, it’s such a nice place.''

We wish Mandie and all of our #teamstrathcarron runners the very best of luck on Sunday and look forward to seeing them all at the finish line!