The survivor of an horrific road accident is preparing to complete the Great North Run in aid of the air ambulance charity which saved her life.
Katie Birkin, 30, from Darlington, is taking part in the famous half marathon for the first time since being critically injured six years ago.
Katie and her now-husband, David, were out house-hunting for their first home, when their car overturned on the A177, near Ferryhill. She sustained severe facial and neck injuries when she was dragged across the road in the incident.
As her life hung in the balance, she was airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough by the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
Katie has gradually rebuilt her life since the crash. She is now married with two children, Freddie, four, and Holly, two. For the past five years, she has run her own marketing business and since her accident has battled to overcome her fear of driving.
Katie said: “Although I’m not a huge fan of running, I thought it would be a challenge and a massive achievement to celebrate everything I have accomplished while raising money for GNAAS.
“I am hugely grateful to GNAAS, they are a wonderful charity, and I owe them such a huge debt. I don’t remember much about the accident, but it was lovely to meet and personally thank Jane Peacock a few years ago – one of the GNAAS paramedics who flew to my side after the crash.”
Katie had to pull out of the run last year due to a knee injury but said she now feels fitter than ever and is excited for the challenge on September 13.
She added: “It is incredible that all I have walked away with is scars across my wrist and face – I no longer suffer from my injuries at all.
“I have been training quite a bit. I actually feel more prepared this year than when I’ve run it in the past. I remember the worst bit was thinking when you get to the seafront you have nearly finished, but you still have over a mile left. I’m running the marathon alone so it is a big milestone for me. It will be quite emotional seeing my family at the finish line, especially my two children.”
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