Mother completes ultra-marathon to support charities that helped her daughter

A MOTHER has completed her first ultra-marathon and raised thousands of pounds for the charities that helped save her daughter’s life following a quad bike crash.

Clara Nicholl, 48, from Haydon Bridge, took part in the Endurance Life North York Moors Ultra Marathon on 28 October which is 34.3 miles.

Mrs Nicholl had never covered this distance before but was determined to do something to support the Great North Children’s Hospital and the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) that came to the aid of her daughter Elsie, 11, in April last year.

Recalling the incident, she said: “It was a normal day, we were emptying the muck trailer for the horses, and we had a ewe that had lambs so we went to have a look. Elsie was on the quad bike when the accelerator jammed and it took off with her. I don’t know if it hit something, but the bike landed on top of her.

“I managed to lift the bike off her and had to tell her to roll so I could pull her out from underneath.”

Mrs Nicholl contacted the emergency services and both GNAAS and the North West Ambulance Service responded to the scene.

She said: “They were amazing on the phone telling me what to do. At the time she was drifting in and out of consciousness.

“Obviously lying on the ground, it felt like forever, but it was probably only 10 minutes for the team from GNAAS to arrive from Penrith.

“They were unbelievably calm and cool and didn’t let on how bad it was.”

Elsie had sustained multiple broken ribs, two collapsed lungs, a split liver, damaged spleen and a lack of blood to the brain which caused a stroke.

The doctor and paramedic team from GNAAS placed Elsie into a medically-induced coma and gave her a blood transfusion before they travelled with her in NWAS’ road ambulance to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Elsie underwent eight operations including a six-hour bowel operation, and had a stent fitted in her liver.

Mrs Nicholl added: “She’s pretty incredible and tough. She spent nine weeks in hospital and in September she went back to school literally all guns blazing.

“She started riding ponies again, competing in school teams and championships, and ran during sports day.”

To thank the charities who helped save Elsie’s life, Mrs Nicholl decided to push herself out of her comfort zone and recently ran an ultra-marathon which was 34.3 miles.

She said: “I managed it in eight hours which I was amazed by. It was mega but brutal – so muddy and wet, evil hills one after the other and a lot of water, even running through the sea.

“My kids Elsie and Sam finished the last 10 miles which was awesome and they loved it and did so well; Elsie was like a Gazelle skipping along while I was exhausted pulling everything out of the bag to finish.

“Loads of people didn’t finish due to conditions but all I could think of was what I owed GNAAS and that was enough to keep me going.”

Clara has raised more than £14,000 for GNAAS and over £3,000 for Newcastle Hospitals Charity.

To sponsor Clara, visit her JustGiving page.

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