Brave Mansfield teenager runs half-marathon after major op on her spine

Joanne Nelson and daughter Megan with their medals after completing the Great North Run and raising �1,000 for Cancer Research UK.
Joanne Nelson and daughter Megan with their medals after completing the Great North Run and raising �1,000 for Cancer Research UK.

A teenage girl from Mansfield Woodhouse amazed her mum and dad when announcing she had entered the world’s biggest half-marathon only two years after a major operation.

But Megan Nelson astounded them even further by completing the race, the Great North Run on Tyneside. And with the help of mum Joanne, who ran with her, she raised more than £1,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Nineteen-year-old Megan’s op was to rid her of scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine. Her treatment included the insertion of a steel rod.

Dad Kenny, 49, said: “After recovering, Megan started going to the gym, running on the treadmill and doing weights.

“Then one day, she went out for a one-mile run off her own bat around Manor Park, near where we live.

“It was the first time she had done any outside running but, having successfully completed that, she decided to aim higher and entered the Great North Run!”

The race is one that Kenny and Joanne, 49, have a long-standing love-affair with, having run in it several times.

They weren’t planning on entering this year, but after hearing of Megan’s determination, mum set about supporting her, gaining a place via Cancer Research, while Kenny set about organising all the logistics.

The result, after weeks of training, was a memorable day for mum and daughter in a mammoth field of 53,000 runners.

Kenny said: “They savoured the atmosphere, felt cheered on by the amazing crowds and finished in a great time of two hours, 19 minutes.

“The money was raised through sponsorship from family, friends and work colleagues. People have been so generous.

“It has inspired us so much that we are to apply to enter as a threesome next year.”

Bank manager Kenny is a regular at the Mansfield parkrun, and is only two short of racking up 250 appearances. He has also completed the London Marathon, raising £8,000.

Cancer Research is the family’s chosen charity because Joanne’s dad and Megan’s grandad, John Stocks, died of cancer ten years ago.