Woman with heart condition to run marathon in Jamaica

A BRAVE woman from Romford is taking on her third marathon despite having a heart defect and doctors telling her she should not run.

Lauren Browne, 29, of Allandale Road, Romford, was born with a condition called Pectus Excavatum, which prevents her lungs from being able to fully expand and therefore restricts her oxygen intake making it dangerous for her to over exert herself during exercise.

But athletic Lauren, who has been keen on sports from school age, is not letting it stop her and is preparing to jet off to Negril, Jamaica, where she will take part in the Reggae Marathon on Saturday December 4 for St Francis Hospice.

Lauren, who hopes to raise around �5,000, said: “The doctors are gobsmacked I get through it. They tell me ‘you shouldn’t run marathons’. But my heart rate is really good; it has a fast recovery rate and I’ve always kept myself fit.”

“It’s the dizziness that’s the worst thing. I just have to slow down.”

She only discovered her condition after suffering serious chest pains and breathing problems after completing her first marathon in New York in 2001. Tests followed but it took another eight years before she was diagnosed.

“I never suffered with chest pains before I ran it. Now I suffer with a dull ache in my chest every day, sometimes it gets worse but I’m happy to say it’s not often. I have no regrets though. If I had known I had this condition as a child then I wouldn’t have participated in so much sport growing up and I would never have known that I could push myself that far to complete a marathon, let alone two.”

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Lauren successfully completed the London Marathon last year and said her training for this latest challenge, which she has specifically tailored to suit her health, has gone well.

She said: “My main worry is the heat. I’ll be going from one extreme to another. Even there elite runners out there are 30minutes slower than in London. So it must take its toll.”

The race begins 5am local time to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Lauren’s parents will be cheering her on along the way.

And even before crossing the finish line she has her sights set on Hong Kong the following year as she continues her ambition to run enough marathons, each in a different country in the world, to raise �50,000 for different cancer charities. She raised a combined total of �13,000 for the previous two and has to take at least a 12month break between each one so estimates a total of 12 marathons she’ll need to tackle!