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Woman who fought back from devastating crash walks marathon

PUBLISHED: 14:37 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:37 24 September 2020

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown after completing two half marathons back to back in Loddon and Lowestoft at the weekend. Pictures: Mick Howes

Zara Dyer and Ian Brown after completing two half marathons back to back in Loddon and Lowestoft at the weekend. Pictures: Mick Howes

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A woman who suffered life threatening injuries in a crash abroad four years ago that meant she had to learn how to walk and talk all over again, has just completed a challenge to walk a marathon distance over two consecutive days.

Zara Dyer completed two half marathons back to back in Loddon and Lowestoft at the weekend. Pictures: Mick HowesZara Dyer completed two half marathons back to back in Loddon and Lowestoft at the weekend. Pictures: Mick Howes

Zara Dyer, 33, was working as a scuba diving instructor in Grand Cayman in September 2016 when she suffered a seizure at the wheel that led to her crashing into a wall and resulted in long-term brain damage.

Her injuries included a broken neck, complete paralysis on her right hand side and six bleeds on the brain.

Zara Dyer completed two half marathons back to back in Loddon and Lowestoft at the weekend, receiving a cheque for the 3 Million Steps charity. Pictures: Mick HowesZara Dyer completed two half marathons back to back in Loddon and Lowestoft at the weekend, receiving a cheque for the 3 Million Steps charity. Pictures: Mick Howes

But after spending more than a month in hospital abroad, and having undergone an intensive programme of treatment and rehabilitation ever since, her remarkable recuperation led to her setting up the 3 Million Steps charity with her partner, Ian Brown, to support others.

Last year Miss Dyer and Mr Brown completed the John O’Groats to Lands End (JOGLE) walk over five months.

But as Miss Dyer wanted her next challenge to push her own rehabilitation in a new way, she set out to complete the marathon distance in two consecutive days.

This challenge would be the longest she had ever walked in a single day.

Originally planned for the annual Brighton Marathon weekend that was postponed this year, the couple have honoured the fundraising goal by completing the 26.2 miles by themselves locally.

Mr Brown said: “Zara has been determined to get her life back to some sort of normality and has been resolute that the injuries she received would not stand in the way of helping and supporting others in a similar situation.

“Whilst planning the route we thought it would be easier by being local. We prepared for all weathers however we didn’t think to pay attention to tide times in Lowestoft and during the walk had fun dodging the crashing waves over the North Sea wall near Birds Eye with a north easterly wind at high tide!”

The routes saw the couple completing 13.1 miles around Loddon and Chedgrave, where they now live, last Saturday with support from local businesses, residents and friends along the way, and on Sunday around Zara’s home town of Lowestoft where they completed another 13.1 miles.

After finishing Miss Dyer said: “Even though we walked over 1,000 miles during our JOGLE we never walked any more than 12.5 miles a day, and then I would need to have a rest the next day due to being tired not just physically but mentally too.

“The big challenge for this weekend was to be able to walk two half marathons back to back which is something that I have never done before.

“I never really know how my brain would react and on some training days I’d have to stop because of fatigue or migraines.”

Mr Brown added: “We have been very fortunate to have been sponsored by All Hallows New Neurological Rehabilitation Centre in Ditchingham and to have support from friends, family, the local Lions clubs from Bungay, Beccles and Lowestoft.

“We are very grateful to the members of the Masonic Lodge of Unity 71 who were there to congratulate Zara at the completion of the second half marathon. “Their treasurer Keith Moore, charity steward Mark Ashmore and David Fisk handed over a cheque for £400 which will go to our 3 Million Steps charity to help people just starting with their recovery from brain injury.”


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