Amazing Alice marks stroke milestone with ultra marathon

Stroke Foundation

A Kiama mum who was told she would never run competitively after a devastating stroke is preparing to tackle a 100-kilometre race next month.

Alice Johnson was just 29-years-old at the time of her stroke. A registered nurse and busy mum of a 5-day-old baby and a 3-year-old toddler, Alice says she remembers feeling confused and tired.

“Even with my history in emergency nursing, I didn’t realise I was having a stroke. It was my brother who was a police officer that recognised the F.A.S.T. signs,” Alice said.

“I had a great experience in hospital. Luckily, because I was breastfeeding, they did not separate me from my baby. The neurology ward was very accommodating, and the care I received was excellent,” Alice said.

Alice was told by health professionals that she may not be able to exercise competitively post-stroke.

“I signed up for an online running program and fell in love with it. Then I signed up for my first 10 kilometre run with a bunch of local ladies, then I signed up for a half marathon,” she said.

“I do a lot of thinking on my long runs, and I had an idea swirling in the back of my brain to sign up for a 100-kilometre event. So, to celebrate turning 40 last year, and to mark a decade post-stroke, I signed up for the Mount Buffalo Stampede.”

Alice is among the 145,000 survivors of stroke living in New South Wales. Regional Australians are 17 per cent more likely to have a stroke than those in metropolitan areas.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Lisa Murphy commended Alice on her efforts.

“Taking on a 100-kilometre run is no easy feat. There’s no doubt Alice is an incredible human who is proving anything is possible after stroke,” Dr Murphy said.

“Unfortunately, stroke can happen to anyone, at any time. In fact, around 29 strokes happen to working aged (18-65) Australians every day.

“Stroke touches too many families. An Australian has a stroke every 19 minutes. But they can be prevented and treated if you seek medical help quickly.”

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