St Albans mum takes on Great North Run for epilepsy charity

PUBLISHED: 16:29 10 September 2018

Nicki Francis.

Nicki Francis.


An epileptic boy’s mum has run just over 13 miles as part of the Simplyhealth Great North Run to fundraise for charity.

St Albans woman Nicki Francis joined 57,000 other people jogging or walking from Newcastle to South Shields for the world’s largest half marathon.

It took the 47-year-old just under two hours to complete the route.

She has raised £1,300 for Epilepsy Action, which works to improve epilepsy services and raise awareness of the condition, because her son Morgan has the illness.

He had his first seizure at just four-years-old and Nicki described that experience as one of the most terrifying in her life.

She remembered Morgan every time the race became difficult: “I’m thrilled to have taken on the Great North Run for Epilepsy Action.

“The course was tough at times, but knowing I was doing it for such a fantastic cause really helped me focus on reaching the finish line.”

She said the charity does “a fantastic job” in supporting people with epilepsy.

Morgan also ran the Junior Great North Run for the charity - that course is 4k.

Fundraising events officer at Epilepsy Action, Amy Hesselden, said: “We’re so grateful to Nicki and Morgan for taking on the Great North Run and Junior Run for Epilepsy Action this year.

“Thanks to people who have taken part in the race for Epilepsy Action since 2005, a total of £500,000 has been raised. This has helped to continue our work across the UK and make a real difference for people with epilepsy.”

More than 140 runners chose to raise money for Epilepsy Action this year, the biggest fundraising team for the charity to date.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can develop at any time and 87 people in the UK are newly diagnosed every day.

This year the Great North Run honoured 100 years since partial women’s suffrage by recognising five women who inspired a generation of female runners - Kathrine Switzer, Rosa Mota, Ingrid Kristiansen, Paula Radcliffe and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Next year’s Great North Run will take place on September 8.

To donate, visit

For more information about Epilepsy Action, visit

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A few years back I was fixing a shed in our garden and had enlisted the help of my young son. We were busy moving rotten pieces of wood from the side of the shed when suddenly I felt sharp stabbing pains in my lower legs. Before I had a chance to investigate my son started screaming in pain and it took a few more seconds to realize that we were trampling on a wasps’ nest!

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