Running a half-marathon is an achievement for anyone, but for Swansea mum Sonali Das Simpson the feat seemed impossible just two years ago.
Sonali has always enjoyed running, with a few races and even a marathon under her belt, but two years ago her life changed dramatically after a life-threatening freak accident.
In June 2015, Sonali was run over by her own car while collecting her daughter from school. The car ran diagonally across her chest fracturing her clavicle, 13 ribs and every spinous process (bones that attach the muscles and ligaments of the spine) from the bottom of her neck down to her waist. Both of her lungs collapsed and one filled with blood.
Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) was called to the scene and the on-board ‘flying medics’ performed life-saving chest surgery in the car park of the school. Despite suffering extensive injuries and undergoing critical rib surgery in Morriston Hospital, Sonali made a remarkable recovery believed by the medical staff to be down to her fitness level.
After the horrific accident it was difficult for Sonali to see a positive future. Never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined running 13.1 miles so soon after her accident, but with the help of Team Brecon Carreg Sonali found the motivation she needed to start exercising again.
After recovering and training, Sonali felt healthy and strong enough to put her body through a different challenge, and next month is taking part in the Cardiff Half Marathon thanks to leading bottled water brand Brecon Carreg.
Brecon Carreg, an official sponsor for the Cardiff University/ Cardiff Half Marathon, also organises a virtual running team called Team Brecon Carreg. Sonali is one of 10 runners selected to receive free entry to races in Wales and support and encouragement along the way.
Jenna Bissell, marketing manager at Brecon Carreg said: “It’s great to see people’s confidence improve through Team Brecon Carreg, we’re really proud of Sonali’s achievements and its lovely for us to see how far she and the rest of the team has come.”
Team Brecon Carreg is running to raise money for Wales Air Ambulance, a charity the brand has supported for many years. Sonali saw signing up for the half marathon a great opportunity to pay back WAA back for the life-saving care they gave her after the accident. For every mile Team Brecon Carreg members run in both training and races until the Cardiff Half Marathon they will be donating £1 to WAA. So far Team Brecon Carreg has raised over £2,000 for WAA.
Sonali said: “The Wales Air Ambulance are life savers in every which way that term can be used. I hope I can go a small part in repaying them for helping to save my life in 2015. I am sure that without their swift actions, I would not be here today. This is a way for me to thank them. I am honoured that our team will help fund more life saving call outs.”
Mark Stevens, Wales Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager, said: “As a charity, we rely on support and donations to raise to raise the £6.5million needed every year to keep our four helicopters flying. We would like to thank Brecon Carreg for their support, which is helping to fund our missions across Wales.”
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