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Julia Thornton took up running in her mid-60’s after recovering from breast cancer and hopes to inspire others to follow her example by taking part in the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run on Sunday 27th August.

The 67 year-old will be joined by her husband Scott, 68, and another family member, Emily Fitzgerald, for the run which starts and finishes on Union Street and passes by many of the city’s key historic landmarks such as Marischal College, Castlegate, the Beach Ballroom and Queen’s Cross.

Julia said: “I started running just over three years ago after having breast cancer. When I was being treated I was advised that doing exercise was one way of reducing the risk of getting diseases like cancer, or for it coming back, so, cheered on by Scott, I decided to give running a go.

“I had never done any organised exercise before, although I was kept busy looking after my three children when I was younger. Other than that, I enjoyed doing a bit of swimming, but nothing serious. 

“Scott took up running a few years before me as he was inspired by his daughter who had run a couple of marathons and raised a lot of money for charity. Now he has completed two marathons as well as several half marathons and 10km’s and he encouraged me to get going. I only go out a couple of times a week, but I enjoy it.

“As Scott has a daughter who suffered hearing loss from meningitis, he will probably be running to support charities associated with these problems, while I’ll be trying to raise funds for one of the cancer charities. We haven’t finally decided which ones yet.”

Julia is originally from Kent but has lived much of her life in Scotland and is currently based in Glasgow, but Scott has strong North-East connections as his sisters and their families live in Stonehaven and the Aberdeen area.

Julia said: “We will be combining our trip to the Great Aberdeen Run with a visit to some of Scott’s family. Emily, who is doing the race with us, lives in Aberdeen. She is an amazing young mum who gets up most days at 6am, before her two children are awake, and goes for a 5km run. The 10km will, however, be a big occasion for her as well as she has only done one other race before.

“I guess Scott and I will be among the oldest runners taking part but that’s fine. It should be fun and the course looks interesting with a nice run along the beachfront so I’ll get to see more of Aberdeen as I don’t really know the city that well.”

Not many women take up running in their 60’s but Julia, who, along with Scott, manages a business promoting hotels and restaurants, believes more people at a similar stage in life should give it a go.

She said: “I would never see myself as a role model but I take the attitude that you are never too old to try anything.

"Actually, as I have got older I’ve been more adventurous by setting up a business, travelling all over the word, and now taking up running.

“You can get started running at any age by just doing a small amount to begin with. Then there’s the health benefits which come from it. Even after having breast cancer or any other illness, it can make you feel so much better about yourself.”

Julia’s main aim is simply to complete the run although admits she’d like to do better than in her only two previous 10km outings.

She said: “I did the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run 10k last October and the Simplyhealth Great Women’s 10k in Glasgow in June, but I wasn’t very pleased with my time.

"I think I did about 1hr 32mins. Hopefully I can be a bit faster but it doesn’t really matter as long as I complete it.

"Scott and Emily will leave me well behind.”

The Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is a brand new event from the organisers of the Simplyhealth Great North Run, the world's biggest half marathon, held every year between Newcastle and South Shields.

Over 7,000 people will take on a 10km, half marathon and family run, which all start and finish on Union Street in the heart of the city centre. The routes take in many of the city's key historic landmarks such as Marischal College, Castlegate, the Beach Ballroom and Brig O’Balgownie.

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