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Epileptic Marathoner Finishes with Friend's Help

More than 37,000 runners competed in the 2012 London Marathon. Wilson Kipsang, from Kenya, won the race in an impressive 2:04:44. Simone Clarke took more than three times as long, but her finish may be more impressive.

Simone is a 39 year old epileptic. Simone suffers about four seizures a day, and needed someone willing to train and run with her. Her friend, Tally Hall, agreed to run the marathon with her and help her if she had a seizure while running. But none of their training runs prepared them for what was to come.

On the beautiful spring morning of the London Marathon, Simone and Tally joined the tens of thousands at the starting point, and took off as the gun sounded. For the first seven miles, everything went well.

It was at mile eight that pain from an ongoing stomach problem triggered Simone's first seizure. Tally caught Simone and got her safely to the ground. Simone was completely unconscious for 30 seconds before Tally could rouse her.

And then, remarkably, Simone woke, got up, and started running again.

Over the next 18 miles, Simone had 19 more seizures, each time collapsing and losing consciousness for 30 seconds or more. Each time, Tally caught her, eased her to the ground, and protected her until she regained consciousness. And each time, Tally helped Simone up, and they continued.

'By the time we got to 15 miles," Simone said afterward, "I was in tears because I was so annoyed we had lost the pace. But by that stage I had already had lots of (seizures), and I was still standing, so I thought, stuff it, I'm just going to finish it."

Simone and Tally crossed the finish line in 6½ hours. Considering the day, it was a time even the Kenyans would be proud of.

Preaching Angles: (1) Community, Encouragement, Body of Christ—With our weaknesses and frailties, we all need the support of an encouraging community that will run beside us during the long journey of life. (2) Holy Spirit—this story also beautifully illustrates the presence of the Holy Spirit, the One called to be beside us, our Paraclete.

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