A COURAGEOUS Redditch woman who won the heart of thousands with her marathon exploits has died after a brave fight against cancer.
Lizzie Tovey was just 47 years old and died on Boxing Day, leaving husband Mark and a devastated community of runners and wellwishers.
Lizzie was a key figure on Redditch’s Saturday morning parkruns and following her passing ‘Tovey’s Corner’ at the top of the hill in Arrow Valley Park and the spot where she and Mark always acted as marshalls, was festooned in bouquets from brokenhearted friends and colleagues.
A member of four running clubs, Lizzie raised thousands of pounds for charity with her exploits and her undaunted spirit burned bright right until the very end, said running buddy and Macmillan Cancer Support champion Sonia Tudor.
Lizzie grew up in Birmingham before moving to Redditch with Mark some 20 years ago.
However when she was in her 30s she started losing her eyesight, leaving her virtually blind in her right eye and with only limited vision in her left.
Unbowed, she continued working, initially for Redditch Borough Council before being poached by the Civil Service.
She only took up running in 2017-18, starting on the ‘couch potato’ course.
“She was working from home and wanted to get out of the house,” said Mark.
Lizzie went on to complete the 2019 London Marathon with guide runner Corin Elliott, from Alcester, raising more than £6,000 for Guide Dogs in the process.
Not only that but she also played a key part in ensuring that guide runners also got a medal for completing the event, something that went unrecognised before.
However in February 2020 she was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of breast cancer.
Undeterred she took up the ‘2.6 challenge’ for charity – running and walking 26.2miles between chemotherapy cycles – raising more than £2,500 for the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
Even as the cancer spread throughout her body Lizzie took up one final running challenge, doing her own lockdown ‘London Marathon’ with her running buddies, including Sonia Tudor.
Setting off from the Mailbox in Birmingham they finished back in Redditch to fulfil the 26.2 mile course, raising more than £7,000 for Macmillan.
Sonia, who in her Macmillan role was with her and Mark when she died, said: “I am heartbroken. She had put up a brave fight and even though you know the end is coming, there’s always that little bit of hope.
“I am sure there will be a guard of honour of brightly coloured runners lining the road for her funeral.”