"It's a marathon, not a sprint!" This is Kumi Okamura’s favourite phrase to describe a lengthy recovery from brain injury.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Nurse Specialist works in the Neuro Sciences department at the John Radcliffe Hospital. She has just got the London marathon under her belt and knows exactly how much hard work and effort is required to complete it. But Kumi isn’t stopping there. Her next challenge is running the Oxford Half Marathon this weekend for Oxford Hospitals Charity.

Kumi explains, “Having always enjoyed sprint running as a teenager I started long-distance running 3 years ago. I find that it helps with my mental health and enables me to decompress from my job and the stresses that come with it.”

Prior to working as a Traumatic Brain Injury Specialist, Kumi had an opportunity to work with motor neuron disease patients for a short period of time. She explains, “Working with these amazing patients and seeing the struggles they face on a daily basis was a key starting point for me with my running. It made me appreciate my body and to not take for granted what my body is able to do.”

“My 1st half marathon was in 2020, which I found really hard. I dedicated this run to all of my patients who couldn’t run due to their illness, as I now realise what a privilege it is to be able to do this.”

And since then she hasn’t stopped running! This year she took on the challenge to run the London Marathon in October for the Oxford Hospitals Charity and has so far raised over £900. “The London Marathon was such an amazing experience, I absolutely loved it.

I am hoping that all the funds raised from that and the Oxford half will go to the neurosciences department and the major trauma centre, where most of my patients are cared for.

I am dedicating the Oxford Half to another one of my patients who this year is returning to education and her dream to study Chemistry in Oxford, and I am so glad that she is coming to cheer me on.”

Claire Hughes from Oxford Hospitals Charity adds: “The love Kumi has for her job and patients is infectious and we are delighted that she has chosen to raise money for the Neuro Sciences Unit.”

If Kumi’s story has inspired you to donate click onto her justgiving page here.