Chicago Marathon: Stoma runner's hopes after New York snub

A runner with a stoma who had to pull out of the New York City Marathon is hoping to compete in another race in the United States.

Gayle Redman, a GP from Flint, was told by New York Road Runners that her supplies vest did not adhere to rules set by police.

But organisers of the Chicago Marathon have said her stoma and water supplies were allowed if she secured a place.

Gayle said it was "fantastic" news, but called for accessibility at all races.

Following surgeries for endometriosis Gayle has a stoma and needs to self-catheterise six times a day.

A stoma connects to the digestive or urinary system and allows waste to be diverted from the body and into a bag.

After competing in numerous events over the past decade, Gayle said it was time organisers were more accommodating, particularly as "everybody's stoma is totally different".

"Accessibility shouldn't be this difficult anymore. We should at least be able to have conversations about it," she said.

"There are so many other races around the world that just don't have bans on race vests and hydration bladders.

"Add in the ecological side of it, encouraging people to us reusable kit, and then the fact that it's actually so easy to do security checks. It's flabbergasting. Where is the issue?

"Security is absolutely important, but there needs to be a process in place."

Six weeks after emailing the Chicago Marathon organisers, she was delighted to be told that, if she gets a place, her kit would be checked then labelled as excluded so she could run with it.

"I'm so pleased. Just that reassurance that I know for certain there's not going to be an issue," she said.

"I'm going to be able to sort this out and just go and do my training and turn up on the day and run. It's just fantastic."

She is concerned other runners might take risks with their health and safety if they were not allowed their supply vests as they may not want to lose their place in a race.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon said participants go through a security check before reaching the race's starting point in Grant Park.

"We recognize unique instances where, due to medical requirements, participants need to bring items that would otherwise be deemed prohibited," a spokeswoman said, explaining how those items can then be marked for further checks "if necessary".

If Ms Redman enters and wins a place in the 2024 event, the organisers said they would work with her.

"Each request is reviewed, and exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis," they added.

Watch on iPlayer banner
Watch on iPlayer banner
Watch on iPlayer footer
Watch on iPlayer footer