Running a New Liver

On Jan 14th 2017 Ellie from the We Are Runners team had a very unexpected liver transplant after just a few weeks of feeling unwell. She is recovering nice and quickly and has entered to race the 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3k and 400m relay races at the British Transplant Games at the end of July this year – six and a half months post transplant. Punchy! Before the transplant Ellie had been running for about two and half years, her parkrun PB is 21:02 and she’s never raced any of the above distances. Riiiight. Here’s how she’s doing…

Just over six weeks post liver transplant and today I went for my second run! SECOND. I think it was the second happiest run of my whole life. I was ruddy beaming.

You might think run is a strong word for today’s effort – yes I awkwardly tried overtaking a dog walker and yes it was as if in slow motion and yes they eyed up this lycra clad, shuffling, watch-watching, grinning specimen with concern – but it was the closest I’ve come to a run in a long long time.

I really thought I’d be embarrassed about how slowly I’m going – I was when I started getting ill and my pace got destroyed. But I’m too happy to care today. I think I’d skip if I wasn’t concerned my new liver would fall out.

Apparently the main risk of exercise after abdominal surgery is a hernia. So I’ve been diligently doing strengthening exercises over the last few weeks (and I never do anything diligently, this is great progress in my life). About 30 mins every evening, all core stability stuff, all very controlled and slow and I think that, combined with lots and lots of walking, is to thank for being able to run so soon. Although I will say it was quite shocking when I started the exercises and realised just how weak I’d become…mind you I didn’t have very far to fall tbh.

First run just under six weeks post transplant:
10 x 30s slow jog (just above walking pace) [30s walk]
Second run, just over six weeks post transplant (four days after first run):
8 x 60s slow jog [60s walk]

The British Transplant Games are in less than five months…so, unless the other competitors are dog walkers, I’ve got a bit of work to do.


If you’ve had a liver transplant and are using this as a guide for getting back to fitness please consult with your doctor first – everybody’s recovery is unique and timing is crucial. And please definitely get in contact with Ellie on info@wearerunners.uk if you want to chat about anything transplant / running related.