The Human Race

Runner’s World

August 1998

When it comes to race supporters, you can’t get much more unusual than Uri Geller. The celebrity psychic turned uphuman1 at last year’s London Marathon to cheer on the woman he’d coached back to fitness, 31-year-old Ruth Steward.

Steward contacted Geller six months before the event when she narrowly survived a serious bicycle accident. “It was in November 1996,” she recalls, “and I flew over the handlebars and hit my head, fracturing my skull and facial bones, damaging one eye and breaking my teeth. I spent a fortnight in hospital after having a blood clot removed from my brain, and when I got home my acceptance for London was waiting on the doorstep.”

By Christmas, the determined charity worker had resumed running, but she felt her confidence had been badly dented. “I knew Uri had helped other sportspeople,” she explains, “and I thought I could do with some psychic coaching. I contacted the television programme Beyond Belief and they faxed my letter direct to Uri.

He called back within the hour and agreed to help me.” Geller used visualisation techniques to restore Steward’s confidence and even turned up at the start to wish her luck

‘It was amazing,’ she enthuses. “I finished in 4:10, yet six months before I had nearly died.’

Just six months later she clocked a 3:37 PB at New York, going on to complete this year’s London in 3:3S. Each time she races, Steward raises money for charity but that’s not her only reason for taking part. “When I run now I think ‘Hooray’ I’m alive! she says. ‘It’s a real celebration.”


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