10 years ago, Jess Cass could barely walk 500 metres.
The thought of ever running a marathon was the furthermost thing from her mind as she received her diagnosis - that she would live the rest of her life managing Chron's disease.
Chron's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract and it can't be cured.
After her diagnosis, Miss Cass worked with health professionals to be able to build a healthy, sustainable lifestyle while managing the disease.
In September, Miss Cass ran over 500 kilometres to fundraise for Crohn's and Colitis Australia.
The distance included her first marathon - a feat 10 years ago she said she could not have even dreamed she could achieve.
Training with fellow runner Michelle Dunn, Miss Cass took the extra time on her hands in 2020 to start training.
"I wanted to run the Melbourne Marathon this year but it was obviously cancelled as everything has been," she said.
"I decided to just train anyway and then it fell to the same time as the Live Fearless Challenge which was something I also had wanted to do for some time.
"The two worked in well together."
Crohn's and Colitis Australia is an organisation that makeslife more liveable for over 85,000 Australian men, women and children living with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis - collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease.
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"It's something I'm pretty passionate about sharing it," Miss Cass said.
"It's something people don't talk about. People who are diagnosed, and myself included, suffer in silence for so long.
"It can be a bit embarrassing to talk about before they get a diagnosis. I'm pretty vocal about it."
Miss Cass said she will never forget when she was first diagnosed how sick she was.
"To even contemplate running a marathon was a huge thing," she said.
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"I was just so so so sick."
On Saturday, September 26, Miss Cass completed her first marathon of 42.4km.
"I was hoping to come in under four hours but I thought that was a bit optimistic," she said.
"But I ended up doing it in three hours and 53 minutes.
"I was knackered afterwards but felt so good."
Miss Cass said there were parts of the marathon when she questioned herself and thought what was she doing.
"So many people have reached out since I have done it," she said.
"Normally when you do a marathon it's part of a big event where there are people everywhere and spectators to cheer you on.
"We were just running around here and ran around Lake Lonsdale.
"There were parts of the marathon where it was just us."
Miss Cass said she had a support crew and a friend riding her bike with them the whole way.
"My fiance also rode about half the marathon with us as well," she said.
"We had a few people jump in and run a few kilometres with us as well - it was so nice to see.
"The last couple of k's were definitely the hardest. You've been running for nearly four hours and your legs are screaming at you to stop."
Miss Cass said she is contemplating running another marathon in the future and had such a sense of accomplishment after completing the challenge.
Miss Cass' fundraising page is still open and donations can be made via https://www.livefearlesschallenge.com.au/fundraisers/jessicacass/.
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