Woman with mastectomy scars first to run London Marathon topless (2024)

  • Louise Butcher, 50, from Devon is doing the London Marathon TOPLESS
  • READ MORE: Breast cancer survivor who had a double mastectomy now runs topless to show she's 'proud' of her new body - and even took on a marathon 6 weeks after life-saving operation

By Zeenia Naqvee

Published: | Updated:


15 View comments

A mother who had a mastectomy is set to become the first woman to run the London Marathon topless.

Louise Butcher, 50, often jogs around Braunton, Devon, with her top half uncovered to raise awareness of breast cancer and treatment for the illness after she had flat closure surgery in 2022.

The charity worker even completed a virtual London Marathon last year but nowshe's set to run the real thing today.

Running without a top on has become 'the norm' for Louise and she plans to run the entire 26.2 mile route around the UK capital without a t-shirt, come rain or shine, in a bid to de-stigmatise her body.

Having previously worked in the music industry, Louise found her self-worth was dependent on her appearance, but sinceher mastectomy, she strives to challenge this beauty standard.

Louise Butcher, 50, often runs around topless in her Devon village to reduce the stigma around breast cancer survivors' bodies. This week she's gearing up to do the London Marathon

The mother-of-two had a mastectomy in 2022 after being diagnosed with lobular breast cancer in April 2022

She said: 'I'm so excited - I can't imagine it.I keep looking at videos of the day from previous years online.

'I'm just thinking about the atmosphere - I never thought I'd get there.

'The topless thing for me now is normal; it's not even crossed my mind, not in the slightest.

'I've ran every run topless for a year. I'm not going to be thinking about that whilst I'm running - it's my norm.

'I feel much stronger and better for this marathon than the others.

'I did my 20.5 mile run on Monday and it was amazing and I felt like I could have carried on.

'I'm still getting messages from women that it makes them feel better. I know it's the right thing to do'.

Louise was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer in April 2022.

Louise found a lump in her breast by checking for them herself and the diagnosis was later confirmed by an ultrasound

Louise previously completed a virtual London Marathon

She found a lump in her breast by checking herself and the diagnosis was confirmed by an ultrasound.

Louise refused to let the diagnosis or radiotherapy treatment stop her from running and hopes to complete her latest challenge in under five hours.

She said: 'I'm aiming for four hours 46 minutes but with my training, I think I'll be able to do it 4 hour 30 - but you never know what will happen.

'It's amazing - there's so much awareness around flat closure surgery and the whole aspect of women not having to have stuff put back.

'I don't think there's a better way to do it than running topless.With the Breast Cancer Now team, there's 250 of us running.

'I've done so much training in the cold and wet so if it's raining I'm used to it without the top.'

The London Marathon starts in Blackheath and passes through many of London's famous landmarks.

On her reasoning for wanting to run topless, Louise said: 'It was so dark in 2022 with the cancer, running topless didn't feel brave, I felt like I needed to do it.

The parent has been putting in the hard work to train for the notoriously strenuous marathon


A double mastectomy is the removal of both breasts.

This is a way of treating breast cancer and is often done to women who are at a high risk of the disease returning after therapy.

The treatment may also be suitable for women who are unable to have radiation therapy, have a tumour larger than 5cm across or have a mutation, such as in the BRCA gene, that increases their cancer risk.

Most women stay in hospital for one or two nights but are able to return to their regular activities within around four weeks.

Side effects can include pain, swelling, a build up of blood or fluid at the surgery site, limited arm movement and numbness in the chest or upper arm.

After surgery, some women may wish to have the breast mound rebuilt to restore its appearance in breast reconstruction surgery.

Some patients may require other treatment after a mastectomy such as radiation, chemo or hormone therapy.

Source: American Cancer Society

<!- - ad: https://mads.dailymail.co.uk/v8/us/femail/none/article/other/mpu_factbox.html?id=mpu_factbox_1 - ->


'When I first did it, it wasn't tough, it just felt a bit weird but now I don't blink an eye - it's who I am now.

'I was running once or twice a week before the diagnosis, but six months before I was diagnosed I started training for the virtual marathon and since then I haven't stopped.

'It's just things about inspiring women to have body positivity - even women who haven't had breast cancer. We don't have to feel shame.

'A lot of women who have reconstruction do so as they feel like they want to fit into society and some of them regret it and end up going flat anyway.

'It's opened up the argument and the perception of what society looks at breasts as'.

You can support Louise's fundraiser here.

CancerLondonLondon Marathon

Woman with mastectomy scars first to run London Marathon topless (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated:

Views: 6040

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.