If you've ever been through the village of Braunton, Devon, you might have seen a woman running without a top Known as "the topless runner," Louise Butcher, 50, has a deeper reason behind her actions.
Raising awareness for breast cancer
Louise underwent a mastectomy in 2022 after being diagnosed with lobular breast cancer. Now, she runs topless every day to raise awareness about breast cancer. "It's really empowering, and I do it every day. It's about raising awareness for breast cancer and normalizing it a bit. It's become a norm for me now. It feels weird when I wear a top to run!" she says to Metro.co.uk.
For Louise and the locals, her topless runs have become so routine that it's surprising when she wears a top. "I went out the other day with a top because it was a bit cold. A woman stopped me on the street and asked why I was wearing a top," she shares.
After her diagnosis, Louise, who had always been an avid runner, continued her training. "I ran once or twice a week before the diagnosis, but six months before I was diagnosed, I started training for a virtual marathon. Since then, I haven't stopped—I've completed three marathons in the last 12 months," she adds.
Future plans and swimming without a top
In addition to running, Louise has now set her sights on organizing a topless swim before her London Marathon next year. "It will be a swim that promotes body positivity, and it's about getting other women to participate with me," she reveals.
Louise's story serves as an inspiration and a reminder of the importance of body positivity, self-acceptance, and awareness of serious illnesses like breast cancer.
You can watch Louise on one of her runs in the video below