The year that Mum died, I decided I was going to run Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life (5K) in her honour. She died in March and the Race for Life was booked in for 10th June. By the time I’d set my heart on doing the race, I had ten weeks to train myself from sometimes getting out of breath by walking up the stairs whilst talking to nailing a 5K in under 30 mins.
I downloaded the Couch to 5K app (and absolutely recommend it if you need some motivation!). It’s a nine week interval programme which you train with 3 times a week. To start off with, I was so pathetic. Sam trained with me – which I am so grateful for – but you would not believe the amount of times I was certain that I’d never be able to run for a solid half an hour. I was questioning myself and my abilities every time we went out for a run. I created a motivational playlist and I thought well…if Mum could go through cancer, chemo and surgery, then I can run for another 60 seconds!
I kept going, I kept trying. It got hot, it got rainy, I got bitten, splashed by mud, I landed my foot funny and hurt my ankle a few times, I needed a poo every time I set foot out the door (which, by the way, is a thing), but I kept going. On the day, I ran the 5K along Bournemouth beach front in just under 29 minutes. It was such an emotional but empowering event, knowing that every other person around you had been seriously affected by cancer in some way. People were high fiving me, smiling at me, and cheering me on. Towards the end of my run, Heather Small’s Proud started to play through my headphones. I cried myself to the finish line. I got my medal and then Sam and I went to the pub.
I gave everyone I could think of the link to my donation page, and I gave out paper copies of my fundraising form to my Nan, my Dad, my Mum’s employer, my colleagues. With the help of them along with my friends and family, my Race for Life donations totalled £1,400. That could have saved somebody’s life! It felt amazing to donate that amount in Mum’s name.
After the Race for Life, I continued running and exercising to keep myself active and healthy. Mum’s cancer made me hold my health and wellbeing in really high regard, whereas before I just kind of plodded along not really caring for what my body was doing. I found running so cathartic, and sometimes I just needed to put my headphones in and run in the fresh air, working through an emotion by thinking about it and accompanying it with relatable music or podcast. Sam and I started going to the gym, we worked out 2-3 times a week together and I went to loads of different classes. I went back to yoga, I worked out at home and continued running. I’ve mostly been doing it all at home recently, but I’ve really missed going to the gym (and the air con at the gym). The Race for Life made me realise and appreciate what my body is capable of, I love what my body can do and I want to take care of it. It’s been so empowering and I’m not sure if I would have come to this conclusion without my health and life being put into perspective by witnessing my Mum’s health decline.
1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Every single penny of donations goes towards Cancer Research UK’s work. I chose to take part in Race for Life to help raise money for CRUK so that others can benefit from their research, and to show my gratitude for such an amazing charity because without it, Mum wouldn’t have had as much of a chance as she did. You can click here to donate.