Up until four years ago I had never thought of myself as a runner, having not run since school almost 40 years previously.
But after being introduced to Huddersfield parkrun by my son Jake, who ran at Cannon Hill parkrun while at University in Birmingham, I was hooked from the first run. The atmosphere at Huddersfield, one of the largest parkruns in the UK, was friendly and welcoming.
With my husband, Richard running with me and offering encouraging words and support, improving my parkrun time became a weekly target. Within 18 months I had knocked 10 minutes off the 41+ minutes of that first run and by April 2016 a sub 30 minutes was within reach, especially since I had taken part in a Stainland Lions beginners course, then joined AcreStreetRunners six months previously a friendly group of runners who support each other at parkrun,races and the club’s twice weekly runs.
Suddenly, life changed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2016, followed by surgery in June and chemotherapy starting in August.
I believe my fitness from running helped me recover from the surgery and fortunately was able to continue running throughout the chemotherapy. Cancer takes over your life and running helped me take back some control, deal with the treatment and made me feel ‘normal’ while going through such a difficult time. Speed didn’t matter during the treatment but since the chemotherapy finished last December I am concentrating on improving my personal best parkrun time and aiming to reach that elusive sub-30 minutes.
My parkrun times are once again improving along with my running twice a week with AcreStreetRunners. At their first annual awards ceremony in January I was amazed to be awarded the ‘Most Inspirational Runner’ Award. This is something I would not have achieved without their constant motivation, moral support and friendship.
A year on from my diagnosis I am feeling well, my hair is growing back and I once again ran the Kirklees 10k in May. This race was the last 10k I ran in 2016 before surgery and I was delighted to complete the run within one minute of last year’s time with the support of a wonderful friend, Wendy from AcreStreetRunners, running with me. I am also helping with the Zero to 5k Hero course hosted by AcreStreetRunners, which aims for complete beginners to be able to run 5k by July. This started in May, and takes place each Saturday after the parkrun in Greenhead Park.
This photo is of me with my husband Richard at Huddersfield parkrun, a year since my cancer diagnosis. The encouragement and support from Huddersfield parkrun, my family, friends and AcreStreetRunners has been incredible during the the past year. Thank you very much to you all.
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People have been asking me a lot lately why I am always taking photos at parkrun and never actually running, so I thought I would explain how not being able to run has helped me fall in love with volunteering. After a successful marathon last year, and running parkrun through the winter, I fractured…