News - 6th July 2017

Sun Smart parkrunning


Susan Crammond is a mother-of-3 and regular parkrunner at Fletcher’s Cove. As a fair-skinned red-head, Susan is pro-active in having moles on her skin checked by a dermatologist.


“Earlier this summer, I had to have two moles biopsied. These procedures did not come as a huge surprise to me, However, the dermatologist could tell that a great deal of my moles was caused by sun exposure as a child. The shock was that I had a group of pre-cancerous cells on my nose. Cells I had never noticed. So, the dermatologist froze them off there using liquid nitrogen. A blister formed which did not look attractive for a couple of weeks, but it sparked numerous conversations about the dangers of the sun”.


Such conversations are what College Park parkrunner, Frank Perna, an expert in skin-cancer and physical activity research at the National Cancer Institute, revels in.


“While physical activity has numerous benefits, it’s significantly associated with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and its proximal risk factor, sunburn (experienced by over a third of U.S. adults yearly).  However, the physically active do appear to use sunscreen to a similar degree as those who are inactive. The problem is, active people, and runners as a subset of this group, likely have a greater need to use a combination of sun-protective strategies and may require greater vigilance when using sunscreen since sweat can diminish its effectiveness.  Fortunately, we’re seeing research projects and public health efforts aimed at improving use a combined-approach/Sun Smart strategy for sun protection, which for example may include, innovation in clothing weave and materials that enhance comfort and convey sun-protection, consideration of natural shade on pathways for recreation and active transport, and provision of sunscreen dispensers in select areas or events. Behaviorally, sun safely can also be conveyed to appeal to sport performance motivations (i.e., science indicates being sun smart is highly compatible with performance and may even enhance it).  Still, from a public health perspective, there’s a long way to go as far as being sun safe with your sport, but great opportunity exists too”.


Our partner, the American Cancer Society’s advice to protect yourself:


Remember to Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap! when you’re outdoors:


  • Slip on a shirt,
  • Slop on broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher,
  • Slap on a hat,
  • and Wrap on sunglasses


Remember, The American Cancer Society is here around the clock, rain or shine, to help people reduce their risk of skin cancer, to find skin cancer’s causes and cures through research, and to support those who face the disease.


As Susan’s testifies “Being sun smart daily is essential for me now”. For more information on being safe in the sun, visit

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