News - 13th August 2019

Running after cancer

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy tells us about the integral part Templemore parkrun has played in her cancer recovery journey, and breaking that 35 minute barrier.


On the last weekend in June 2017, I became very ill and was given a bowel cancer diagnosis just a few weeks later.


The chemotherapy followed, culminating in me undergoing extensive surgery at the beginning of January 2018. But I didn’t want to stop going to parkrun.


On World Cancer Day, February 2018, I slowly walked Templemore parkrun.


Then there was more chemo, and its side effects, and there came a time when I couldn’t participate in the 5k anymore, but I often made my way to the post-parkrun ‘breakfast club’ to be with my fellow parkrunners.


A year later I finished my chemotherapy. Following some minor surgeries, I managed to get back to parkrun on a more regular basis and set myself a goal to work towards – breaking the 35 minute barrier.


The first time I went back to parkrun at the beginning of 2019 I finished in a time of 45:36. By the middle of the year, I wanted to achieve my goal and I’m pleased to say I finally got there on 13 July! It was such a great feeling.


While this may be considered slow to some people, to me it felt like I had won an olympic gold medal!


The benefits of exercise from both a physical and mental health perspective should not be underestimated and the encouragement and support from my fellow parkrunners has, in no small way, contributed to my wellbeing during my illness and recovery.


Thank you.


Caroline Kennedy


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