Completing a long-distance running event is a great achievement. But for Brighouse parkrunner Roy Lindsell crossing the finish line at the Great North Run was particularly satisfying as he had achieved a target he set himself after overcoming a very tough 12 months.
The 75-year-old has been a runner for most of his life as well as competing in orienteering events for more than 40 years. But he had to take a break from his training when he had seven months of chemotherapy to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and suffered a broken leg and severe bruising to his ribs in falls.
The retired teacher has also been caring for his wife Mary, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and ran the race earlier this month to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK in her honour.
Roy completed the 13.1 miles in two hours 53 minutes.
He said: “The way I discovered I had cancer last year was that for no apparent reason my parkrun times started dropping off. I couldn’t understand why I was getting these slow times. It was too big a decline to be put down to just ageing.
“My doctor said I was anaemic and then eventually after a whole range of blood tests it was discovered I had lymphoma. I had seven months of chemotherapy, which was very unpleasant.
“After I’d finished the cancer treatment, I had a fall and broke my leg. The leg healed well but I then had another fall and badly bruised my ribs, which was a lot more painful. After gradual improvement over eight weeks I fell and injured my ribs again so was in pain for another eight weeks.
“I got back into training in the spring and I entered the Great North Run to give myself a target to help keep me motivated.”
Roy raised £2,800 for pioneering dementia research, smashing his £2,000 target.
He said: “I support Alzheimer’s Research UK as I’m a big believer in medical research. There’s been so much progress made with cancer and with funding I believe there can be similar progress with dementia.
“Alzheimer’s disease is dreadful. The person who I have been married to for 50 years is gradually disappearing and it’s very distressing.
“My wife isn’t aware of what I’ve done, but she was always very supportive of my running, so if she knew she would be proud.”
If you are inspired by Roy’s story, why not sign up for a running event for Alzheimer’s Research UK? We still have places available in a few events this year and are accepting applications for places for next year. For more information click here.
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