Race for life, race for love

I’ve been training hard for the Chelmsford Race for Life, I’m out 3 times a week and really enjoying the challenge. I’m not sure I’ll be able to run 5k in 30 minutes by 10 July (in hindsight, a bit of a tall order for a newbie!) but I’ve definitely made improvements on my pace over the past few weeks.

I entered my first Park Run this Saturday. What an amazing group of volunteers who put this event on every week, come rain or shine. Despite the humidity, I managed a time of 34 mins 36 sec. Running with others really changes your mindset. I’m usually quite good at pacing myself, but I was swept away with everyone and found the last kilometre quite an effort. I was really pleased with the outcome, despite the young girl who sprinted the last 100 metres to pip me on the finish line!

James and the kids came to cheer me on; it was great to have their support, especially for my first Park Run. Definitely the first of many.

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But as I’ve been training, a different, unexpected challenge has arisen.

My welcome pack from Cancer Research UK arrived in the post a few weeks ago, and my 10 year old daughter Millie took great interest in reading through the information. She quizzed me over breakfast about my reasons for taking part. I spoke to her gently about my father, the grandad that she never met. We’ve discussed this in the past, and I’m always more than happy to help keep his memory alive by talking about him. I explain that he had a brain tumour, a particularly nasty one (a Grade 4 which I’ll never forget the name of: Glioblastoma Multiforme). That he would have adored having grandchildren, reading stories to them, pottering in the garden with them and giving them great big hugs, just like he did with me. 

We chat about a girl at Millie’s school who sadly died 18 months ago, also from a brain tumour. She was a few years older than Millie, but she had paired up with her at Eco Group when Millie was shy and needed some encouragement. Millie has very fond memories of her.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. Young, old. Male, female. Whatever your race or religion, it doesn’t care. I’d love to be able to shield Millie for the hurt and pain that cancer causes, but it’s all around her already. So I feel honesty is the best way forward, at an age appropriate level. I think she appreciates my candidness, she certainly feels able to talk openly with me if she has any questions or worries.

So then she say’s to me:

“Mummy, can I run the Race for Life with you? You can run for your daddy, and I can run for Lily-Mae.”

Of course. Absolutely. Lets do it, you and me. We’ll walk, run, jog, dance around the course. Forget my selfish 5k-in-30 minute ambitions. I’ll save those for a Park Run.

So I have my running/jogging/walking buddy for Race for Life! It wasn’t the person I expected, but it couldn’t be more perfect.


I’m still training, you’ll find out at the crack of dawn enjoying the sunrise while working on my pace. But on 10 July, I’ll be hand in hand with my own little ray of sunshine, remembering those that have gone before us and making memories of our own.

Here’s my Just Giving page if you’d like to sponsor us.

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