As we have run this 10k run for the last two years, it seemed an appropriate challenge to try and run/walk it again this year to show my cancer, dormant or not, I’m not giving in to it, and if it wants to take me down it’s going to have to work really hard, and cancer is a lazy parasite, it just wants you to sit there so it can crawl all over you. I was diagnosed with incurable cancer in September 2018, but it could be treated, managed and you could live with it , then that changed to terminal cancer in October 2018, giving me an average of a year. I think the way it was told to us made me dig my heels in and grit my teeth, and say sod it, your telling me I’m dying, I’m telling you I’m not. We were smiling at each other, which I think made my oncologist rather confused. It now became a battle between us, he was convinced I would die, because of the data, and I was convinced I would live because I didn’t feel ill enough to be so ill I was about to die from this. I can be a stubborn git when I want to. I think my oncologist had become immune to the distress it causes and was just expecting the same emotional scenes from us, my wife was very upset, so I now had to prove him wrong, for my wife sake. The stakes were now very high, and I was going to win.
Nine months after the terminal diagnosis, my cancer had been dormant for four months, and I wouldn’t say I was ready for a 10k run, but I was going to give it my best effort, hoping to get around in under two hours, but with 1hr 22 mins as my target, as that has been my time for the last two years. being off work since September and having six sessions of chemo, I had done plenty of walking, but couldn’t swim during chemo and hadn’t run since July. When my chemo stopped in February I was backing the pool trying to swim up and down again, being quite happy with my progress, slowly improving, and on one occasion managing 170 lengths, this hasn’t been repeated yet, despite trying. I have done two short runs of about a mile prior to the 10k run, the first I stopped four times and the second I got round most of the mile, but starting to run again after a short stop and I had pain in my left calf, which caused me to limp for about four or five days. The race wasn’t looking very promising based on these two runs, but this time it’s about taking part not trying to break any records.
My team of elite runners ‘Daves rotten Runners’ elite (p)athletic team, is a range of capabilities, from the very useless to the not quite totally useless runners, but with one exception, David, is that me or my son, that’ll be my son then. The rest of us Sonia my wife, daughter Lib, and another son Tom. My daughter Lib got out of it this year, as her daughter Jess wasn’t feeling well, and to cap that, my son Tom stayed over to save a really early start, but realised he’d forgotten his number, Lib offered him her number, but Tom was going to go back and get it, possibly missing the race, so he did use Libs number, which has the timing chip on it. Panic over and Jess didn’t look well so it turned out ok in the end, Tom got his run, and Lib stayed with Jess. As it turned out Jess had sepsis and was admitted to hospital for a couple of days, but I’m very relieved to say Jess is home now and on the mend, but goes to hospital daily for antibiotics for the next week or so.
We get to central London and park in Mayfair, as you do. We got a NCP car park, pre booked for £12.95, for all day on a Sunday, that’s cheap for London, let alone Mayfair. But had the ULEZ charge to pay as well, another £12.95 just make sure you pay it on the day or you’ll get a big fine for late or non payment. Ten minutes later and we’re using the toilets near the start, as the first wave of runners are starting, we were in pen F. There were eight of these to separate the different grades of runners, quickest going first and slowest at the back, we weren’t quite last. I got some t-shirts for us to run in a day or two before the race, I’m so organised. These are from the charity ‘Clowns in the Sky’, which we have raised money for them the last two years we’ve run this race. ‘Clowns in the Sky’ was set up by Richard and his wife Lyn in memory of their daughter Jennifer, who passed away at three years old to a brain tumour. It’s just a small charity that helps children in hospital for brain tumours at a large number of hospitals across the country, a great charity we have had the honour of supporting for a few years now.
The day before the race I got some marker pens, borrowed from Jess, and put the Macmillan logo on one of the sleeves on each of the t-shirts, again more fine organising from me, the plan was to get some proper iron on stickers from Macmillan, I’m desperately short of a ’roundtoit’ I must get one. On my shirt I wanted something on there to say a bit about my cancer and that I was running 10k with it, I came up with ‘Running 10k with lung cancer, sssshhh it’s asleep’, and had a little notice on the word cancer, ‘do not disturb’, not brilliant but got the message across. I also put our Just Giving link on it to , but forgot the ‘s’ on the end of Daves, so had to put a ^ and a ‘s’ at the top, highly professional, I’m not going to be a tattooist either.
As we got in our pen, pen F, we weren’t far from the start, the last two years we had got there early and spent ages waiting and walking very slowly to the start, but this year we got there as it started knowing our pen would not be crossing the start line until nearly 10.00, with the race starting at 09.30. There’s a great atmosphere there, music playing, the announcer calling out peoples names and what charities are being supported, and any fancy dress going by. We crossed the start line at 09.50, game on, now aiming to cross the finish by 11.12, I’m not rushing and not worried if I don’t beat it but it is my target. Last year I got off to a very slow start, and was walking on the first straight, all my team had kept running and left me behind. As you run, you go up one road then turn around so I would see them a few times and wave. But this year I was running slowly but ok, not stopping until my first water stop, a few mouthfuls and the rest over my head, I have my sun hat on too, as I burn so easily. I did offer to run this with a red mohican haircut if we got enough sponsors, but it’s been slow this year with sponsors, so I got out of that one, but would of enjoyed running with that hair cut, despite my family denying any knowledge of who I was. Our fitness freak of a son Davey, shot off at the start and I never saw him again till the end, he is fit. Tom just plodded along at his own pace, Sonia caught him a few times and would have a walk, but soon got to him again. Tom knew if he stopped he wouldn’t start again, he also managed to avoid all the photographers along the route, there were no official photos of his number. I would wave every time I saw them, and got one to photograph the back of my shirt. As I I was running I would get a pat on the back, “well done fella” “amazing” “go you”, that felt so good, and I felt so proud that I was doing this, despite being told nine months before I only had an average of a year to live, cancer ain’t gonna beat me! I was starting to struggle in the second half of the race, I saw Tom and Sonia on Westminster bridge, so I was really pleased with that, even though they were going the opposite way to me, and it did seem to take a long time to get to where they were when I saw them. Around Parliament square towards Victoria then back and along to the finish line, I looked at one clock and it was about half eleven, I wasn’t beating my time from last year, but as I approached the finish, I started to get emotional knowing I hadn’t let cancer beat me, and where ever my fight with cancer went, I wasn’t going to give up. I’m trying to stop myself from full on blubbering as I cross the finish line, and I check their clock and its 11.05, that means I have beaten last years time, this is great, I get my medal and a goody bag, as I carry on the rest of my team are there, we’re all smiling but I grab my wife and hug her, I’m crying now, they’re all wondering what’s wrong, “what’s wrong?” “are you ok”, I tell them “I’ve done it, I beat it!”, I have so much emotion inside me, it’s coming out now but not for long, a minute or two and I’m ok. All through this part of my life, I haven’t had a good cry yet, I have one inside me but it won’t come out, this is the most emotional I’ve been on this little blip in my life, and I’m feeling great. We get our photo done and take a few pics of each other, as we walk up to Trafalgar Square , we see the other ‘Clowns in the Sky’ team, they have a few running today, Richard normally runs this race, but is up in Newcastle, delivering some activity packs to hospitals around there with his wife Lyn, this has allegedly been booked in for a long time so he was unable to race today, but he is a fit bugger, he’s done the London marathon loads, and when that was full he got put into the Edinburgh marathon. We have a hug a chat and a photo with them. We wonder up to get our t-shirt, but there’s a huge queue for it so we don’t bother with this years shirt, we have our medals and that’s enough. We all beat our times from last year, Davey getting in at 46 mins, amazing, Tom 1hr 10 and Sonia 1hr 11 with me bringing up the rear with 1hr 15, I’m so happy with this time, its been a great race, a great day, and all getting good times.
Training for next year will start soon, but not until my legs stop aching, and I’ve also hurt my ribs, feels like I’ve strained the bottom rib on my left, as long as I don’t breath in I’m fine, moving around in bed is quite painful too, but with each day after its obviously getting better, which is a relief, so no doctors or hospital then, which is always a worry when you get pains. i did have cancer in my ribs, which has died off, but did it weaken them? It does seem to be getting better now though. Thats it for this week, next Friday I am filming my story in Liverpool for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, for an advertising campaign being shown in November, so my next blog will be nearer two weeks time and I’ll let you know how I get on there. I’m away and am also having a go at driving a steam train, a busy week. 100% positive, go vegan, take CBD oil, and have chemo. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer!