A MARATHON runner who is terminally ill is launching a new Parkrun event to help people who have been affected by cancer.
Tony Collier, who is secretary of Styal Running Club, says there is strong evidence that exercise prior to and after cancer treatment has huge benefits.
And he says Wilmslow will be leading the way when 5k Your Way launches at Wilmslow Parkrun this weekend.
“The Move Charity, in conjunction with Parkrun, is rolling out 5k Your Way nationwide to support people living with and beyond cancer,” said Tony, who is a qualified leader in running fitness.
“I am on my own personal cancer journey and when I heard about 5k Your Way I took it to the team at Wilmslow Parkrun to see if they would support me in making Wilmslow the first Parkrun in Greater Manchester to have a 5k Your Way and I got a resounding yes.”
Tony was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. He was training to run one of the world’s toughest ultra marathons and ran the Manchester and Paris marathons a week apart when he started to have ‘horrible, niggling groin strain’.
He went to see a sports injuries doctor who sent him for tests the next day.
Tony said: “He rang me that evening to tell me he was pretty sure that I had prostate cancer. Further tests over the next few days confirmed this and that the cancer had metastasised into the bones in my pelvis, hips, ribs, spine, neck and skull.
“I was given a worst case prognosis of two years and had effectively gone from training for an ultra marathon to terminally ill in 36 hours.
“I’m dealing with cancer myself and I believe that my fitness pre diagnosis and the fact that I’ve been able to continue to exercise since I started treatment will actually prolong my prognosis.
“Since then I have become an awareness volunteer speaker for Prostate Cancer UK.”
It is believed the benefits of exercise include reducing cancer fatigue, helping to preserve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, improving psychological well-being and it may even reduce chemotherapy side effects and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
5k Your Way will provide a monthly support network for those living with and beyond cancer. It will help to build friendships, encourage participation in physical activity and improve confidence and self-esteem. It will also help to reduce social isolation and connect with already existing community groups.
Anyone who is living with or beyond cancer, families, friends and healthcare professionals are invited to walk, jog, run, cheer or volunteer at the 5k Your Way on the last Saturday or every month.
The first event will be at 9am this Saturday, February 23. Participants are asked to meet no later than 8.40am on the tennis court, The Carrs, SK9 4AA (50p for car parking if staying for coffee or 20p otherwise). The events itself is free.
Tony said: “I see this as very much a support community and the two most important things are that the vast majority of participants will be walking the Parkrun and we will then go for a coffee to get to know each other and build a support network.”
You can read more about Tony’s challenge for 2019 at justgiving.com/970miles4men
For more information about the event visit 5kyourway.org