Back with a vengeance
Written by Lisa Vincent
The London to Brighton Ultra Challenge was a natural choice for me for 2018. Last year I had to give up at 60K as I had heatstroke. I was so disappointed and immediately entered the Thames ultra challenge, which I completed three months later. There will be no heatstroke for me this year. I aim to tackle this with a vengeance. I have a point to prove!
I have taken part in 3 previous Ultra Challenges, all in the last 2 years, and I have surprised myself! It seemed an impossible task at first, but with lots of training, and a few laughs along the way, I found I could actually do it! Fitting training in with my full time job and two teenagers has not been easy though, and I try to walk a few miles early in the mornings, with longer walks at weekends.
Previously I had fundraised with friends, choosing their charities and raising £10,000 pounds altogether, but this year is different! It’s a family affair, for a very good reason.
Eighteen months ago my Uncle Mark was diagnosed with bowel cancer, but the problem was he had had symptoms like anaemia, tiredness, and a bloated stomach, but he was just treated with iron supplements for over 6 months. It was his idea to have a stool test, he was in his early 50s so it wasn’t done as a regular test for him. In a short time had had a portion of his bowel and peritoneum removed and had been spared a colostomy. After grueling chemotherapy he is now, thankfully, cancer free and raising awareness of the disease through Facebook, and fund raising for Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer.
I have proved to myself that I am capable of doing far more than I ever thought possible.
At this stage, I was considering that they would be a good charity for my next Ultra Challenge, but this was consolidated by the news that a very dear friend of our family, only in her early 60s, was also diagnosed with bowel cancer, albeit a very different sort. She had been bleeding from what she assumed were piles, or haemorrhoids, and was surprised they weren’t getting better. She felt very well in herself. It was only after several different creams and potions from her GP that she was sent to see a specialist who diagnosed her with a cancerous lesion in her rectum, after numerous undignified tests. She had radiotherapy, and a few months later she has a permanent colostomy and is in the midst of debilitating chemotherapy.
In both cases, the prognosis is good. However, these two very different types of cancer made me realize that endless research and also raising awareness of the disease is a matter of great urgency.
These two people are very much part of our family circle, so it seemed that family should be involved! My Dad has been doing long distance walking for years, so it should have been a ‘no brainer’ to ask him to join me. However, Dad likes to set his own pace and his legs are a lot longer than mine, so he usually does his own thing, but this was a cause close to his heart, and he said ‘yes’! My younger sister was harder to convince as she has a young son and a full time job and time is important to her. Long distance walking means a long time training! She prefers running and the gym! However, she has signed up and we are all deep into training now!
The Ultra Challenges have given me confidence, and a bit of weight loss along the way. I have proved to myself that I am capable of doing far more than I ever thought possible. Personal achievement and money for charity as well! And lots of fresh air and ‘family time’! Bring on 26 May 2018!