In 2017 I decided that it was time to join a running club, although I felt really nervous – the words ‘running club’ conjured up a scary place full of ‘real’ runners – but I needn’t have worried. I went to my local jogscotland group in Insch in Aberdeenshire and was greeted by a lovely bunch of people who were friendly and encouraging.
I made friends quickly and I adored our Monday night sessions. It wasn’t just about getting physically fit as it helped us all mentally too. In early 2018 I became a jog leader – I loved being able to encourage others to achieve their running goals.
Unfortunately in September of 2019 I found lump in my right breast which turned out to be an aggressive form of breast cancer which as you can imagine, turned my world upside down. My JSI friends supported me amazingly and whilst I awaited my treatment plan I carried on running – I even managed a couple of half marathons! Running at this time helped me so much to come to terms with what was ahead.
My chemotherapy started a few weeks later and I continued to run with my JSI friends but noticed I was slowing down. I also got a few funny looks running around the village with my bald head, but I didn’t care, I was still running.
Chemo was not kind to me. I managed to run until just after my third chemo session when things got too tough for me to continue. Yet again my JSI friends rallied around me, offering support and bringing gifts. One friend would send me pictures of where she was running, telling me that soon enough I would be out there, running around once again.
At the end of March 2020, on my birthday, I had my operation to remove what was left of my tumour in my breast. It was the last breast op in the hospital until further notice as Covid had hit and we had gone into our first lockdown just the day before. I had to go in for the op totally alone but I didn’t care. I just wanted rid of the cancer. When I came out, I then had to shield, as due to the chemo I had little immunity. But every day I could feel myself getting stronger and I just couldn’t wait to get out and get running again.
I started my radiotherapy in June and in July JSI put out their lockdown challenge. Run 50, 100 or 150K during July. This was all that I needed! I started to run around my garden but was distraught when I couldn’t run 2K. But the challenge was on, and typically for me I went for it!
I decided to run 5Ks with a different friend from JSI and in the end I managed the 150K. I did have to stop sometimes to get my breath but I ran it all. I was so happy. In the October I ran the virtual London Marathon and since then I’ve ran it virtually once more and in London twice. I’ve also managed two ultras too.
Cancer has changed my life and has made me even more determined to achieve my goals.
Unfortunately JSI stopped for a while and I missed it so much, but I carried on running with all of those friends I’d made. Then in August this year a group of some of the original jog leaders got together to start JSI up once more and I’m absolutely delighted to be involved. We hope that everyone who comes along will enjoy the benefits of being a member of our lovely friendly jog group, JogScotland Insch.
I survived breast cancer in lockdown – now I’m jog leading again.Back