Katherine has taken breast cancer research 21 kilometres closer to our 2050 goal. She tells us why she decided to enter the Great North Run for Breast Cancer Now in 2015.

Friday 5 February 2016      Challenge Events blog
Running the Great North Run for Breast Cancer Now

I am not a runner

I am always running. Running late. Running behind. I'm usually running after small children (mandatory) but I also run (voluntarily) to escape said small children and have some "me" time. I do not like to run because I have to or because I want to beat a time. I am not competitive. I once ran a 10km race in which Nell McAndrew overtook me – she was five months pregnant and bounded past me up a muddy hill... A soul-destroying or inspiring moment depending on your take, I guess.

That aside, the only running challenges I've participated in, are archived in the very distant past of sports days. The point is that before completion of the Great North Run 2015, I would never have been labelled as a runner. Now I am.

In September 2014, our very good friend Nicki told us that she’d had a mastectomy earlier in the month. The moment she told us she had cancer is something that I will never forget. Nicki was not supposed to get cancer. She had been training for the Great North Run when diagnosed – she was fit and healthy!

One weekend shortly after this bombshell, when the husbands were away on a stag do, four of us girls met at a local farm to take the children out and I saw how terribly scared Nicki was and truly understood the challenge she was facing, and I knew I wanted to do something to help.

But what could we do? More importantly what would Nicki want us to do to help… she didn't want anything from us. It became very apparent that Nicki "owned" this and whilst we could be there as invisible support, actually, there was nothing we could do.

Knowledge is power

Going forward, I observed Nicki had learnt as much as she could about her cancer and she became increasingly aware of the lack of understanding and education of the disease. Had her initial investigation 18 months earlier been a little more thorough, she would have not received such a serious grading. It became clear that investment into breast cancer research was the most valuable way that we could support Nicki.

I am ashamed to admit that until very recently I had never examined myself – now I do. I had large gaps (and still do) of awareness about breast cancer. Breast Cancer Now focuses on working to bridge these gaps which will reduce the numbers of women (and men) that lose their lives and loves to the disease. Is there any better reason to run for Breast Cancer Now? I didn't think so, and that's how I found myself entering the Great North Run in 2015, alongside Nicki.

Running for Breast Cancer Now

Running the Great North Run for Breast Cancer Now next to the very person who had stage 3 breast cancer, and completing it sub 2 hours 30 minutes, is in the top ten days of my life. It was an honour to run with someone who is so brave and who has been through so much.

Breast Cancer Now were supportive and helpful during the run up to the event – even sending t-shirts for the kids who were running the mini-Great North Run. As for the post run support – the massages were incredible and never has a bag of crisps tasted so good.

Take it from me, have a go.

More information

If like Katherine, you believe the time to act is now, sign up today to take part in the Great North Run for Breast Cancer Now.