The comedienne Victoria Wood once said “Jogging is for people who aren’t intelligent enough to watch television”… well I don’t know what that says about me because over the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of jogging!
I’m not a natural runner (Mo Farrah’s twins who are just two years old are probably faster than I am), but it is a wonderful way to see our beautiful city. The Taff trail lets you explore for miles, and of course we have stunning parks to enjoy too.
It’s not the first time I’ve put on my trainers and pounded the streets of Cardiff, in 2008 I ran the London Marathon in aid of Cancer Research UK. It was something I had dreamt of doing since watching the event on TV as a child (I’m not that stupid Victoria Wood!) and it lived up to all the expectations.
This time I have another good reason for racking up the miles – it’s one of my oldest friends, Louise Attwood.
Lou and I met when we were just three years old, on the day our mothers took us to David Morgan’s to buy our first ever school uniforms. We struck up a bond straight away and sat next to each other on our first day of school. Fifteen years later, on our last day of school before heading out into the big wide world of university and work, we sat next to each other again to re-live one of our earliest childhood memories.
Sadly, it was just a few years later that Lou’s mum Sharon died of cancer. The news was devastating.
But medical research has come a long way in a short space of time. In 2012 Louise was tested for the gene BRCA 1 which increases the risk of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It was the start of long process of operations that included a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and a hysterectomy all by the age of 32.
Obviously it was traumatic, but Louise is a fighter! Not only has she recovered and is back working full time while caring for her two young sons (she’d probably say she cares for her lovely husband Leo too!) but she has also been running several miles a week as well.
She must be mad I hear you say! Well this is what she told me “My reason was to get my fitness back after being out of it for so long, but to also raise money and give something back to the amazing centre that looked after me so well and saved my life”.
So on Sunday Louise and I are ran the Cardiff Half Marathon in aid of The Breast Centre at Llandough Hospital in the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. “This centre is really pushing boundaries in looking at preventative surgery, and is helping hundreds of young women and their families throughout Wales deal with difficult decisions.” Louise says “as a result of the care and attention they have given me, I no longer worry about not being there to watch my children grow up”.
I’m sure that’s something every parent reading this can relate to, which is why even when I was tired running the Half Marathon, Louise’s strength and determination helped me cross that finish line.