I am writing this feeling really proud of myself.  Recently I ran and completed a 10K run at Sherborne Castle, a Race for life for Cancer Research UK.  I am not only proud of myself, but of everyone who gathered in the grounds of the castle on Father’s Day, coming together to fight cancer and raise lots of money for Cancer Research UK.

We arrived at the castle, and my nerves really kicked in as I saw the swarms of ladies dressed head to toe in pink, ready to run the 5 or 10k in 25 degree heat!  All of a sudden, I didn’t feel prepared.

In October last year, I could barely run 10 minutes on the treadmill.  I was unfit, lazy, and wanted to be better.  Going to gym to regularly and keeping it up made me excited to be getting fitter, and changed my attitude towards exercise.  It makes me feel good, healthier, happier and I’m proud of myself and my mini achievements so far.

Entering 2017, I said I wanted to set myself some challenges this year, so I decided to run a race.  I googled what there was around the 5/10k mark in the area around summer time, and I was pleased to see Sherborne was holding a 10k around the beautiful castle grounds.  That’s it, I thought, that’s the race I’ll do.  I roped in my sister and a group of wonderful ladies to join me, and we pencilled it in, at the back of our minds!

Cancer has been very close to home for my family recently.  A couple of years back, my beautiful mother-in-law was diagnosed with Lymphoma. For 6 months of last year, she underwent rigorous treatment for both the cancer via Chemotheraphy, and also went through treatment for her autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s Disease.  She has come out the other side of it, fit and well for the most part, but has suffered with infections and hospital stays as a result of her weak immune system.  We don’t know when she might next have to face treatment, hopefully not for a long time, but it is so wonderful to know that because of that treatment last year, which somebody researched and spent time developing, she is with us alive and well today.  Maura, this race was for you.

Also, I recently lost my elderly Nonno (grandad) who had suffered with prostate cancer, which had spread to his bones.  He was in a hospice and then a nursing home, making it to the impressive age of 90!  My nonna, his wife of 65 years, suffers from dementia, and their whole lives have been turned upside down.  Nonna & Nonna, this race was for you.

10 years ago, my husband’s Aunt Paula died after a short battle with cancer.  She was taken too suddenly at such a young age, because of this disease.  Paula and all the Boyd family, this run was for you.

A dear friend Lucy, who at the young age of 33 has discovered she has cancer for the 4th time in her life.  We all admire how strong she has been in her life, adventurous in travelling the world and making the most of every opportunity presented to her.  She is doing her own amazing things for cancer research, and was inspiring everyone at the event by talking, doing the warm up on stage, and standing in the heat cheering us on.  Lucy, this race was for you.

My mum has all too often seen cancer in her family.  She has lost aunties and her cousin, all too young and I am sad that I haven’t had a chance to get to know these amazing people.  Mum, this race was for you and our wonderful relatives gone too soon.

I have got to know a lovely lady, Franny, who I first met when she photographed Lylah when she was a baby.  We have family and friends in common, our girls do dance classes together and she has taken some amazing family photos I will treasure forever with her talent and her camera.  She is battling cancer as a woman and a mother and everyday I admire her strength and positivity.  Franny, this race was for you.

I could go on.  I know too many people with family and friends who havce been affected by cancer.  This race was for everyone touched by this awful disease.  The ones who know people and see it from afar, the ones who are living it every day, the ones who have come close with scares themselves, and the ones who will get it in the future.  This race was for all of us.

I had to set myself a goal for this race, which was to finish it in under an hour.  After 5k, my friend Sarah and I were on track, pacing well and thinking we could really do this!  Then came the steepest hill I’ve ever run on.  My legs turned to lead and the tears came as I struggled to move my body in the right direction.  I actually felt like I might give up, but Sarah encouraged me on, gave me her hot, sweaty hand and dragged my up that hill!  We walked half of it so I could recover, and then we continued on, running the remaining 4k in sweltering heat, and speeding up at the end for a big finish.  Seeing my husband and children at the finish line, along with my parents and sister’s family and my baby niece, meant everything to me.  My daughter’s little voice cheering me on and her proud smiles.  My son’s cries of “mummy mummy” as I ran past him.  My husband filming my last few metres and me crossing that finish line.

I didn’t do the time I wanted, in fact, because of that hill and the heat, it was the slowest 10K I’ve run, but in the days since, I’ve come to realise that it’s about doing it for this great cause.  It’s about the families gathered, laughing and crying, all to support everyone dealing with cancer.  It’s about the fact that I am improving my fitness and being better for my children and my family.

Please support me, and the wonderful work of Cancer Research UK, by donating (please see link below).  It would be wonderful to raise as much money as we can for to fight cancer.

https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/annmaries-fundraising-page-16

For more posts, please visit my blog at jugglehood.wordpress.com, follow me on facebook.com/Jugglehood, and follow me on Twitter @JugglehoodBlog

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