MEN WE ARE WITH YOU: Tynemouth runner Kerry spells out her support for Prostate Cancer UK
Image: Gary Haines, Prostate Cancer UK
Over 10,000 runners, including Kerry Jobling from Tyne and Wear, have gone the extra mile and taken part in Prostate Cancer UK’s new running challenge, Run the Month: Marathon Edition, so far raising over £2.2m to fund lifesaving research to stop the disease wrecking lives.
With the virtual challenge set to run 26.2 miles throughout January, the Tynemouth-based doctor, 31, was inspired to act after worrying about the impact of a disease that affects around 400,000 men in the UK on her loved ones.
A novice runner, who had never before bested three miles on a run, Kerry decided to go above and beyond by setting a target of two marathons during January – and was delighted to accumulate 53 miles and raise £473.
To add an exciting extra element to the challenge Kerry was inspired by one of her fellow runners, Carl Smith, via the 2,000-strong Facebook group to take on a running route which would spell out a letter making up phrases relating to the cause.
Between them, team members created 'Men We Are With You', ‘Prostate Cancer UK’ and 'Run The Month'.
After Manchester-based Carl shared his idea, he was inundated with responses and letter requests from fellow participants unbeknown to him, across the UK. Using running apps on their mobile phones, the team set to work with each letter spelled out in their local communities thanks to some hugely creative pavement-pounding – and an iconic image was created.
Kerryopted to spell out the letters O and E, admitting the alphabetical quest broke the monotony of her runs. Circling one road nearby created the perfect O while some short sharp running up and down roads helped cultivate the E.
What’s more, the thriving social media community has since established friendships for life, all bonded by experiences of prostate cancer, with the army of runners sharing their successes, their hugely personal stories and spurring each other on during some darker moments.
Kerry said: “Through Run the Month I wanted to raise awareness of prostate cancer, and money for Prostate Cancer UK, because as someone who has worked in clinical research, I know what this money means. It could pay for the next breakthrough clinical trial for a drug that treats prostate cancer and I keep thinking of the lives that could be saved. It's a really good feeling and it kept me going when I was flagging during my runs.
“In my line of work, all too often I see men being reluctant to see their doctor and it makes me really sad and frustrated as sometimes it's too late. So a big part of me doing this campaign was to raise awareness and motivate the men in my life to always get checked out if they have any health concerns. The doctor is never embarrassed about these things so why should they be?”
On the Facebook group she added: “I've never known anything like it. It has become like a family. I think the thing I've found so warming is that there are so many people on there who aren't really used to running, like myself, but are pushing themselves and stepping out of their comfort zone for such an amazing cause. People with disabilities or severe anxiety are smashing it and it is so inspiring to see.
“As cliched as it sounds, the group really does restore your faith in humanity after such a difficult year for everybody. Sometimes I found the runs exceptionally difficult, but I constantly felt this presence of people who were 'in my corner’.
Tracey Pritchard, Director of Fundraising & Supporter Engagement at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “We’re incredibly proud that Kerry joined our team of remarkable runners in Run the Month: Marathon edition, in January. Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, and the Covid-19 pandemic has made living with a diagnosis only harder.
“The participants, including Kerry, have well and truly shown how families, friends and communities can work together, locally and across the UK to help save lives – especially during a difficult period.
“Hard times show what people stand for. When the future is uncertain and the choices are tough, we stand for men with prostate cancer. We thank Kerryfor all her incredible efforts and hope she can now enjoy a well-earned rest!”
To sponsor Kerry please click here!
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