“I felt part of a family” – Run The Month means fitness, fundraising and friendship for thousands.
Across the UK through January, more than 10,000 runners of every ability pounded pavements and parks around their local areas. Collectively they ran ten laps around the world and raised over £2.2 million to fund our research. Here's four of them to tell you why you should lace up and join us this April.
The stories coming out of our buzzing Facebook group are getting us excited for April's Run the Month.
Almost 23,000 incredible marchers, runners and cyclists have collectively raised over 4 million pounds through our virtual fundraising challenges since lockdown began – sweating it out in streets, parks and backroads across the UK.
Our thriving social media communities, across our marching, running, cycling and golf groups, have enabled friendships for life. Bonded by experiences of prostate cancer and their chosen sport, people share stories, successes and help each other through some darker moments. The latest Run The Month group has been particularly special, bringing together thousands who can't run shoulder-to-shoulder under lockdown.
The sheer numbers of people involved, the unique stresses of lockdown and the creativity and kindness that has arisen in response to the challenges have made it an absolute joy to be part of. Ou runners literally spelled out their support, taking on a running route which would spell out a letter to make up the phrases 'Men We Are With You', ‘Prostate Cancer UK’ and 'Run The Month.'
Here’s four runners to tell you why you should lace up your trainers in April’s latest running challenge.
Kirsty, the multi-marathon runner
The encouragement and celebration that was passed around to everyone was phenomenal.
A seasoned runner who has marathon pedigree, Southam-based Kirsty Byatt, 42, decided to complete a magnificent seven in honour of her dad David, who was diagnosed in 2018.
After initially setting a target of four marathons during the month, that quickly accelerated to a terrific 184.2-mile tally and raised £1303.
Mark, the jogging builder
She said: ”I was overwhelmed by the fundraising. The more I raised the more it pushed me to work harder and keep running. I felt so determined to achieve each marathon distance, firstly for my dad and every man fighting prostate cancer.”
It made me feel good because there were so many other people like me who had no running experience pushing themselves to reach a target. It felt like I was part of a bigger thing - a running family.
Mark Shingler, from Walsall, raised £1,000 running two marathons – and also shed more than two stone in the process. The 36-year-old builder still runs every other day. He ran for two family members affected by the disease.
He said: “I feel proud and overwhelmed that a group of people putting in a bit of effort can raise such a large amount of money for a great cause, spreading awareness every mile of the way."
Lottie, the prolific pavement pounder
Everyone is so friendly and supportive, no matter how experienced the runners are. I could count on the group for lots of running advice and tips too.
For Doncaster’s Lottie Young, finishing her running challenge on 29 January had extra resonance as it was her late father Charles’ birthday. Charles died of prostate cancer in December 2018 and Lottie, 39, has been prolific in our monthly events, she's currently taking on March the Month, and is planning to run again in April.
Lottie said: “My emotions were up and down. I was so happy to be making a difference and proud of what I was achieving, but was sad because of why I was doing it. I knew my dad would be proud of me, and probably thinking I was a little crackers for running such a distance!”
Kerry, the flying doctor
As cliched as it sounds, the group really does restore your faith in humanity after such a difficult year. Sometimes I found the runs exceptionally difficult, but I constantly felt this presence of people who were in my corner.
Tynemouth-based doctor Kerry Jobling was compelled to join the group to help raise awareness for the men in her life.
A novice runner who'd never ran more than three miles, Kerry ran two marathons during January – and was delighted to accumulate 53 miles and raise £473.
She said: “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 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?”
Ready to move with some new mates?
Follow in the footsteps of Kirsty, Mark, Lottie and Kerry and run 50 miles (or more!) your way, whether it’s a mile at a time or two marathons throughout the month. Take on the challenge alone or in a team, and track and share your progress using Strava. Join our inspiring Facebook community and our Strava challenge!