— In the second of a four-part feature series ahead of the Lincoln 10k Road Race, we look at what drives two of the runners taking part.
When Chris Charnley and Faith Wibberley run the Lincoln 10k this March, they won’t just be running for fun, or to pass the finishing line before a certain time — they will be running for the cancer charities that mean so much to both of them.
In July 2010, Faith’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, but after discovering that she had a hereditary gene, a double mastectomy followed, along with the removal of her ovaries. Without these and a series of other major operations, she had a 90% chance of the cancer returning.
“It turns out my grandmother is the carrier [of the gene]. She had breast cancer and ovarian cancer and had a single mastectomy, and my mother’s cousin died of ovarian cancer about five years ago, so it’s really for the women in my family,” says Faith, an American third year Illustration student at the University of Lincoln. “A close friend of mine died three years ago from pancreatic cancer so it’s nice to be able to do it for Cancer Research,” she added.
Chris, an alumni of the university and now working as a freelance PR consultant, also has firsthand experience of the disease as his mother is receiving treatment for breast cancer.
He says that their choice of charities hopefully means that they can do their best for their loved ones and others who have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment for cancer, as well as contributing to the research aspect: “For both of us it really stems from having experienced what we’ve seen our mothers go through, and what we’ve seen our friends and colleagues go through,” said Chris.
This close personal connection is proving to be a great motivational tool, as Chris says: “We can definitely get out there and raise money and do the 10k. We’re happy to commit our time to it, we’re happy to do our training because in the grand scheme of things it’s nothing compared to what these people go through.
“We really do look up to our mothers for what they’ve gone through and we really want to be able to contribute to help make other people’s lives better who have gone through diagnosis, for their families, for their friends.”
And they are already setting their sights higher: “I think after this maybe we can do a 13k and then a half marathon one day or something; I’m going to start with 10k!” said Faith. Chris has already planned to take part in Shine, a walking marathon of either 26.2 or 13.1 miles (“a lot more than 10k!”) held at night in aid of Cancer Research UK, later in the year.
“For both of us [the Lincoln 10k] is just a starting point. If we can help make the lives of those who’ve been diagnosed better then we’ll do it, and we’ll do it beyond this, see how far we can go, and look at raising as much money as possible,” said a determined Chris.
As for the Lincoln 10k, he says that they want people to get behind the race as it provides a great opportunity to not only raise money and create awareness of different charities, but to meet new people and have fun: “We’re really looking forward to it. The exercise is good fun and I think on the day it’s going to be absolutely amazing, we cannot wait.”
Chris’ sisters and friends will be there to cheer him on come race day, but he says it’ll be “a tad too emotional” if his mother joins them. As for Faith, she and her friend will be supporting each other, but she really just wants a finish-line picture to send to her mum back in America.