Robin Belsom

Robin's 50 Race Challenge

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Participants: Robin Belsom
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Story

Fighting cancer with a 50 Race Challenge - Results are at the bottom of this page, so please scroll down. 

I am sorry to tell you that you have cancer, wow what a shock! I heard it for the first time last August when my GP gave me the bad news. It really shook me up. I guess like most people I had always been fearful of the dreaded "C" word and was frightened by the implications of it.   So what had lead up to this situation, and why run 50 races?

 I have been a keen runner for 20 years and have clocked up some 30,000 miles over that period, including 10 marathons. Ironically I had never felt fitter. In 2008 I raced in two marathons, including a 3 15 time at Bungay and in September 2008 I had run the Yorkshire Three Peaks (26.4 miles on my GPS), including the ascent and descent of the three mountains in just over 5 hours. I have always had a good diet and never smoked, how could someone as fit as me get cancer?

I was on holiday in Mexico in April 2009 when the symptoms became apparent. I put this down to the heat. It was to my regret that I didn’t  see my Doctor until the end of August. He immediately diagnosed cancer and referred me to the hospital

 Events moved quickly after that. Over the next few weeks I had a series of tests and eventually had major surgery on 28th September when I had a section of my colon removed.

I had tried to keep as normal a routine as possible in September, including running and working as much as possible. On the day before surgery, my partner Catherine and I, with my two sisters Ruth and Tina and my daughter Natasha ran in the Dedham 10k.  It was fantastic for all of us to run together.     

 I was in hospital for 10 days in total and there were many highs and lows during my rehabilitation. I was incredibly appreciative of the fantastic care and support from all the ward staff, ranging from the care assistants through to the Consultant, Mr Crabtree.

Leaving hospital on the 7th October was a surreal experience. It was really strange seeing cars and people. In 10 days I had lost over a stone as well as all sense of reality and time, its amazing how quickly you become institutionalized! The rest of October was spent recuperating at home. I was desperate to get back in to exercise and running (and work of course!)

 Catherine and I went on a number of walks and I did my best to walk every day. I managed a couple of long distance cycle rides, including an incredible 24 miler. My first run was on 1st November and I took part in the Stowmarket Scenic 7  road race on the 8th November

 I had the final operation on the 1st December was much easier to manage as it was a shorter and I knew what to expect.  I was back on Lavenham Ward and was delighted to see so many of the nurses and carers who had looked after me before. The next 2 – 3 weeks of convalescence were pretty tough, but it was great to put the whole episode behind me.

As for running, I did my first run on Boxing Day which was 4.5 miles, and then 8 miles the day after. I am now back training hard and whilst I have the stamina to run long distances I have lost my racing edge.

So what’s next? As far as the disease is concerned it is something that you have to learn to live with. Whilst the immediate threat has passed there is always the risk of it coming back.

It was my 50th birthday on 7th March 2010. I have always wanted to do something to prove that age is no barrier to achievement. Ipswich JAFFA running club have a series of age related distance standards which range from bronze to diamond and in my 20 years I had only managed to claim one gold which was at the Wymondham 20 in March 2008.

Pre cancer the plan had been to make 2010 the year when I would break all the Gold Standards. Is that achievable now? Only time will tell but I will give it my best shot 

I had the idea of running 50 races in 50 weeks whilst in Hospital. After major surgery you just want to get back to some sense of normality and prove to both yourself and others that you can still achieve.

It also struck me how fantastic the support and treatment is from our local Hospital and I wanted to do something tangible to thank them for the care I had received.So the idea was born and has now developed in to a rather daunting schedule of races which start on the 7th March, with the Old Deer Park Richmond 10k. My planned race schedule is at the end of this script.

 My aim is to raise £5000. My charity of choice is the Ipswich Hospital but the money I raise will go directly to a special fund for use by the colorectal team. Their aim is to provide minimally invasive surgical procedures so that patients can make a rapid recovery from their cancer treatment. The money will be used to buy equipment. To give you an idea of the benefit of this, if I had been treated by conventional open surgery then I would have been unable to work or exercise for up to 3 months. The skills of the team enabled me to have laparoscopic treatment  (keyhole surgery). I was back at work part time and running  after 4 weeks. It really makes a huge difference, and I have no doubt that "getting back to normal" really helps the mental as well as the physical recovery. 

Finally, here is the race schedule followed by the standard reminder of the benefits of using justgiving.com. Thank you for your support, I really do appreciate it

 Race Program 50 in 50  Date Location Distance

Challenge 1 - complete 50 races in 50 weeks - its now 55 races in 45 weeks - finishing on 16th January 2011 

Challenge 2 - complete 50 races in 31 weeks - finish on New Years Day 2011

Race 1 07/03/2010 Old Deer Park 10k Richmond  29th  4th Vet 50 Time 42.54

Race 2 02/04/2009 Roger Wing 10 K  51st  9th Vet 50 + Time  43.41

Race 3 04/04/2010 Trowse 10K  83rd 6th Vet 50 Time 43.31                   

Race 4 02/06/2009 Broome 10k Series - race 1   43rd  6th Vet 50 Time 45.42

Race 5 04/06/2010 Kirton Friday 5 125th overall 13th Vet 50 Time 35.20

Race 6 06/06/2010 Hilty Tilty 5 74th overall 11th  vet 50 Time 37.01      

Race 7 25/06/2010 B St Ed Friday 5  95th overall 7th Vet 50 Tme 35.10 

Race 8 27/06/2010 Humpty Dumpty 10k  68th overall 5th Vet 50 Time  45.03                   

Race 9 30/06/2009 Broome 10k Series - race 2  39th overall 7th Vet 50 Time 44.22

Race 10 04/07/2010 Newmarket 10k  25th overall, 6th Vet 50 Time 44.08                       

Race 11 09/07/2010 Gt Bentley Friday 5 106th overall, 12th Vet 50, Time 35.01  

Race 12 11/07/2010 Marham 10 27th overall, 5th Vet 50 Time 1 12 52   

Race 13 23/07/2010 Brantham 5  50th overall, 17th Vet 40 Time 35.04

Race 14 25/07/2010 Thames Tow Path Half Marathon 133rd overall, 1st Vet 50 Time 1 37 20

Race 15 26/07/2010 JAFFA Handicap 5 26th position, 2nd vet 50 Time 35.01 

Race 16 30/7/2010 Snetterton 10k 17th position Time 42:57

Race 17 01/08/2010 Cirencester Half Marathon 13.1. 41st position and 5th MV50 Actual garmin distance 13.44 miles time 1 40 29

Race 18 04/08/2010 Broome 10k race 3 36th position 42:46  6th V50

Race 19 06/08/2010 Wibbly Wobbly Log Jog 5.25 41st position 38:24 8th Vet 50 

Race 20 15/08/2010 Gt Yarmouth Half Marathon 13.1         Time 1 35 56 64th position 6th MV50

Race 21 22/08/2010 Reepham Runners 10k Time 44:06 64th overall 13th MV50

Race 22 25/8/2010 Wroxham 5k Time 21.05 101st,  6th MV 50

Race 23 28/08/2010 Eversden 5 (Cross Country) Time 38 05 2nd MV50

Race 24 05/09/2010 Wissey Half Marathon Time 1 34 35 49th overall, 9th MV50

Race 25 07/09/2010 Stow Striders 5k Handicap 21:11

Race 26 12/09/2010 Langham 10k 43:11 68th overall 9th MV50

Race 27 13/9/2010 Ipswich v Striders Track 5K  20:47 33rd overall 

Race 28 19/09/2010 Ashtead 10k 44:51 28th overall 2nd MV50 

Race 29 25/9/2010 East Anglia Air Ambulance 5k 9th overall, 1st MV50 20:31 

Race 30 26/09/2010 Dedham 10k 44:13 75th overall, 5th MV50

Race 31 29/9/2010 Honnington 10k 43:03  89th overall, 3rd MV50 

Race 32 03/10/2010 Martlesham 10k  55th overall, 6th MV50

Race 33 09/10/2010 Harwich Discovery 10k 43 28 14th overall 

Race 34 10/10/2010 Felixstowe Half 13.1 1 40 26 80th overall, 7th MV50 

Race 35 16/10/2010 Richmond Park 10k, 44.33, 46th overall, 3rd MV50

Race 36 17/10/2010 Saxons 5 12th overall 35:55 6th MV50 

Race 37 20/10/2010 RAF Henlow 10 93:34 76th overall, 8th MV50

Race 38 24/10/2010 JAFFA Cross Country Springfield, 5 miles, 99th overall, 38.17

Race 39 27/10/2010 EACL Gt Yarmouth Cross Country 34th overall 6th MV50 - distance approx 9.8k

Race 40 29/10/2010 Serpentine 5k, 21.35 99th overall 11th MV50 

Race 41 31/10/2010 Framlingham Cross Country 80th overall, 4.44 miles    

Race 42 7/11/2010 Witham Cross Country 5 miles 100th overall

Race 43 14/11/2010 Stowmarket Scenic 7 49:36 74th overall

Race 44 17/11/2010 EACL UEA Cross Country 5 miles 38th overall 6.44 miles

Race 45 21/11/2010 Southwold 10k, 43:46 mins 70th overall, 8th MV50 

Race 46 26/11/2010 Serpentine 5k 21 31 101st overall 8th MV50

Race 47 01/12/2010 Tri Anglia Cross Country 30th overall, 8th MV50 

Race 48 05/12/2010 Bunwell Santa Run 5.45 k 7th overall

Race 49 12/12/2010 Harwich Cross Country 5 miles 68th overall

Race 50 28/12/2010 Battle (Hastings) Santa Dash 5 (4.6 miles) 21st overall 33:00  3rd MV50

Race 51 1/1/2011 Wymondham 10k 149th 48.21

Race 52 9/1/2011 Suffolk Cross Country Championships 7.11 miles, 55.59 50th overall, 10th MV50

Race 53 12/1/2011 EACL Shouldham Warren Cross Country 5.4 miles, 30th, 4th MV50

Race 54 16/1/2011 Ipswich Cross Country 96th overall

Race 55  23/1/2011 Stowmarket Cross Country 83rd

Race 56 26/1/2011 EACL Wattisham Cross Country 19th

Race 57 6/2/2011 Bury Cross Country 79th

Race 58 20/2/2011 Hadleigh Cross Country 64th 

Race 59 23/2/2011 EACL Bury cross country 20th

Race 60 27/2/2011 Halstead Cross Country 53rd

Race 61 02/03/2011 EACL Cross Country RAF Barnham  25th

Race 62  13/03/2011 City of Norwich Half 1 35 05 235th

Race 63 10/4/2011 Bungay Half 1 37 02 57th

Race 64  22/4/2011 Roger Wing 10k 43:05 36th

Race 65 24/4/2011 Trowse 10k 43:39 71st

Race 66 1/05/2011Heritage Coast Half 1 42 20 25th overall

Race 67 2/05/2011 Breckland 10k 45:26 124th 

Race 68 4/05/2011 Gt Yarmouth 5 34:39 73rd

Race 69 8/05/2011 Alton Water 10k 43:39 35th overall

Race 70 18/05/2011 Gt Yarmouth 5 33:45 71st, 10th MV50

Race 71 22/05/2011Gt Baddow 10 71:14 99th overall 9th MV50

Race 72 25/05/2011Wroxham 5k 21:13 91st overall

Race 72 30/5/2011 BUPA London 10k 42:59

Race 73 01/06/2011 Bungay 10k 43:05

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