Booked: Race for Life Twilight

My next race is in six days' time and it's all for a good cause: I've signed up to this year's Race for Life Twilight, in aid of Cancer Research UK.

This is actually a very special race to me, and I've known for a long time that I'd be signing up to this one. Back in October 2012, Race for Life Twilight in Swansea was my very first official run. I was still a very new runner and the euphoria of taking part in a race - and finishing it - is something I'll never forget.

My first race: Race for Life Twilight 2012

After crossing the line, I remember that I couldn't stop grinning at my boyfriend. I was spending the weekend with some girlfriends from Hampshire and he had driven over from Cardiff just to support me, before I headed back to my girly break. I was so grateful for him being there and I think he was just as proud as me when I completed the race. What a buzz. 

So this year, I'm doing it all again and hoping to beat 2012's time of 33 minutes. The great thing about Race for Life, though, is that it's a fun and relaxed environment. The main reason people are there isn't to grab PBs, it's to come together to fight cancer.

Which is another reason why Race for Life is important to me.

Both my parents lost battles with blood cancers. I was 22 years old and fresh out of university when my mum died of myelodysplasia, just before her scheduled bone marrow transplant; and 28 when dad passed away from lymphoma. Needless to say my twenties were a difficult time and a lot of it was spent in hospital wards and waiting rooms. In fact, dad was treated in the same hospital by the same staff as mum - a surreal experience in itself.

My own health wasn't great at the the time - I didn't look after myself and I had my own battle with Grave's Disease, a type of thyroid disorder. So when I took up running and entered my first race, I had to rebuild my fragile metabolism and low self-esteem.

You can donate to my race here

It was also around this time that I joined a running club and met Amy, who has since become a close running friend. After explaining why I had signed up for Race for Life back in 2012, I found out that Amy was a cancer nurse who had cared for both my parents. The discovery has driven my running to this day.

Chatting with Amy about her life as a nurse on a busy cancer ward reminded me just how many people still live with cancer every day. I remembered how 'normal' it became making the hospital a second home - and how hard the battles were, for both my parents and for me too. It made me more determined to complete Race for Life and help others who still had battles ahead of them.

So in six days' time I will be taking part in my second Race for Life. I'm looking forward to the great atmosphere, a memorable run and raising funds for vital cancer research.

Please support my Race for Life so that we can work together for medical breakthroughs in the treatment and cure of all cancers. Cancer will affect all of us at some point in our lifetimes, whether it's a relative, partner, friend or even ourselves. My parents didn't make it but, as people like Amy can testify, cancer is turning lives upside down every day - and we can make a difference.

You can sponsor my race by visiting my JustGiving page or by texting CLRM99 £1 to 70070 - it's completely free to text, and you'll receive a confirmation message asking if you'd like to Gift Aid* the donation too.



*If you're a UK taxpayer, you can add Gift Aid to your donation at no extra cost. Cancer Research UK will be able to claim an extra 25% from HMRC, meaning every £1 donated becomes £1.25. More info on Gift Aid and text donations on the JustTextGiving website.

Thank you so much.

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