Great Wall Marathon China: You can do anything, even with cancer if you apply yourself

3 years ago
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May 18th 2012 I finished treatment for stage 3 rectal cancer. May 18th 2013 I completed one of the hardest marathons in the world in 6 hours 40 minutes, over 5000 steps of it on the Great Wall of China. This part of my "recovery" journey started in a Cafe in Copenhagen just after the London Olympics, chatting with some friends about Lance Armstrong and my certainty that he had not taken performance enhancing drugs, I wanted to show them that anyone who had come through chemotherapy in one piece was capable of extra ordinary feats. Two of these friends Ole Wessung and Klaus Sletting Jensen, came with me to China and helped make this the most incredible experience of my life. Ole (an Iron Man, thats him in the yellow shirt at the start) was there to take care of me on the route and was practicing, firmans lifts in preparation for the race. As we set off up the hill on that first stretch of road, I felt so good I told him to leave me and run his own race, I would be fine. He came 56th and first in his age group, I was 411 over all, there were 80 behind me. Klaus was there as the official photographer and took these amazing pictures as he traveled around the course on a motorbike. Klaus gave me a little video camera which was not charged up, which I carried for 20 K, hence the picture of me threatening to throw it at him when we met on the road. It was an extremely emotional experience, I am not a weepy person normally, but when I saw Klaus on the last stair climb of the wall, I just lost it. He had my phone to take a few pictures to send home and I took the phone for the last five kilometers so I could show the girls as I entered the square and finished. What I had not expected was Ole and the Danish people waiting to cheer me in to the finish. This made it a very humbling, rather than the triumphalist experience I intended videoing and reminded me, how much I owe my wonderful friends and family for getting me through this and of course Penny Brohn Cancer Care who will help many more people live well with cancer in the future. Thanks to you all. If you want to read more about my experience of cancer http://www.rectalcancer.me/