Ben’s (and the family’s) House Movements

Certainly been a hectic time recently. Over the past fortnight we’ve been moving house, which obviously created huge turmoil. I’m full of admiration for people who can move house in a seamless and dignified manner, but we are sadly not in that camp. Can’t believe we’ve got so much stuff! In fairness I did have chemo part way in to the move, which certainly complicated things. This cycle has been especially hard work. I’m coming to the end of this course now, so I’m more tired than ever and it means I’ve been next to useless in helping with the move. I guess this just gives my superhuman wife Louise the chance to overcome yet more adversity. I don’t know how she gets us to hospital appointments, cooks, cleans, cares for the girls, get them to school, supports me in my running and let’s me have naps at all times of day, when I’m tired. This is all after waking up with the girls at 6am. I’ve omitted tons of other things she does, but I’m just constantly amazed at how hard she works and yet how positive she is, no matter how hard things can be sometimes. I don’t want to paint an excessively negative picture of my contribution at home. I’m not totally useless and consider myself a committed and loving Daddy, but there’s only so much I can do when I’m tired from chemo. Louise is my hero. A character in a movie I like says that the key to a successful marriage is to just pick the right person to be in the foxhole with. No matter how bad things get I know that Louise will never leave me in that foxhole to fight alone. I love her more than I could ever say and I’m so glad of her.

So far this week has been busy, but really exciting. In some ways it’s been a tale of two siblings. On Monday I went to Blackburn to be interviewed on BBC Radio Lancashire.

It was great fun and my wonderful sister Grace filmed it. I’m really proud of her. She’s an award winning filmmaker and is documenting my progress, so we can no doubt laugh at my ungainly running style later. Grace has also been firing off press releases following which I spoke to a journalist from the Lancashire Evening Post, who’ll hopefully be printing a story about my fitness challenge tomorrow (Saturday 5th April). After my brief appearance on the Graham Liver’s Breakfast show I caught up with beloved colleagues at the Central Library in Blackburn, where I used to work.

Me outside part-refurbed Blackburn Central Library


I then tried running back to Preston from Blackburn, something I used to do after work.


Tiring hill on the way to past Pleasington on the way to Preston.

Tiring hill past Pleasington on the way to Preston.

Wish I hadn’t bothered. It was the worst, most horrible run I’ve been on since I started running again. I think I basically didn’t have enough respect for how fatigued chemo had made me. Running 12 miles, especially so close to a marathon, shouldn’t have been a problem, but I’d been really tired all the week before, so I hadn’t run for 7 days. Sadly I hurt my knee. I’d been tempted to run, because my training has been so disrupted by chemo and illness the last 6 weeks that that I’ve not put in enough miles. Guess there’s no training plan for chemo patients tackling ridiculous fitness challenges. My brother Tom is a 400m runner and a friend in his training group, Chris, is a physio. Chris phoned and gave some very useful advice. The next day I bought a foam roller and tennis ball and have been working on the muscles in my hip and leg every day since. Hopefully, it’ll stop my knee feeling like it’s falling off when I’m running. In addition to having well informed friends, Tom is a great motivator. This and the fact that he’s an athlete means he’s ideally placed to give great advice about my running. He’s always full of encouragement and stops me getting down when things haven’t gone well. I’m very lucky to have such a clever brother and sister. In different ways Tom and Grace have been instrumental to my progress this week. It ought to be said that my three other siblings are equally as ace and help me in different ways. Someone else who deserves a mention is my good friend Pete. He’s helped us out as a family in lots of ways since my diagnosis. Recently he’s convinced Johnson and Johnson to send me some Compeed blister plasters:

Thank heavens for Compeed!

My feet thank you Pete!

I’ve had big problems with blisters in the last few weeks and the plasters were gratefully received! Yesterday though Pete trumped even Compeed when he brought me a running vest he’d had printed for my fitness challenge:

At least I'll look the part

I might be slow, but at least I’ll look the part

Those letters couldn’t have been any larger.

Sunday and my first marathon in Blackpool is only days away. In the last fortnight the training has been either nonexistent or miserable, so it promises to be quite an interesting day! I’d originally hoped for a 5 hour marathon, but I’ve revised that target and I’d be happy with 6 hours now. That’s ok though, because this way the Marathon represents better value for money. I’ll be on the course for another hour, so that’s another 20% what a bargain! My Dad would be proud. Regardless of how hard the race will be nothing will wipe the smile off my face. I thought I’d lost the chance to run a marathon forever, so just being at the start line on Sunday will be the realisation of a dream.

Ben’s Bowel Movements. Running 6 marathons in 6 months in support of Cancer charities:




9 thoughts on “Ben’s (and the family’s) House Movements

  1. Just saw the piece about you on North West Tonight, and felt utterly in awe of what you are doing. I am currently undergoing radiotherapy and hormone treatment for what is (hopefully) a very treatable stage 2 prostate cancer. I know that the treatment I am undergoing in now way whatsoever compares to the effects of chemo, but it still lays me out. I can just about do 45 minutes at the gym, so just the thought of tackling a marathon makes my already spinning head spin even faster. I wish you so much luck and respect – and will make sure I sponsor you ASAP!

    • Thanks so much Martin. Sorry for not responding to you sooner. I always think that the treatments for Bowel Cancer seem quite mild compared to some others. There is some unpleasantness with my treatment, but despite all the nausea I get, I’ve only been actually sick twice in the 15 months of chemo I’ve undergone in the last two years. I’ve never had radiotherapy and from what I understand it’s quite tough, so good on you getting to the gym. What sort of stuff do you do there? I’ve just started lifting weights again for the first time in years – having good muscle tone really helps the body in so many ways. I’ve had bowel and liver surgery and my stomach muscles have never really recovered. If I’m going to manage all these marathons improving my core is really important! I’ve found during treatment it’s really important to stay active. It’s not always easy and I don’t force myself if I’m too tired- listening to your body is very important. All this I’m sure you know anyway. Good luck with the rest of your treatment and thanks for your support!

    • I’ve got some decent socks from More Mile,which are the best I’ve found so far. I’ve just been a little unlucky really. I need to be more careful with puddles and making sure I avoid them! One of the chemo drugs I have attacks my skin and nails, so I think it might make me more prone to blisters. Also, chemo leaves me with no immune system, so I don’t heal well. If things don’t improve I’ll definitely look into 1000 Mile socks!

  2. Firstly I’m in awe of you determination to keep running through chemo and your goal to run six marathons in six months. It makes me feel very slovenly! Secondly, I find that the foam roller really helps to stretch out tight muscles. I hate using it as I find it awkward but it really does work. Thirdly, I love that bowel movement shirt! I look forward to following your training and racing progress from the other side of the world. I hope your marathon went really well. However, it went, as you mentioned, getting to the start line is in itself a proud moment šŸ™‚

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