Cancer patients invited to join 5K Your Way launch at parkrun

Cancer patients invited to join 5K Your Way launch at parkrun

The inaugural 5K Your Way will be held in Dunorlan Park on Saturday January 25 as part of a nationwide initiative.

5K Your Way was originally started by oncologist and champion triathlete Lucy Gossage and international runner Gemma Hillier-Moses in Nottingham.

The free events are organised and led by patient ambassadors and are open to all current or former patients, families, supporters and staff.

They operate alongside existing parkruns, and those taking part can run, jog, walk, cheer or volunteer to help out in a variety of roles.

Parkrun is a hugely popular scheme that encourages people to run 5km in a non-competitive way in order to improve their fitness and also boost social cohesion and a sense of community.

Last year, the NHS launched its 70th anniversary celebrations with a bespoke parkrun in Tonbridge with Dame Kelly Holmes and other runners dressed as doctors and nurses.

The Dunorlan Park version has been up and running since 2014, and the November 9 meeting saw the 50,000th athlete complete the course.

Dr Rema Jyothirmayi, consultant clinical oncologist at the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [MTW], is leading the drive to recruit runners and walkers for the 5K Your Way in town.

She told the Times: “The aim is to empower people with a cancer diagnosis to start or resume exercise in a supportive and safe environment.

“Being part of the parkrun creates a great atmosphere, and the presence of patient ambassadors and staff encourages people to come out and start exercising rather than doing it on
their own.”


Dr Jyothirmayi, who specialises in gynaecological and breast cancer and has held at her post at MTW since 2003, is also a Trustee of the Pickering Cancer Drop-in Centre in Tunbridge Wells.

She added: “I have been going along to the Malling parkrun every month since it started the 5K Your Way in June last summer, and it’s a
great event.

“We meet on the last Saturday of each month and the hope is that people will then start attending the parkrun every Saturday.”

Sue Walker is an ambassador for 5aK Your Way at Malling, where the parkrun is held in Leybourne Lakes Country Park.

She said: “This is a support group with a difference. We are encouraging people who have had a cancer diagnosis, along with family and friends, to take part in parkrun your way – walk, jog, run, whatever is comfortable. We then meet afterwards and have a chat and a cuppa.

“I decided to become an ambassador for 5k Your Way because I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was just 31.

“I am now two years in remission and owe Malling parkrun massive thanks for getting me moving again after cancer.”

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