A 65-year-old cancer survivor is gearing up to take part in York’s unique men-only 5K run for Yorkshire Cancer Research.
Chris Sykes was inspired to take up running at the age of 59 after watching his wife and daughter complete the London Marathon. He joined a running club, and started building up the miles.
But when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer Mr Sykes said he felt like his "life had ended" and he vowed that if he got better he would do something big for charity.
Mr Sykes, from Thirsk, said: “I was a reasonably fit chap for my age, but had never run. To try and keep fit I was persuaded to join the running club.
"They had a mild keep fit night on Mondays, and a serious training session on Wednesdays – I decided I would join on Mondays. Things went on and I soon started having a little run out - one mile or two miles. Then I found a good chap to run with and we soon increased the miles.
“After a good Saturday morning 10K, arriving back home for breakfast, thinking by now I was the fittest chap in Thirsk, things all went wrong. I felt like life had ended. I was diagnosed with cancer.
"Four weeks later, while being wheeled out of recovery at The Friarage Hospital after surgery and with my family all around me, I made a promise – if I get out of this I am going to do something big for charity.”
After undergoing surgery, followed by a 12-month course of treatment and recovering from his illness, Mr Sykes once again took up running, completing the London Marathon in 2013 and raising £2,900 for cancer research.
Now he has signed up to join hundreds of other men at R U Taking the P…? at Rowntree Park on Father’s Day, June 15, which is supported by Yorkshire-born broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson.
Now in its fifth year, R U Taking the P…?, raises money for prostate cancer research at the University of York’s YCR Cancer Research lab, led by internationally-renowned scientist Professor Norman Maitland. Since 2010, the event has raised more than £46,645.
Mr Sykes added: “With the skill and care of our wonderful NHS, I have been a very lucky man. We need to keep the faith and keep on running.”
For information about R U Taking the P…? and to enter, visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk/rutakingthep or drop into Brian’s Hair Fashions, South Bank Avenue, York, for an application form.