A 42-year-old man has described how he will have to cope with the emotions as well as the miles as he takes on the London Marathon – his second such challenge in three weeks – on the first anniversary of his father’s death from cancer.
Accountant Martin Roby has set himself the challenge of completing the 26.2-mile course on April 23 having just completed the Brighton event with his wife Kirsty on April 2.
Mr Roby, from Deal, Kent, said at first he was not sure he could take on the event on such an emotional date, but decided to go ahead in memory of his father, David, and to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.
His father was successfully treated for prostate cancer in 2003 and also beat bowel cancer, before succumbing to multiple cancers in April 2022.
Mr Roby said: “I thought it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to run a marathon on the anniversary of dad’s death. It’s hard enough preparing yourself mentally to run 26.2 miles in the first place, let alone on such an emotional first anniversary.
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“But then my mind drifted onto another thought: ‘What if I ran it for dad?’”
Mr Roby said that his father was first diagnosed with prostate cancer – the most common cancer in men – 20 years ago and was successfully treated that year when his prostate was removed.
He said: “Dad did beat the disease, not only that time but when it returned in the form of bowel cancer in 2015 too. In fact he continued to enjoy a full and happy life and spend time with his grandchildren, whom he adored.
“In 2022 my dad had started to lose weight and didn’t have much of an appetite. In the February he admitted he was having trouble swallowing and was suffering stomach pain and was referred for various tests and follow-up procedures.
“In March he was told he had cancer again and told that he may only have a couple of years to live.
“In April he was diagnosed with cancer in several areas including his oesophagus, stomach, lung and abdominal cavity and advised that in fact he was probably looking at more like three months. He died approximately three weeks later.”
Mr Roby, a father-of-four, said he was inspired by his father, who was a keen supporter of Prostate Cancer UK, to join the charity’s team of 250 runners in the marathon.
He said: “It will certainly be an emotional occasion, coming on the anniversary of Dad’s death, and I’m not entirely sure at this point whether that will be a good or a bad thing.
“I am hoping it will help spur me on and that I can concentrate on how he would be cheering me on if he was there to watch – rather than how much I miss him.”
Nicola Tallett, of Prostate Cancer UK, thanked the charity’s fundraisers and said: “Each one of them is doing their bit to fund more ground-breaking research and work towards a screening programme, to catch prostate cancer early and save lives.”
To sponsor Mr Roby go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martin-roby1