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Running that extra mile

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

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By Mark Phillips


Choosing to run for Leukaemia CARE is a real delight for me. Having been a leukaemia survivor, it’s a charity very close to my heart. Being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in 2004 has taught me a lot about life. It’s taught me to appreciate the simple things in life that I might not have appreciated before. Things like taking a quiet walk and really taking in the natural beauty we’re surrounded by in this beautiful country.  Being diagnosed has taught me above all, not to take your health for granted.

I’ve always been a determined person having completed my first marathon before my diagnosis, but since then, I’ve tackled four cycles of chemotherapy and I’ve ran another 10 marathons, getting my personal best of 3:26 hours in 2012. The feeling of finishing a marathon is very much bittersweet; it’s a combination of feeling proud and quite emotional, all mixed up with telling myself never again will I sign up for another race. Oh and it also very much depends on how many pints I had the night before too!

Although, as soon as you’re discussing your race with your mates in the pub after, the excitement soon starts to bubble again. Running does that to you, it’s so good for the mind and the benefits are incredible, especially for people with illnesses and the aspects that affect your mental wellbeing. Alongside that, there’s the improvement with your overall fitness and wellbeing and keeping in a healthy shape which can all be hard after a leukaemia diagnosis.

Thankfully, park runs are now increasingly popular and they are a great way to meet new people and socialise so everyone can get involved in some running.

I’m incredibly thankful that my health is great now. I’ve managed to complete two marathons this year; one of them was in Dubai where we were up at the crack of dawn to try and avoid the heat. Staying frustratingly close to my personal best time, I’m raring to go for the London Marathon next year to give it my best shot again and to raise money for a great cause.

Having faced leukaemia doesn’t mean I can’t run, it merely spurs me on more.

London Marathon 2017, I’m coming for you!

If you’re feeling inspired by Mark’s story, why not sign up to one of our running events and do something incredible for people facing blood cancer? Visit

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