JACKIE Hughes was diagnosed with breast cancer just last November – but that won’t stop her joining thousands of other runners on the start line of the 2016 Tees Pride 10k.
The 51-year- old has undergone a mastectomy and chemotherapy, but now is back in training for the big event on Sunday, September 4.
And at this week’s official launch at Acklam Hall, the mum of three told how she believed running had helped her battle the deadly condition.
Jackie, from Acklam, started running in 2008, going on to take part in Middlesbrough’s flagship 10k and 5k events, and seeing her times tumble as her fitness grew.
Then on November 20 last year her world was turned upside when she was diagnosed with grade three triple negative breast cancer.
Once over the initial devastation, Jackie decided that remaining positive was the only way to tackle the fight that lay ahead, and that approach helped her cope with a mastectomy in December and a course of chemo that finished on May 11.
Just 11 days later on May 22 Jackie achieved the remarkable feat of completing the 5k Race for Life, raising nearly £3,000 for Cancer Research in the process.
She said: “I believe the fitness I gained from running and preparation for the 10k helped me greatly during my chemotherapy as well as with my recovery.
“I’m not saying I’m a fitness fanatic but since taking part in my first 10k I’ve generally looked after myself better.”
Now well on the road to recovery, Jackie is building up her training programme and eagerly looking forward to one of the region’s best loved road races.
She said: “The feeling you get when completing the Middlesbrough 10k is truly amazing.
“I get a buzz after I finish every run but the feeling I get after the 10k is ten- fold, it’s brilliant!
“The crowds are fantastic, cheering every runner on. The first time I ran it I felt I was in the Olympics!
“My message to everyone out there is no matter how little training you have done I firmly believe you can complete the Tees Pride 10k, whether you walk, jog or a bit of both.
“I can assure you the buzz you will get crossing the finish line will remain with you forever.
“For those who are not so active entering this year’s race will give you the motivation to change your life style, give you more confidence and feel better within yourself.
“I know from first-hand experience it not only makes you physically stronger but also mentally – if I can do it-then I’m sure almost anyone can.”
Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Jackie is a true inspiration and embodies the spirit that makes the Tees Pride 10k one of the best events of its kind anywhere in the UK.
“It really is an event for everyone, regardless of age or ability, for those raising funds for good causes or just for the great sense of achievement that crossing the finish line brings.
“I wish Jackie all the best for the big day, and I’m sure her story will encourage many others to give it a go.”
For full details and entry information on the 2016 Taylor Wimpey Tees Price 10k and SABIC 3k Fun Run on Sunday, September 4 visit www.runmiddlesbrough.com, drop in to any of Middlesbrough’s Everyone
Active sport and leisure venues or call 01642 200833.
Entries close on Sunday, August 28.