Crossing the line together felt awesome – a real emotional moment.
Dad-of-three Kevin Webber was in training for the Brighton Marathon, with high hopes to beat his PB of 3hrs 40mins. He ran with his friend, Jim, at night to minimise any disruption to their families.
Then came some devastating news that would change – but definitely not weaken – their motivation to reach the finish line.
Kevin began to feel unwell. “I knew that something was wrong with me but didn’t know what,” he recalls. “I didn’t tell anyone until the doctors confirmed what I had and how bad it was.”
Kevin was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and was given just a couple of years to live. He was only 49 years old.
“I told Jim on a training run in the dark,” says Kevin. “I think we both cried for much of the way round.’’
Run, walk or crawl
He immediately started chemotherapy and realised the Brighton Marathon would fall during his 14th week of treatment. But run, walk or crawl, he was still determined to reach the finish line and Jim pledged to run at Kevin’s pace for the duration, willingly sacrificing his dream of finishing in less than four hours.
Digging deep to cross the line
Kevin: “I don’t know if it was the cancer, the chemo, the hormone drugs, the chest infection or the lack of training for the last month that slowed me down. Maybe it was a combination of the above? Whatever the reason, that’s kind of irrelevant now because my biggest achievement was raising over £20,500 including gift aid for Prostate Cancer UK. I know that will make a significant difference and in turn will raise awareness and help them work to find a cure.
“You read about digging deep, I don’t think I have ever dug as deep as I did in the last hour. But the support, the money I was raising, the fear of letting anyone down and the fact that I wanted to show other men who have this dreadful disease that despite everything, sometimes you can do things if you don’t give up, no matter how hard it is.
“Crossing the line at the end with Jim and Craig (a guy we met in the last few miles who was running for his Dad who had died with the disease) was such an emotional moment for me. It felt awesome – a real Men United moment.’’
“There are hundreds of people doing their own ’marathons’ every day”
“I know from the Prostate Cancer UK online forum that there are hundreds of people in their own way doing their own ’marathons’ every day, struggling for sometimes the most basic of needs. And what they do is way beyond what I achieved with this marathon. They also frequently have the support of friends and family getting them through each day just like I did on race day. They are the real heroes but get no praise for what they do.”