Graeme’s son Ewan died of leukaemia in 2006 aged nine, and the family received practical, clinical and emotional support from CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people.
Graeme, a business coach, from Curry Rivel, near Langport in Somerset, decided to start training for the race, which is being held in Bristol on Sunday 15 September, after he realised he had become very unfit.
“I had not done any exercise for about 30 years before May last year, and I was about four stone overweight. After Ewan died, lots of friends did fundraising, including runs and marathons, and we were very grateful for that,” Graeme said.
“I started trying to get fit last year after a discussion with a business associate of mine who had run the Bristol 10K and the half. I had been on a walking holiday to the Lake District and found one day after doing a very level walk that I had very sore ankles and could hardly move,” Graeme said.
“I thought I must do something about this. I started training using an app, and quickly found I quite enjoyed it. I would run for a minute, and walk for two, gradually building it up. It was mainly to lose weight.
“I was running on the Somerset levels between Taunton and Yeovil. I started to lose weight and I felt I had more energy. I gradually found I could run further without stopping to walk, and had a real sense of accomplishment the day I ran 5K without stopping.
“I now go out running three or four times a week and run about 20 miles altogether. I feel I have more energy and vitality and I don’t have joint pain any more.
“I also adjusted my diet and I became much more aware of what I was eating. My diet was always healthy; it was just the volume that was the trouble. I have now lost four stone. I have had to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe.
“I have never done a race like the Bristol Half before and the scariest bit about it will be running with other people. I don’t want to get carried away by other people’s paces! I have done a lot of training so I am feeling pretty confident.”