In November 2015 Emma Holloway was diagnosed with Chordoma, a very rare form of cancer. After undergoing a 9 hour operation, carried out by a highly skilled neurosurgeon, Emma's neck is now supported by a great deal of metalwork and she lives with the knowledge that she will need further surgery in the future. Emma and her friends in the local community formed Team C, to raise money for Chordoma UK. Member of Team C, Fiona Donovan, tells us about Team C, their training in Richmond Park and their forthcoming race, the London 10 Mile.
1. I understand that you ran the Hampton Court Half a couple of weeks ago. How did that go and did you learn any lessons you’ll take forward to the London 10 Mile run?
Fiona: Hampton Court was a brilliant day. 17 of us ran on the day and we were all excited and a little anxious. We started training in April 2016 and this certainly paid off on the day. We were all ready and fit enough for the challenge although that was hard to believe. Once we were off we kept on going and Emma, Matt, Kerry and I ran together at a steady pace and all crossed the finish line together. It felt like such a good achievement but couldn't help feeling a little deflated it was over...hence signing up for London 10.
2. You’re obviously running for charities that are very close to your heart. Can you tell us a little about that?
Fiona: Emma's diagnosis clearly turned her and her family's life upside down. Team C developed from the local community and has brought about the best in all of us. It has certainly brought me closer to Emma, her family and friends and, at times, has allowed us to talk about her cancer openly with each other. It's easy to forget when running with Emma that her neck is reconstructed with titanium, and we all forget that she has broken her foot twice...she never grumbles. In the main we were all non-runners, but now we have the bug for running and fundraising.
We celebrated with a night out at The Albert, a local pub near Kingston Gate. We had a mini award ceremony for our efforts with the Hampton Court Half and gave Bodley Boot Camp hoodies to those that were instrumental in our training.
3. As parents of young children what are Team C’s top tips for fitting in training for an event like this?
Fiona: Support of our family members has enabled us to train. A good friend Pete Bodley-Scott ran a Boot Camp for us at 6.15am twice a week before the kids were up. As the weather got warmer he arranged an early evening boot camp in the local park, we would train whilst the kids and dogs played. He is such a kind man, we affectionately called these Bodley's Boot Camp. He coined the hashtag #noonegetsleftbehind. Faster runners would have to loop back so that everyone got a good work out but at their own pace. We increased our distance on weekends running from New Malden to Wimbledon common and Richmond Park. Richmond Park is brilliant training ground, good paths and plenty of inclines. We starting night running in Richmond park with head torches when we lost the light over autumn and winter. This was brilliant, just us and the deers - loved it!
4. I understand that you live close to Richmond Park. What are your favourite parts of the park for running in?
Fiona: We both live in New Malden close to Richmond Park. I work at Kingston Hospital so a stone’s throw for after work. Night running in a 6-7k loop from Ladderstile is a favourite shorter session, Brookfield Hill at the end makes it a challenge. We also love the outside circuit 10k route - the gradients are a kinder!
The best thing is having this beautiful space on our door step so we can run from home
Lessons learned - a good breakfast and fuelling up with a gel or two on the way.
One of our regular runners Andrew Turner is a keen orienteer and takes us off track when we have the light in the warmer weather. This is much more of a challenge but the fitness gains are worth it and not knowing where we'll end up mixes things up for us.
5. What appeals to you about the London 10 Mile race?
Fiona: The London10 appeals because of its manageable distance, beautiful location and the fact that it is local. Training longer distances took its toll on some our team's joints. We are predominantly over 40 and the 10 mile offers a challenge without being as daunting as a half marathon. The Hampton Court was pan flat and so Richmond Park will offer its own challenges in inclines. Closed roads is also a big attraction. My only concern is that it is a summer race, but being early hopefully won't be too hot.