06 July 2021

‘Now or never’ for man’s London Marathon dream after terminal cancer diagnosis

06 July 2021

A 41-year-old man diagnosed with terminal cancer is training to fulfil his dream to run a London Marathon

Adam Ward was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in August 2020 and told he might only live for another two years.

“I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon and with my cancer being terminal, it’s now or, in a way, it could be never,” he said.


Mr Ward, a senior footwear developer from Woodville, south Derbyshire, was already planning to run for Macmillan Cancer Support, the event’s charity of the year for 2021, when he was diagnosed.

“My determination to run as part of Team Macmillan has grown even more since I found out I have cancer myself, due to the incredible support the charity provides,” he said.

“Even though I’m ill, I’m feeling OK, so the more that I can give back while I can, the more I will do.”

Mr Ward, who will run with his partner Vici, said: “I remember after a restless night I woke up and knew I needed a goal to work towards, so my partner and I decided we’d still run the marathon together.”

We will be running, walking and crawling to that finish line in October, whatever it takes

He added: “It definitely helps to train together – I find it a huge support for her to be training alongside me, to help keep me going and push me along. I now call her ‘coach’ – training together is just what I’ve needed.

“Training for this year’s marathon has given me a lot of focus and taken my mind off treatment. I’ve really found running helps settle my mind when I’m a bit stressed or worried.”

Mr Ward, who has been inspired by his father Steve, who completed the London Marathon several times, added: “I used to be pretty good at running, but over the last year or so, having cancer and going through chemo has aged me and my body can’t do what it used to do. However, I do see that as part of the challenge.

“We will be running, walking and crawling to that finish line in October, whatever it takes.”

The Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on October 3, with 50,000 people due to take part in a mass event in central London while another 50,000 join a virtual event choosing their own route.

New research from Virgin Money Giving, official London Marathon fundraising partner, suggests that more than a third of the UK population have found that exercise has helped with their overall mental health during lockdown – notably stress and anxiety. 

Donations to Adam Ward’s fundraising can be made at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/adamrunning1.

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