Cancer ordeal sparks 50-race challenge

IN the last 20 years keen runner Robin Belsom has clocked up around 30,000 miles and worked hard at staying fit and healthy.

Lizzie Parry

IN the last 20 years keen runner Robin Belsom has clocked up around 30,000 miles and worked hard at staying fit and healthy.

So when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year it came like a bolt out of the blue.

After two operations and treatment at Ipswich Hospital Mr Belsom, who turns 50 on March 7, was inspired to celebrate his birthday is a most unusual way.

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Drawing on his love of running he aims to complete 50 races in 50 weeks to raise money for the team at hospital who treated him.

Mr Belsom, from Needham Market, said: “After major surgery you just want to get back to some sense of normality and prove to both yourself and others that you can still achieve.

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“It also struck me how fantastic the care and treatment is from our local hospital and I wanted to do something tangible to thank them for the care I had received.”

It was while he was on holiday in Mexico in April last year that Mr Belsom first noticed the symptoms and felt unwell. But thinking it was just his reaction to the heat he did not follow it up when he got home.

It was four months later at the end of August when he visited his GP and received the devastating diagnosis.

“I guess like most people I had always been fearful of the dreaded C word and was frightened by the implications of it.

“Ironically I had never felt fitter. I have always had a good diet and never smoked.”

It was during his first 10-day stay in hospital in September when surgeons removed a section of his colon that he decided to take on the challenge ahead of him. He added: “There were many highs and lows during my rehabilitation and fantastic care and support from all the ward staff, from care assistants through to the consultants.

“So the idea was born and has now developed into a rather daunting schedule of races.”

After leaving hospital in October Mr Belsom, a director at Ryan Insurance Group in Ipswich, was desperate to get back to exercising and running. Slowly but surely he got back into the swing of it and by November he had managed to clock up 20 miles in a week.

After his second operation at the start of December he was back running by Boxing Day. “As far as the disease is concerned, it is something that you have to learn to live with.

“While the immediate threat has passed there is always the risk of it coming back. I have always wanted to do something to prove age is no barrier to achievement. My aim is to raise �5,000.

“The money I raise will go directly to a special fund for use by the colorectal team, to buy equipment.”

To help Mr Belsom realise his goal you can sponsor him at

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