x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Memories of 'nan' help marathoner stay on pace

When Nicky Green starts to tire during a race, she thinks of loved ones who have struggled with cancer and finds the energy to keep going.

DUBAI // When Nicky Green starts to tire during a race, she thinks of loved ones who have struggled with cancer and finds the energy to keep going. The 42km marathon race tomorrow will be the English expatriate's seventh such event and her second in Dubai. She has run each of them to benefit cancer research. Her grandmother lost a battle against stomach cancer in her early 60s, and her aunt is a breast cancer survivor.

"My grandmother died when I was 18 years old and it was a sad experience," says Ms Green, 37. "She used to be a nurse, and when her husband died she had to raise six children under the age of 10. "She worked night shifts at the hospital, walked there and back and then looked after six children, so to go through all of that and then cancer seemed unfair. I remember her deteriorating from a really strong woman to a frail lady."

Ms Green, a personal trainer, says her aunt's successful battle against the disease signals the progress that has been made in cancer research and treatment. "A girl I know from school heard I was running the London Marathon back in April and e-mailed me to say her dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was the first to sponsor me. "I e-mailed her again this time and she said her father had passed away. I said I would think of her and her father while I ran."

Running for a cause pushes Ms Green towards her goal of breaking the three-hour barrier, which means shaving eight minutes off her best marathon time so far. "It can be quite an emotional experience and I do think of my nan when I'm running," she says. "I don't mean to sound dramatic, but if I run for other people, rather than for myself, I find I run far better." To sponsor Nicky visit www.justgiving.com/Nicola-Green.

@Email:loatway@thenational.ae