A RUNNER from Consett, who completed the Durham City Run following major cancer surgery, is encouraging people to take part in a series of supportive running courses when they begin next month.
Three years ago, 58-year-old Graham Stockdale was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer.
Over the next few years, Graham underwent several major surgical procedures and cycles of chemotherapy to shrink and remove tumours and address other clinical issues related to his condition.
Having previously enjoyed cycling, running and other sports, Graham decided that he would like to begin exercising again and in May this year he signed up for a Run Durham Couch to 5k course in Lanchester, where his wife Beryl is one of the run leaders.
Durham County Council’s 10-week Couch to 5k courses feature a mix of running and walking; gradually increasing the amount of running each week, until participants are able to run 5k.
A new programme of Couch to 5k courses begins in September in locations around County Durham, including in Spennymoor.
Spennymoor sessions begin on Monday 9th September at Tudhoe Cricket Club, St Charles Road from 6pm, and also from Wednesday 18th September from 9am at King Street Primary School, High Grange Road.
After initially struggling with the first week’s aim of running for two minutes, Graham built up his fitness and stamina over the course of the programme and in July successfully completed the Durham City Run 5k, alongside his wife Beryl and fellow members of the Run Durham Couch to 5k running groups.
Graham is now hoping to inspire other people to join a free Run Durham Couch to 5K course.
He said: “I really enjoyed the Couch to 5k.
“Having the camaraderie of a group environment with everyone encouraging each other on and supporting one another helped ensure my success and got me to the finish line of the Durham City 5k.”
Sessions are open to everyone, including people with no previous running experience.
Each weekly session is led by a qualified and supportive group leader, and sessions last approximately 45 minutes, including a warm up and cool down session to help prevent injuries.
For more information about the sessions, or to book your place on a September course, visit www.durham.gov.uk/run durham.