Run Norwich 10k was initially ‘wishful thinking’ for Ditchingham woman who raised money for cancer charity

Jo Somerville, who raised money for Big C in Run Norwich. Photo: Big C

Jo Somerville, who raised money for Big C in Run Norwich. Photo: Big C - Credit: Big C

More than £50,000 has been raised by those who took part in a Norwich 10k race under the name of Norfolk's Cancer charity, Big C.

Laura Reeve (right), who raised money for Big C in Run Norwich. Pictured with her parents and brothe

Laura Reeve (right), who raised money for Big C in Run Norwich. Pictured with her parents and brother. Photo: Big C - Credit: Big C

Big C was one of four official charity partners for Run Norwich 2017, alongside the Community Sports Foundation, SERV Norfolk and Central Norfolk MIND.

Some 210 people ran for the charity, two of which were Laura Reeve and Jo Sommerville.

Mrs Somerville was diagnosed with breast cancer last February after her first ever routine mammogram.

The 53-year-old who lives in Ditchingham, near Bungay, said: 'Run Norwich has to be one of the most incredible things I have ever done. When I saw the run last year it seemed wishful thinking to believe I could do it despite my saying that if I was well enough I would.

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'The atmosphere was incredible and though I was running alone I soon found some fellow Big C runners to talk to and two of them ran alongside me the whole way. We were able to encourage and motivate each other and we even held hands crossing the line. At about 6.5 km I thought to myself 'what have I done? I am never going to finish this' but the crowds were brilliant and I soon refocused and got a second wind. My finishing time of 1:27:21 was way beyond my hopes.'

Receptionist Mrs Somerville added: 'Two weeks before the run, I was taken into hospital with a suspected bleed on the brain or meningitis. Scans were done and fortunately it was neither, however two days later I was told a lump had shown up on the scan and I am now awaiting a biopsy/lumpectomy to determine if it is benign or not.

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'Whatever the outcome is, I will get through it. I am so proud to have raised £575 to date for Big C as my way of saying thank you for the support and to hopefully encourage others to believe there is life beyond a cancerous diagnosis.'

For Ms Reeve, 44, she lost a number of friends and relatives to cancer over a short period, including her father.

The physics teacher and Zumba instructor from Yaxham said: 'I was so nervous before the run started but set off at a confident pace. It took a little while to work through the slower runners and get into a good pace but I was doing okay at 5k. A quick glance at my watch and I knew I was close to a PB.

'I was doing great until I got into the grounds of the cathedral and at that point, the emotion of the day just caught up with me and I wanted to stop. Caroline Thorpe, my running buddy, grabbed my hand and encouraged me to carry on.

'I knew that I was close to the Big C cheering point and knew that if I could make it there, that it would give me the boost and encouragement to get to the end. Of course I was right and the supporters were amazing.

'I don't remember much of the race but I started to actually enjoy the last 1k as the crowds were brilliant. There were lots of high fives and people cheering which really helped. As I turned the corner to see the finish line, I just could not believe that I was nearly there. I cried as I crossed the line but was so proud that I had actually done it and knew that all the training had been worth it.

'I just hope that I made my mum and dad proud and that somewhere they were watching over me and helping me along the way.

'I managed to raise just over £1,000 for the charity. I hope that the money I raised will help many families get through some tough times and that I may in some way have inspired others to take on a challenge for such a good cause. The six million dollar question, will I do it again next year? Only if it's for a charity that I truly believe in! Thank you team Big C for all your support'.

Dan Bell, fundraising and events manager for Big C, added: 'We have been stunned by the level of support we have received from those who took part in this year's Run Norwich 10K. Our final fundraising total was an incredible £52,102.25.

'It is amazing to see the dedication people have shown to training for the event itself and to fundraising to help those affected by cancer in their local community. We had 210 people running for Big C, which means that on average each runner raised almost £250. The demand for our services is increasing year on year and such support is vital for us to be able to continue the work we do to support those affected by cancer. Every penny they have contributed will make a difference.'

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