A RUNNER will join 57,000 others on the start line of the Simplyhealth Great North Run after successfully defeating cancer and losing more than half of his body weight.
Dave Carr will take part in his hometown half marathon for the second time to mark six years cancer-free, during which time he shed an amazing 10½ stone in weight.
The 40-year-old is taking on the Simplyhealth Great North Run, which takes place between Newcastle and South Shields on Sunday, 10 September, raising money for Bloodwise, the blood cancer charity.
In 2011, Dave, who is from South Shields but now lives in Salford, Greater Manchester, was undergoing treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma following diagnosis in the April, and saw his weight balloon to 19 stone.
He lost his mum suddenly that year, as well as breaking his back during chemotherapy.
He said: “My aim was to do the Great North Run in 2012, however I was recovering from a broken back and being overweight, I deferred my entry to 2013.
“I was very weak after chemo, and a friend hugged me and my back went, I didn't realise at the time and only found out two months later following a CT scan to see if the chemo had worked. I've also got osteoporosis, which was diagnosed a few years ago.”
A frank conversation with his mum proved to be the catalyst for Dave to make a change. Tragically, it was to be one of the last he would have with her.
He explained: “I had a conversation with my Mam, I told her that I was going to beat cancer, lose weight, change my life and do the Great North Run for charity.
“She died suddenly two days later and she was and still is my motivation for everything I do, I couldn’t let her down. I made her promises, which I’ve kept.
“I started going to the gym in January 2012, with the aim of completing the Great North Run in 2012, I had to defer my entry to 2013 as I just wasn’t ready, but this gave me extra time to get fit and lose weight.”
Now weighing in at 8 ½ stone, Dave, who works in technical support, puts his dramatic weightloss down to a sensible diet and exercise and believes that anyone can do a half marathon if they put their mind to it.
He added: “I used to eat lots of pizza, chips – basically everything that wasn't good.
“Now, I just eat properly, I've never been on a diet, but I cook everything from scratch, and eat brown rice instead of white, sweet potatoes instead of normal potatoes, chicken, fish, and also get about eight to ten portions of vegetables and fruit per day.
“When I started running I could only run for 10 seconds, now I can run for about two hours solid – proof that if I can do it, anyone can, it’s about building up stamina.”
Dave took on the Great North Run in 2013, and has also completed the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run 10K in 2013, 2016 and 2017. The world’s biggest half marathon, however, holds a special place in his heart.
He said: “Coming from South Shields, where the Great North Run finishes, it’s always been a part of my life, from watching the runners on TV, to watching them at the finish line, to actually having the honour of running it.
“It’s a fantastic event, it brings so many people together, the organisation of the event is always fantastic and it’s just such a friendly support atmosphere that I don’t think you get anywhere else.”
He added: “Through my place with Bloodwise, I want to help make a difference for people fighting blood cancers, who are in the same position as I was six years ago when I was fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma.
“I want to be able to help others to beat this disease and look back in time having beating this disease, the same as I look back in time now and be proud that they’re a survivor."
The Simplyhealth Great North Run is televised on BBC One on Sunday, 10 September, at 9.30am-1.30pm.
To donate to Bloodwise in Dave’s name, visit justgiving.com/godavegodavegodave