Moseley Great-grandmother makes friends through running

WomensRunning April

Chrissie overcomes family heartbreaks by keeping busy, making friends and taking on Great Birmingham Run 10K

While lockdown was a hard time for most of us, Chrissie Boyer faced the added heartbreak of both her husband and daughter being diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, with them both now in remission, she has decided to challenge herself to take part in this year’s Great Birmingham Run 10K to raise funds for future research.

At 82, Chrissie is one of the oldest participants to be lacing up her trainers and taking part in the 10K on Sunday, May 1. “I’ve run on and off all my life,” she says. “My glory days are definitely over so I won’t be at the front!” The Moseley great-grandmother competed in the 2019 event, notching up an impressive time of one hour 30 minutes. And with her purple hair, she’ll certainly stand out this year.

It was during the pandemic that Chrissie’s husband Tony was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Then just weeks later her daughter Rachel received the news that she had breast cancer.

“It was a dreadful time as you can imagine,” she says. “There was no support during lockdown and we couldn’t see people so we just had to get on and deal with it ourselves. We kept busy and did a lot of research, but as Tony went into remission we then discovered he needed a triple heart bypass. Thankfully they are both ok now but it was a lot for us to get through as a family.”

Chrissie puts her young mindset down to keeping herself busy, and she still has two jobs – working as an exam invigilator and a steward at Symphony Hall. She is also an avid Park Runner and is well known at the weekly 5K at her local Cannon Hill Park. She says running helps keep her mind and her body healthy.

“I still enjoy the challenge; running keeps me fit, I’ve made lots of friends through it and it’s free too. Too many people my age are old before their time and I just don’t understand why. Running gets me out and keeps me active.” The 10k and half marathon are a celebration of running in Birmingham, for all ages and abilities with music blazing, fancy dress, crowds buzzing, legs pumping and fists bumping.

The 10k route starts in the city centre and takes runners past Bullring and out along Pershore Road to Cannon Hill Park which marks the half way point – runners then loop round world-famous Edgbaston Cricket Ground and past Calthorpe Park, before a final section through Digbeth before the grandstand city centre finish.

Chrissie’s tips for anyone taking part in the 10K for the first time? “Stay focussed. I find I often struggle when I get to about 7K; your mind starts thinking you’ve still got a way to go. But if you focus on getting through those last 3K it really helps.”

Chrissie will be raising money for Prostate Cancer Research having run in a team last year at Race For Life to support research into breast cancer. “It’s important to have the support of your family,” she adds. “And Tony will be there on the day to cheer me on.”

The Great Birmingham Run takes place on Sunday, May 1, for more information or to enter click here.