Members of a running club on the Essex/Suffolk border will be putting their training into practice for a good cause when they join forces to run for 24 hours and raise funds for bowel cancer research.

Members of the Brantham Leisure Club Running Club (BLC On the Run) have been inspired by the story of one of their members, Emma Marsland, whose husband Steve has undergone more than 100 rounds of chemotherapy since being diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer five years ago at the age of 33. 

After going through twelve rounds of chemotherapy, five weeks of radiotherapy, major life changing surgery and a pelvic infection, Steve, who lives with Emma and their twin sons in Brantham, went into remission. In November 2019, he was told that the cancer had returned, progressed to stage 4, and that he had a rare bowel cancer gene mutation called BRAF V600 making his cancer incurable.

Emma, who describes Steve as “an incredible husband to me and dad to Austin and Riley”, said he had shown “incredible strength” and that he was “defying the odds as statistically only 8% of people with advanced bowel cancer survive more than five years.”

Explaining why the running club, which draws its members from across North Essex and South Suffolk, decided to put on the Miles for Marsland event, Chairman of the running club Clive Thomas said:

“Our club has been inspired and humbled by Steve and Emma’s story and we really wanted to show our solidarity by doing something positive that would challenge us all – hence the idea of a 24-hour charity run.

The response from our members and local businesses has already been fantastic. We even have a former member in Northern Ireland proposing to run an Ultra Marathon distance virtually across the 24 hours.”

Emma, who has herself run 2 marathons to raise funds for bowel cancer research, added:

“We are deeply moved by the running club’s efforts. I will definitely be joining in the event which will do so much to raise awareness of this disease – the fourth most common cancer, but the second biggest killer with someone being diagnosed every 15 minutes.

If bowel cancer is caught in the early stages there is a 90 percent chance of a cure, but if the early symptoms are not recognised it can be significantly worse. We can’t thank BLC On the Run enough for helping us to get this important message across.”

Miles for Marsland takes place on 9-10 February starting at 6pm. There will also be a fun run for children on Saturday.

Anyone who is not a member but is nevertheless interested to take part can get in touch via the club’s Facebook page:

Anyone who would like to donate can do so via the Fundraiser’s Just Giving page. The event organisers are also looking for local businesses who might like to support the event in some way.