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‘Every start line, I feel lucky to be standing there’ – cancer survivor makes running comeback for this year’s Ørsted Great Grimsby 10k

1:00 pm, Wednesday, 22nd February 2023 - 1 year ago

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Not many people would discover they have cancer, lose a kidney and then decide to take up running. But that’s exactly what Scott Worboys did, completing 56 races – at what he saw as the end of his running career.

But now, the 51-year-old from Northern Lincolnshire is making a comeback and has committed to take part in this year’s Ørsted Great Grimsby 10k on Sunday 4 June.

Speaking of Tape2Tape’s races, he said: “Of all the races I’ve run, these ones began to stick out with their super slick organising. Runs organised by runners. They instinctively know what a runner wants from a race as they run themselves.”

He added: “Their races became firm favourites in my race calendar. I’ve always been a sucker for a nice medal and there’s have become truly sensational.”

Scott Worboys with a man dressed as Scooby Doo

Scott’s story…

In April 2010, at the age of 38, Scott was diagnosed with kidney cancer – a 2.7cm tumour on his left kidney.

“I was given two options,” said Scott. “Option one, sit and watch it to see what it does. Option two, remove the left kidney. Seven months prior, I’d lost my mum to bowel cancer. Watching it wasn’t an option. I missed my mum dearly, but I was in no great rush for a meet and greet again just yet. This thing was coming out. And by May 2010, it was just that.”

He added: “I’m now lighter by one kidney and feeling like the luckiest person alive. Due to the discovery so early, there was no further treatment, just the instruction to go live my life.”

“Twelve weeks recovery now began where this feeling of luck grew and grew. There were so many people I had to be thankful to for finding this thing. It wasn’t possible to thank them all, but I was becoming consumed with a desire to “put something back”. To help others not so lucky as me. I needed a challenge. Some way of raising money to help others.”

Scott decided to take up running. “I couldn’t run, so it was a challenge,” he said. “I’d not run since school and was pretty rubbish at it then. I was to find that that hadn’t changed.” He made 10k his goal. He decided to run a 10k race in Leeds for the Bobby Moore Bowel Cancer charity in honour of his late mum.

Training began – 30 seconds running and two minutes walking. It progressed from there and after a couple of weeks, Scott was running 20 minutes without stopping.

Speaking of the race in Leeds, he said: “It was one of the most emotional days of my life.” Setting out to raise £200, Scott raised more than £3,000 for the Bobby Moore Bowel Cancer charity.

More 10k races followed and he was getting stronger and quicker. Soon, the distance got longer.

“Race days were always, and still are, emotional affairs for me,” said Scott. “As I’m stood in that crowd waiting to go, I see everything that’s happened over the last 10 years. Every start line is a link to how I got there. Every start line is a blessing. Every start line, I feel lucky to be standing there. I’m surrounded by masses of people, but in my own bubble. There’s often a tear or two behind those sunglasses. As the start klaxon sounds, I have one last look to the sky before I head off knowing my wife will be at the finish line waiting for me to safely make it home.”

10k races soon became easy for Scott and he wanted to challenge himself further – a half marathon was the next step. Before long, it was a marathon.

“I was told I was ok to run [a marathon] with just one kidney, but I must stay hydrated at all times,” said Scott. “Half marathons were getting easier to complete. I mean, at least I could now cross the finish line without looking like I needed an ambulance. If I was to attempt a full marathon, careful planning would be required.”

Following an unsuccessful entry to the London Marathon, Scott signed up to the MBNA Chester Marathon in October 2013.

“The curse of the sun struck, and that October day was one of the hottest of the year,” he said. Scott struggled to stay hydrated along the route and wasn’t getting enough water to his one functioning remaining kidney. “The importance of keeping hydrated and having no access to water left me devastated,” he added.

Scott crossed the finish line in 5:52:54. “Once it was over, I vowed never again would I do that distance,” he said.

He added: “It’s always been my firm opinion that the real heroes of any race aren’t at the front, not even in the middle. The real heroes are far from those at the front. If a runner crosses a marathon line sub four hours, they were always going to finish that race it was just a matter of how fast. For those that cross the line in over five hours, it was never about time, it was whether they were going to complete the distance at all. It’s more challenging for them.

“Never forget, times are for clocks. Cross the start line, cross the finish line. The time in the middle is irrelevant, providing you enjoyed the experience.”

Scott went on to say: “I’ve always felt it such a shame that spectators rarely hang around to see these guys finish. I’ve seen some truly inspirational finishes at the rear of the race. There’s nothing more likely to make you stare in amazement as when someone’s child joins their heroic parent to run those last few yards, arms aloft. I’ve seen it so many times. The tears and the pain are there for all to see. Hearts are laid out on the final straight for you to cheer home so hang around next time. See these incredible people reach their goal. It’s quite an emotional, experience.”

By the time Scott had run his marathon, he had discovered Tape2Tape’s races. Race directors Neil and Nicola Pattison became firm friends and have given incredible support throughout his fundraising. “Of all the races I’ve run, these ones began to stick out with their super slick organising,” said Scott. “Runs organised by runners. They instinctively know what a runner wants from a race as they run themselves.”

“Taking to the streets of Scunthorpe in the North Lincolnshire Half Marathon in my Grimsby Town shirt was a fun experience,” he said. “In fact, running around Scunthorpe is extra poignant for me as it’s there that the cancer was discovered. It finishes in the shadow of the hospital that not only saved but extended my life. Their races became firm favourites in my race calendar.”

By the end of what he saw as his running career, Scott had completed 56 runs, ranging from 5k to a full marathon. It’s been some time since Scott has run, but he’s making a comeback and has committed to this year’s Ørsted Great Grimsby 10k on Sunday 4 June.

Over a period of 10 years, Scott raised almost £10,000 for various charities.

“My advice? Don’t think it, do it. There might not be a tomorrow,” said Scott.

“So, lace up those running shoes. Stand on that start line. Look around you. There are stories there. All around you. You may not see them, but they’re there. It does not matter how you look or what time you finish. Maybe it’s more important to just be there.”

With race day on Sunday 4 June, there’s still time to sign up (www.greatgrimsby10k.com) and follow race organiser Tape2Tape’s 10-week training plan: www.nelincs.gov.uk/get-orsted-great-grimsby-10k-ready-with-this-training-plan

Neil and Nicola Pattison, Tape2Tape race directors, said: “Scott’s journey is one to admire. The amount of money he has raised for charity is amazing. He’s taken what could have been a really difficult time in his life and put it into making a difference and helping good causes. The Ørsted Great Grimsby 10k is much more than a race – it raises thousands of pounds for charities each year – and this is something we’re hugely proud of. A big thanks to Scott for coming back!”

Scott Worboys
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