A marketing executive in her late 50’s reckons she’s turned her life round, thanks to running.
Freya Rodger is encouraging people living with cancer to join her to run 5k on the last Saturday of every month.
Freya Rodger, from Lewisham, was diagnosed with a blood cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2012. She was treated as an in-patient at Lewisham hospital, where she received six rounds of chemotherapy, before the cancer went into remission. Rodger has annual check-ups and is not taking any medication.
After she was sent home, Rodger discovered that she couldn’t walk upstairs without sitting down at the top to catch her breath. She started walking every day so she could rebuild her fitness and strength. She now enjoys an active life, and cycles 13km to and from work every day.
In 2016, Rodger decided to try every sport in the 41 sporting categories open to women at the Olympics. She said: “I wanted to complete as many events as possible in and around South East London because I live there and want to find out what activities are available on my doorstep.” She also wanted these events to be free or low cost, as she believes exercise should be accessible to everyone. That’s when she decided to get involved with ‘5k your way: move against cancer’.
The ‘5k your way’ is a community-based initiative founded by Lucy Gossage and Gemma Hillier-Moses. Both women are passionate about supporting people living with and beyond cancer through the power of movement.
The group join in with the Catford Parkrun, which takes place every Saturday at 9am in Mountsfield Park. It’s a free event once you’ve registered. Rodger’s goal is to inspire people with cancer to get active and stay active, whether that’s running, walking or volunteering. “Everybody can choose what works for them, ” she said. As well as being active, Rodger enjoys getting fresh air, seeing the seasons change and feeling part of a community of people that are doing the same thing as her. She says she has a strong support network around her but “not everyone is lucky enough to get support”.
During Rodger’s time in hospital, she was kept in an isolation room and her “world became even smaller”. Parkrun, she maintained, is a great way of meeting people. “Once a month you can tackle the feeling of loneliness that so many cancer patients have experienced.
“It’s good to meet people who understand what you’ve been through. By sharing your experience of cancer; the diagnosis and the side-effects, these strangers become friends, and running together gives you a nice, warm feeling.”
The next Catford Parkrun is at 9am on January 26. Rodger is passionate about getting more people involved and says: “I’m not fast, but it doesn’t matter.”
To find out more about 5k your way, go to the website: https://5kyourway.org
To follow Rodger’s progress, check her website:
Or you can follow her updates on Twitter: @freyathlon