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Graham’s story: Running saved my life

Graham Tuttle

Forty years ago, aged just 30, I underwent the trauma of major chest surgery to remove a large tumour from my lung. I was then, and am still, a non-smoker. When recovering two members of a local running club, Orion Harriers in Chingford, buddied up with me, encouraging me to walk/jog/run and then later join their club. I had never run anywhere, not even for a bus, but Orion catered for all, from beginners, to the slow, to the elite. They nurtured and taught me so much, often running way below their own ability to encourage me. It worked. I have never been a fast runner but I can run. I have completed 5 London Marathons and kept up a 2 stone weight loss. I spent 40 years running the streets and parks of central London at lunchtimes, and when home, the trails of Epping Forest.

Upon retiring with my wife Wendy to Somerset, a little over 2 years ago, the very first thing I did was to seek out and join Shapwick Runners. I was very excited to find that the Bunny Hop race started in my lane in the village and I ran my first Bunny Hop in 2017.  I am probably the slowest club runner, but no one minds and fellow runners and Wookey the dog often wait for me to catch up in training runs.

I am now 70. I am still running as much as I can on the beautiful Somerset Levels even though, it has been newly confirmed, I have cystic lung disease albeit asymptomatic. As my lung function tests are way over 100% my Consultant tells his student doctors that I am an anomaly and puts down my fitness and excellent lung capacity solely to regular running. He says that I am a ‘special and interesting case’! Wendy says she already knew that! The Consultant also said I had inspired him to start running too!

I hope to run the Shapwick Bunny Hop again in 2019 and am aiming to do well in the Super vet 70 to 74 age category race.

Running has saved my life.

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