Briony Blackmur (pictured above) recently conquered the 10km plus trail run despite not being able to run more than 20 seconds when she started with Can Too. She took on the challenge that seemed impossible to her to counter her feelings of powerlessness from watching loved ones succumb to cancer.
She choose the 10.8km South East Qld Trail Running Series Race 4 to be her goal event as ‘it was the opposite of anything I had ever thought to do’.
“I have journeyed alongside family and friends as they battle cancer. This year has been extremely hard as some very beautiful people died,” said Briony.
“I was overwhelmed with the enormity of my helplessness. I watch dear friends and their families manage such moments that seemed so cruel and all I could do was bare witness. I randomly found Can Too and thought I CAN TOO do something like this.”
Even though she started with no fitness base she enjoyed the training process and relished the support from her coaches and fellow participants.
“I went from doing absolutely no exercise, on the first training night I couldn’t run for more than 20 seconds, so it was a big learning curve, which highlighted how unfit I was.
“The Can Too program gave me an avenue to vent grief and anger with cancer and the feeling of powerlessness of being unable to help people I love. Even though my contribution is like a droplet in the ocean it helped me to achieve something.”
She was especially motivated by Can Too’s partnership with the Children’s Cancer Institute.
“Watching my dear grown up friends go through treatment and then journey to their death was numbing. Learning that my friend’s little one has to do the same but there is such disparity on the treatment options and information known on the impact of cancer on growing bodies. That is why my interest was particularly for children dealing with cancer.”
Connecting with other Can Too participants as they worked together on a positive common goal was also helpful for Briony in dealing with the grief of losing her aunt, her best friend’s husband and the battle her friend’s child is facing with a type of cancer that has no cure.
“The Can Too participants were lovely and supportive, cancer touches so many people’s lives and we shared this common experience.
“They always waited for me no question on training runs, even if it took me a long time to get up a hill, they were very understanding. The Coaches Amy Abrahams and Jaryd Grantham were also very supportive and helpful.”
Briony said that taking part in a Can Too program also connected her to her community.
“My colleagues at work, for the Department of Community Services, and family at home were all so supportive.”
The social worker’s advice for anyone starting a Can Too trail running program is to remember why you signed up.
“It’s also ok to tell your lovely trainer to go and motivate someone else as you’re trying to get up a hill.
“I surprised myself as I’m still running post event.”
Can Too Qld Program Manager and Coach Amy Abrahams said that the conditions were perfect and the Bayview trail a lot of fun.
“It was 10.8km of up and down and weaving around beautiful trails,” said Amy.
“Thank you to all our runners and supporters, together we raised over $14,000 to fund cancer research.”