Wheathampstead cancer survivor, 71, completes first marathon

Norman Whitwood

Norman Whitwood - Credit: Archant

A 71-year-old pancreatic cancer survivor has fought to back to fitness and completed his first marathon - raising £2,200 for charity in the process.

Norman Whitwood, who lives in Wheathampstead, was lucky enough to receive life-saving surgery following his diagnosis in August 2012, and has now made a full recovery - one of just eight per cent of diagnoses which didn’t end in death.

He explained: “Because I was fit I knew immediately that something unusual was wrong so I got myself checked and diagnosed relatively quickly. My recovery has been progressive and bearable - apart from pounding the miles in training for the marathon.”

Keen runner Norman wasted no time getting back in shape following the procedure and competed in the Herts 10K in 2013 and the Silverstone half-marathon in 2014. But while training for the recent Milton Keynes Marathon he suffered an internal bleed as a result of his operation. This meant he was unable to run 200 yards let alone the distance required for his training.

After eventually recovering shortly before the event he returned to training and ended up completing the run alongside fellow members of his running club the Harpenden Arrows, based at St George’s School sports centre.

He said afterwards: “I had great support from the crowds as well as friends from Harpenden Arrows and my family. It was a tough course - it’s supposed to be flat around Milton Keynes, but it’s not!”

Norman raised funds for Pancreatic Cancer Action, a charity committed to working towards early diagnosis of the condition, educating the public by raising awareness and helping to fund research into dealing with treatment

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Founder and fellow survivor Ali Stunt said: “We are delighted that Norman took part in the marathon and raised an amazing amount of money for Pancreatic Cancer Action.”