Friday, 4 April 2014

12 Marathons, 12 Months by Becky Beard

The 28th August 2014, will mark four years since I had an accident that left me wheelchair bound, unable to walk and talk or even bathe alone. For three months, I suffered from seizures every 3-8 minutes caused by fluid on my brain after being crushed at a festival. Doctors were unsure of the cause and as a result, could not tell my family if I’d walk or regain my independence.

To say I’ve since made a full recovery would be an understatement. On April 13th, I will run my forth marathon of 2014!

I started running in January 2013, after being offered a last minute place in the Virgin Money London Marathon by the charity, Breast Cancer Care. With just 88 days until the race, I was repeatedly told how ‘mental’ I was for accepting the challenge, mainly because I couldn’t even run to the end of the road when I said ‘yes’. After the initial shock had faded, everyone around me was very supportive and helped me to raise over £11,000 in those 11 weeks. Having lost my Nan to breast cancer, and living with a family member with secondary breast cancer (which can be treated but not cured), my family is no stranger to the support that Breast Cancer Care provides.

I completed the marathon in just over five hours and within seconds of crossing the finish line, I wanted to do something else to raise more money and awareness. I spent many late nights secretly planning the concept of Team Run 12.

Several months after the marathon, I announced to my family and friends that I was going to run twelve 26.2 mile marathons in 12 months. I committed myself to raising at least £25,000 for Breast Cancer Care and Cancer Research UK. I then began the search for six people who would each join me for one of the twelve marathons.

Months of training commenced, various injuries left me bed bound but I made it to the first start line in January this year and ran 17 laps of a 1.63 mile course. I then ran a tiny cross-country marathon, got very lost en route to the finish line and ended up running over 30 miles in gale force wind and rain so icy that it left red marks on my skin. The third marathon wasn’t any easier. I ploughed round the course, at times knee deep in mud, after a week bed-bound with the flu. After several weeks rest I’m feeling prepared to go back to where this all started: The Virgin Money London Marathon.

I often get asked if I ever want to just give up. There are days when I wake up and think ‘I just can’t do this anymore’, runs when I just want to stop after half a mile and walk back home, times when eating my body weight in carbs before a race is more of a chore than a guilty pleasure and days when blisters stop me from being able to even wear shoes. In those moments, I have to force myself to remember why I am pushing my body and mind to their absolute limits.

The reason?  Someone is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes. Cancer Research UK is working to find a cure, to save more lives. They are working on treatments and promoting awareness to help improve survival rates
Breast cancer is the UK’s most common cancer and over 55,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with the disease every year.  Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist support charity helping the thousands of women waking up to the harsh reality of breast cancer across the country every day. Its specialist nurses, local services and emotional support network mean there’s always someone to turn to for information and support.

Both charities are making a huge impact on the lives of those living with cancer and Team Run 12 and I want to be part of that. To make a difference.

Alongside the fundraising, I’m actively trying to encourage those around me to be more active and do more for charities they support; and whilst my blistered, toe-nail-less feet might not be the best advert, it seems to be working. I may be living a very different lifestyle to that of your average 22-year old but in years to come I will be able to look back on this year with pride and a great sense of achievement. Pain is temporary, pride is forever.

If you’d like to follow Becky's journey, please visit, like on Facebook or follow on Twitter @team_run12. You can also make a donation here: