Travel agent Stuart Swords has set his sights on running a sub five-hour London Marathon – just eight months after he underwent chemotherapy.
Stuart, who runs Swords Travel with his partner Mark, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in August 2017 and started treatment last September.
Following his diagnosis, Stuart was referred by the Royal Marsden in Sutton to male cancer charity Orchid, for whom he is running in the hope of raising £4,000.
“They’ve been so important not just to me, but to Mark too,” said Stuart. “Knowing there is someone there for you on the end of the phone who understands what you are going through is invaluable.”
Prior to opening their Wimbledon travel lounge last April, Stuart worked in fitness and led an active lifestyle. “That just came to an end really,” he told TTG.
“Cancer has been horrendous. My life has changed completely. I still don’t fully understand what has happened to me, and why. Orchid though have helped me with this, and I really want to give something back.”
Stuart, who also had to deal with losing a friend to prostate cancer last year aged just 43, has been rising bright and early to kickstart his training and at his current pace, is on course to run a six-hour marathon. “Five hours is the goal though,” he said. “I don’t really care though so long as I get over the line.”
“Training is still a real struggle. My body isn’t used to exercise. It’s been a huge challenge just getting back into fitness. I’m going to do it though.
“I’ve always wanted to run a marathon and I’ve tried for years to get a place. So when Orchid offered me a guaranteed place, that really inspired me to do this.”
Like his training, Stuart’s fundraising efforts are well under way, with Swords Travel will this weekend (January 13) due to host Wimbledon’s first luxury travel show, which will feature a raffle in support of Stuart’s cause.
Entry is free, but spaces are limited. You can find out more about Stuart’s fundraising here.