When I quit smoking I took up running

on Apr 10, 2018

In February 2015, I made a decision to quit smoking cigarettes after smoking for 18 years. When I quit smoking I took up running. I was able to do my first 10km run in September of 2015 running for about 2km and walking the rest of the 8 km. That was when I decided to register for my first full Marathon (42.2km) at the Calgary Marathon in May 2016. Well call me crazy, but you won't be far from describing my true personality! So I did this marathon at a time of 5hr 47 minutes and I was proud of myself. So I registered for the Okanagan Marathon in October 2016 the same year and completed this marathon at 4hrs 47minutes.


Then I registered for the Calgary Marathon May 2017 where I met the Team In Training guys and they asked if I wanted to run for LLSC, and I was not sure but it sounded like a good thing to do, so I gave them my details. Few weeks later I was trying to decide what destination run to go for and what course to run in the Fall of 2017. Then I got a call from my Fundraising Coordinator, and she gave me the pitch about the Team In Training for LLSC. Well I said yes I will run for them, basically because you don't say no to such a great cause especially when such a voice asks you! So I signed up for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon for my first ever fund raising experience.

The whole time I had my best training because the spirit of everyone who is living with or who have survived Leukemia and Lymphoma was with me. I have proof of this, during one of my 29km training runs, I ran out of water, I stopped at a house to beg the owner for water as I was dehydrating badly, she filled my water bottle and offered me cold juice. She asked what race I was doing and I said I was training for the LLSC and that I'm fundraising for them. She hugged me and said her son is a survivor and she is also involved in the course! I said what are the chances that the only house I had the courage to ask for water is that house. When you are sporting a dreadlocks hairstyle with dark glasses and sweaty, you don't walk up to stranger's house to ask for water at 12 noon lol! 

I had a great run in Toronto, finishing at 4hrs 53minutes after I was hit by a cramp at 23km, I limped, I crawled, I sat on the sidewalks several times in tears from the pain on my right quad, and left ankle. The paramedics asked several times if I wanted to quit since I still had almost 20km to go. I said I won't quit that the pain won't kill me but it will slow me down. I kept limping towards the finish line until I crossed and had to be helped by the medical team at the finish line because at that point my legs froze from a cramp on both my big toes and I was going to pitch forward in a fall. When our Toronto LLSC coordinator told me my finish time, I was in disbelief that I could still finish sub 5hrs with all the things I went through.

Overall I had fun working on this great cause! And I will do it again for sure! Having done this fundraising and having the opportunity to come across more information about this form of rare blood cancer, I feel honoured that the Coordinators at LLSC considered me worthy to be part of this great cause. During my social media campaigns for fundraising, I met so many people who are either survivors or whose family have experienced this disease in one form or the other. Some will actually be on the medication and treatment for the rest of their lives, some are kids as young as 6years old. I have a 5years old boy I'm not sure how I will handle it if he had to be on medication for the rest of his life. That is why the research for cure is huge for me, a future without Leukemia and Lymphoma is both desirable and attainable.

This organization, the LLSC is stepping up the game by moving from care, rehabilitation and management of the disease to discovery of a cure so we can RUN Leukemia and Lymphoma out!


-Chinekwu Ibeabuchi


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