When Denise Courtney pulled on her running shoes last year to take part in the gruelling London Marathon, she had a very personal reason for doing it.
Of course no one signs up to run the 26 mile course without thinking long and hard about what they’re doing and why.
And after covering the distance once, Denise swore that would be her one and only marathon experience.
‘My brother Jason did it with me last year and both of us said “never again”,’ she laughs.
‘But then we were all sitting there having a couple of drinks one night and said “Let’s do it”.’
Denise and her brothers Jason, Matthew and Gareth Warr – plus brother-in-law Scott Wakefield – will be taking part to raise money for Orchid, a charity fighting male cancer.
Scott’s dad Don Wakefield sadly passed away last year after suffering from cancer and the rest have also been touched by it. Their dad Alan Warr was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly before last year’s London Marathon.
‘Our dad was diagnosed in April last year and the cancer was really aggressive,’ says Denise, from Baffins, Portsmouth.
‘He’d had the symptoms for ages but like a typical bloke he’d put it down to age. He was lucky because the cancer hadn’t spread and it’s been so far so good.
‘But you don’t realise how many men have prostate cancer until you start looking into it. If it gets caught early it’s really treatable and that’s why we want to raise awareness about it.’
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and 250,000 of them are currently living with it. One man dies from prostate cancer every year.
The group have been trying to train together whenever possible and are looking forward to taking on such a big challenge as a family.
When Denise took part in 2010 it was because she’d suffered a silent miscarriage – so-called because she hadn’t even known she was pregnant at the time. The grief had left her heart-broken but she found relief in running and set herself the challenge of covering more than 40 miles before she turned 40.
‘The marathon was the best thing I’ve ever done, adds Denise.
‘It was an amazing experience, really emotional and it was so hard. But I surprised myself and now I know I really can get through it.
‘I’m quite looking forward to it this year, especially because we’re all doing it together. It’s going to be very emotional, especially for Scott, but this has given him a focus.’
Denise, 40, Gareth, 36, Matthew, 39, Jason, 31, and Scott, 37, are all at different levels of fitness and will run their own race once they’ve started. They need to raise £10,000 for the charity.
To sponsor them log onto 40miles.co.uk