Dad inspires his girl to take on the Great South Run

A DEVOTED daughter is following in her fitness-loving father's footsteps after his cancer diagnosis rocked their family.

Tuesday, 18th October 2016, 11:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:59 pm
Brian Ward, who was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer last year, cycles behind his daughter Sharon Lobban in order to help her prepare for the Great South Run this weekend. Sharon will run for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Sharon Lobban, a children’s party entertainer known as Miss Sunshine, decided to take part in the 10-mile Great South Run around Portsmouth on Sunday after her 81-year-old cyclist and keen runner dad Brian Ward was told he had oesophageal cancer.

Sharon, 52, from Cosham, said: ‘Last August my daughter took my dad to Queen Alexandra Hospital to have a test for acid reflux.

‘I was getting ready to go on holiday when she texted me and said “mum, don’t go on holiday, don’t go anywhere”.

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‘Dad had been told he might have oesophageal cancer.

‘He’s very fit so it floored the whole family.’

One month after Brian was diagnosed, he had a complex operation to remove the tumour and part of his oesophagus. But he couldn’t resist a six-mile bike ride the day before.

Part-time swimming teacher Sharon, added: ‘When my dad was young he used to run a lot and at the age of 45 he started again. He made a promise that when he was 50 he would complete lots of challenges.

‘He did the World Veterans’ Championships in France, ran the Great South Run in 57 minutes and at 52 years old ran the London Marathon in 2hrs 44mins.’

It’s for that reason that Sharon, who has been training for six months, says she must complete next weekend’s challenge running, not walking.

‘My dad is a runner, that’s the whole reason I’m doing this,’ she added.

‘I want to run it for him. He’s an inspiration – to be still riding a bike at the age of 81 is amazing.

‘I’m no natural runner and this has been tough for me mentally, but the thought of my dad will keep me going. He’s an amazing man.’

Brian is proud of his daughter. He said: ‘When I was in and out of hospital Sharon was always there. She saw the amazing work the Macmillan nurses did and it made her to want to give back.

‘She found it difficult at the start but she’s been so determined, I’ve no doubts she can complete the challenge.’