Teacher from King Edward’s School Bath to tackle the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon for Cancer Research UK

October 28, 2016 // Rachel Ellis


abby-kean-with-husband-and-babyWhen the starter horn sounds for the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon, it will be a big moment for Abby Kean. The 36-year-old teacher from Bradford on Avon will be running the race in place of her husband, Jon, who earlier this year was diagnosed with lymphoma, and trying to raise as much money as possible for Lead Charity Cancer Research UK.

For Abby, a self-confessed non-runner, completing the 13.1-mile course on Sunday 12th March will be a challenge in itself. “The most I have ever run in one go is 5K at my local parkrun, pushing my 9-month-old baby in his buggy,” says Abby. “But it’s really important to me to run the race as a mark of support for my husband, to raise money for such an important cause and also raise awareness of lymphoma which can often present no symptoms at all”.

Indeed, Abby was surprised when Jon, 42, first visited his doctor back in July with a tickly cough and feeling a bit tired. Surprise turned to shock when a precautionary chest X-Ray revealed that Jon in fact had second stage lymphoma, a cancer which usually affects people much younger or older.

Abby is now passionate about raising awareness of the disease and of the seemingly minor symptoms that may point to it. “If you have a persistent cough, get it checked out”, she urges.

Fortunately in Jon’s case they caught the lymphoma early: Jon is currently undergoing his first course of chemotherapy and is bravely fighting the disease. For now he is even still able to run gently, which is his real passion.

As an experienced runner, and currently off work as a teacher at the same school as Abby, Jon will be helping to coach Abby as she trains for the race over the winter. Abby is no stranger to sport as she loves netball, teaching it along with Biology at King Edward’s School Bath, but she admits that running is really not her thing. “Even if I have to run, walk, run, walk, I just want to enjoy the half marathon and soak up the atmosphere of this fantastic event,” says Abby. “I’ve lived in Bath for 16 years and only ever spectated, so this is a great opportunity for me to take part and try to make a difference to something I feel very strongly about”.

Abby’s determination to complete the Vitality Bath Half Marathon is even more impressive given her own medical history. Having had major knee reconstruction due to trochlear dysplasia, she needs to take particular care when running – another real reason for her to take it slow and make sure she crosses the finish line safely.

Abby certainly won’t be short of support on the day, as a team from King Edward’s School Bath will be running the race with her next spring. With Cancer Research UK the dedicated school’s charity for this year, and another member of staff off with breast cancer, they have had little trouble forming a team for the Vitality Bath Half which will include staff and sixth form students.

Abby hopes to raise £500 for Cancer Research UK, which she will contribute to the school’s fundraising total. The school community has already raised an impressive £5,000 for Cancer Research UK at this year’s Great Bristol Half Marathon. Anyone wishing to support Abby can do so at her JustGiving page.

Funds raised for Cancer Research UK at the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon will be put towards valuable research and education in the local Bath and South West area. The charity will be making a difference to the local area by inspiring local school children to lead a healthy lifestyle and educating local people about healthy living. All funds raised by runners next March will help to make a difference and bring forward the day that all cancers are cured.

Claudia Ratcliffe, Sports Partnership Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “We would like to thank Abby for sharing her experience and for entering the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. We wish her the very best of luck on the day and for her husband as he continues his cancer treatment. We are delighted to be the Lead Charity for the race and we are looking forward to welcoming lots of runners to our team, all of whom can expect year-round support from us. With bespoke training plans, training days with our pro running coaches, a personalised technical running top and a huge cheering team on race day, the Vitality Bath Half promises to be a very memorable and rewarding event”.

To sign up to run the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon for Cancer Research UK, please visit here