Lynn Guiney and Steven Graham participate in the Athens Marathon in support of the Irish Cancer Society.
Left to Right: Deirdre Clifford (CARE Committee, Avolon), Steven Graham (Avolon), Carole Guiney, Lynn Guiney (Avolon), Lauren O’Kelly (Irish Cancer Society)
On 13 November, 2016, Lynn Guiney and Steven Graham ran the Athens Marathon in support of the Irish Cancer Society to help raise awareness and support this fantastic charity.
The Athens marathon is the original marathon race, tracking the original marathon course, from the village of Marathon, which Pheidippides ran to Athens to announce the Greeks’ victory over the Persians. It is considered to be one of the most difficult major marathons in the world: the course is uphill from the 10km point right through to 31km – to put that in context, that’s a half marathon uphill.
Below is Lynn’s recount of the day:
“On the day itself, the sun shone and the feeling in the village of Marathon was one of energy, excitement and nerves. Whilst Steven blitzed off, I decided to keep a steady slow pace, wary of the hills ahead. This meant I could enjoy the morning sunshine and surrounding countryside, whilst listening to RTE Playback on my headphones. Then my battery died, the sun got hotter, and the hills began. The battle was on. I stuck to the plan, eating as I could – gels, bananas, funny coloured drinks – high fiving the kids on the streets (they did keep me going) and looking for the mini-goals, the next traffic lights, that sign up ahead, whatever would keep the legs going. With 2km to go, I saw a sign saying it was 3km – that nearly killed me (it was wrong as it turns out), but then ahead I saw a fellow competitor running for the UK Charity Macmillan with just the words ‘SUSIE’ on his back. I thought maybe Susie is his Mum, his wife, his sister, and he is running for her, for her memory. And then I thought of Carole, my only sister, only sibling, older by just 1 year 5 months, fighting her own battle to stay positive despite a terminal diagnosis. And emotion took over, I was literally crying and running, thinking ‘get a grip’, ‘finish this off’, but also thinking, ‘this is hardly a battle compared to what she is going through’. And then another runner ran over to me, put their hand on my back, that’s all they did, nothing else, just enough to say it’s okay. And I kept going, running into the famous Panathinaiko Stadium, soaking in the cheers, and finishing this race for Carole and the Irish Cancer Society.”
Lynn’s sister, Carole Guiney, 48 years was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer in 2015. Despite such a devastating diagnosis, her cancer is being managed well and she currently enjoys an excellent quality of life. Carole feels very strongly about getting the message out there that ‘your life is not over when you get cancer’. Similarly, she wants to underline how important screening (ultrasounds in particular) are for those aged 30-45 who may have a close relative with breast cancer.
Over €16,000 was raised for the Irish Cancer Society, including a €5,000 donation from, Avolon.
Both Lynn and Steven would like to thank everyone that supported them throughout the way. For more information on the Irish Cancer Society, please head to their homepage at https://www.cancer.ie/