#TimPageFitForLife Interview III, Michael McAuley - Benefits of Physical Fitness

"We should be preparing our bodies for what life throws at you."

  ~ Mike McAuley

This third #TimPageFitForLife interview is with Michael McAuley.

Michael graduated from the University of Ulster in Sports Coaching.  A creative and effective entrepreneur, he is Owner of EXSTO Fitness & Fitness Trainer at EXSTO Gym.

Michael, Fitness Trainer to Ruth and myself for 18 months, talks about the 'massive' health benefits of fitness including the physical, mental, emotional and occupational aspects of our lives.

Michael sees one of his aims as to "try and just get people moving", citing the American Heart Association as one of thousands of resources available on the web.

 

Thank you to Michael for getting me moving.  After 18 months, I'm the strongest and fittest that I've ever been ... I can recommend him as a Fitness Trainer who can help prepare his clients for what life may throw at them.  Thanks also to Andy Magowan, cameraman for this interview, who's up next in our fourth interview.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In case you missed them, previous interviews were with

  • Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist - Overview of Blood Cancers
  • Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist - Physical Fitness for Patients

Next week, a further three interviews will be posted:

  • Andy Magowan - Exsto Gym - Benefits of sports massage
  • Prof Ken Mills - LLNI - the importance of research
  • Dr. Kyle Matchett - LLNI - repurposing of drugs

 


#TimPageFitForLife Interview II, Laura Croan - Physical Fitness for Patients

The second #TimPageFitForLife interview is with Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Lymphoma, based in Belfast City Hospital.

Laura's post is funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre, doing great work - caring for patients, providing various resources for the Cancer Centre and also funding research.

I received help from 'Friends' in 2008 & 2013.  Also, in 1985, during a month of radiotherapy at Belvoir Park Hospital, I recall the kindness of the "Friends of Montgomery House" volunteers.  The charity changed its name in 2006 when services moved to the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

Here's a Belfast Live article on the occasion of Laura's appointment.

Laura speaks about the benefits of physical fitness for patients.  If the patient's condition permits, quality of life can be improved with potential benefits of increased muscle strength, energy, sleep & self-esteem - potentially resulting in less fatigue from both disease and treatment.

The academic papers that Laura mentions are listed here.

Thanks to Laura for providing these references and also for being camerawoman during the interview with Dr. Drake.  And thank you to David Speers, BT Apprentice, for being cameraman for this interview.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In case you missed it, the previous interview with Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist is here

In the next interview, to be published on Friday, Michael McAuley, Owner of Exsto Fitness & Personal Trainer discusses the many benefits of fitness for life.

Next week, the remaining interviews will be posted:

  • Andy MaGowan - Exsto Gym - Benefits of sports massage
  • Prof Ken Mills - LLNI - the importance of research
  • Dr. Kyle Matchett - LLNI - repurposing of drugs

 


#TimPageFitForLife Interview I, Dr. Mary Drake - An Overview of Blood Cancers

In this, the first #TimPageFitForLife video interview, I interview Dr. Mary Drake, Consultant Haematologist at Belfast City Hospital.

Dr. Drake explains the main types of blood cancer - leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma - and describes progress in treatment.

Dr. Drake speaks of the sense of community in Northern Ireland, and how local charities Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI & Friends of the Cancer Centre make a difference to her working life every day.

If you would like to donate to LLNI, the BTmydonate site is here

In the next interview, Laura Croan, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Lymphoma, explains the role of fitness for patients.


Larne - 10 Sep - 21 of 22

With only Stormont to go, Larne parkun may prove to be the day with the bluest sky - a glorious drive up from Holywood, and a great day for the first Larne 10k event.  I will aim to do this next year.

Larne-AB

Chris McGonagle gets the prize for furthest-travelled supporter.  Chris, formerly a BT colleague, has been encouraging me from Austin USA for months.  Back home in Banbridge for a few days, Chris drove to Larne to run his first parkrun.  I really appreciated Chris' presence - it was good to swap notes on running, IT, recovery from injury and resilience.  We were pleased to meet up with Phil McIlwrath and Rosy Ryan so soon after Rosy's Lagan10k run last week for Pancreatic Cancer UK.  And great to see regular co-runner Heather Chestnutt again.

Larne-D

Dom Dorris, Run Director, gave a warm welcome to everyone, introducing Larne as one of the tougher parkruns.  I like quotes, and, talking about the hills at Carnfunnock Park, something Dom said rang true:

"The hills are your friend."

 ~ Dom Dorris

For me, this relates to another philosopher's quote which can be true.  Sometimes.

Larne-G

The run was certainly tough, at 44:01 one of my slowest.  I put this down to the repeated circuits up the hills... however, after the race, Dom explained that the heat of the day is not necessarily the runner's friend, and I can see this is true.  Photos from the day show a lot of perspiration on a lot of people!  Great to have BT colleagues Mark Crothers, Michael Fulton, John Kelly and Laurence O'Hagan running alongside. 

Larne-P

And so, at last, I got to meet Gillian Craig, regular runner at Larne parkrun.  Gillian has an enviable PB of 31:27, and her story, including aspects of living with cerebral palsy, was recently on the parkrun weekly newsletter.  Thanks to Gillian for encouragement and support.

"Because of parkrun, and in particular the volunteers at Larne parkrun, I don’t just watch sport from the sidelines anymore. I take part. And I don’t just cheer. I get cheered on. From my family and from the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank the parkrun community enough for your support and encouragement."

~ Gillian Craig

Larne-V

Many Larne volunteers had to leave on time for the Larne 10k, but Ruth was still able to secure a very upbeat photo!

Larne-W

After tea and biscuits in the Sea Cadets' Hall, we drove up the hill to the Parklands Cafe for coffee with Rosy & Phil and David & Fiona Robinson.  On a day as good as this, this was a great place to enjoy the view.

Larne-Y

Larne photo album is here.

And now, one single parkrun remaining - Stormont on 24 September, the 32nd year to the day that, as BT Industrial Placement student, I went into Ward 22, Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital very ill with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Before then, it's a full week for #TimPageFitForLife:

Tuesday, in BT Riverside, there's a DKMS stem cell Donor Drive, hoping to reach our target of 100 prospective donors

On Friday, we attend the launch of LLNI's #ImStill campaign

And - keep an eye open for a series of six video interviews with people from the domains of medicine, fitness training and LLNI's research.

Come along to Stormont parkrunon the 24th if you can.

"The hills are your friend."

Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI: £11,846

Raised for DKMS (formerly Delete Blood Cancer): £600

People registered with DKMS as prospective donors: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 27

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%

18

20 Aug

Falls

37.88%

19

27 Aug

Derry City

42.61%

20

3 Sep

Ecos

38.88%

21

10 Sep

Larne

34.04%


Inspiring Rosy runs Lagan10k for Pancreatic Cancer UK

"My feet are light, my legs are strong, I can keep this pace all day long!"
~ Rosy Ryan

At Waterworks - the 2nd of my 22 parkruns for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI - I met Rosy Ryan.  Waterworks is a great open course. The day we were there, though, it rained a lot and I found it tough going.

Rosy ran with me that day and I deeply appreciated her encouraging mantra, even if I didn't have much spare breath to join in!

I spotted that Rosy was taking part in today's Laganside 10k organised by North Belfast Harriers; Ruth and I thought we'd go along to greet Rosy and Phil at the finish line.  Also with Rosy - Andrea Kearns from Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Rosy Phil

Rosy

As we waited, it was great to see lots of people from NI's running community who we've met over the past 6 months. Northern Ireland really does have a great running community. It was also good to catch up with Matt Shields and parkrun news.

Runners

Rosy kindly agreed to a brief video interview.

Thanks to Rosy for encouragement and, really, inspiration - those words from Waterworks have often been in my head over these months.  A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is a tough enough road.

Rosy's JustGiving page is here.  Rosy mentions Jog Belfast - link here.


Ecos - 4 Sep - 20 of 22

The forecast was 'heavy rain', so we headed to Ballymena as prepared as possible.  It seems the Ecos Centre is undergoing some renovation, but the surrounding parkland is absolutely worth a visit.

Ecos-V

Ecos has a friendly set of volunteers, with a well-organised setting up in progress as we arrived - signage, road cones, sheltered area for tea/coffee and ample biscuits.  Run Director Alastair Donaghy gave everyone a warm welcome, 

Ecos-B

Before the run, Peter Hamilton introduced himself - another runner who has already run Northern Ireland's 22 parkruns.  Peter had just run his 150th parkrun the previous week - congrats!  Ecos Ballymena is his favourite parkrun.

Ecos-A8

For Ecos, son Chris and fellow Corrymeela member David Mark ran with me.  It's another great parkrun course, organised as a two-loop figure-of-8.  The archway of trees at one stretch of the run was beautiful - sorry, didn't get a photo.

Ecos-P

Ruth has been able to come along to all of the parkruns, except Limavady.  As everyone heads into the distance, Ruth generally takes the opportunity to capture something of each course's scenery before the runners return - like this photo of a wild flowers garden.

Ecos-J

parkrun has various types of volunteer, including Guided Runners, who can run alongside people who are blind or visually impaired and their Guide Dog.  Before the run, we briefly met Torie Tennant and her Guide Dog.  Later, we finished the run close together.  Thanks to Torie for her encouragement and support.

Ecos-T

Before leaving we got to speak with Susanna and Matthew Allen.  After encountering parkrun for the first time, Susanna thought the whole experience - running and sense of community - was so good that she worked with people to set up Ecos parkrun over four years ago.   

Ecos-A9A

The Ecos sense of community was certainly alive and well on Saturday.  As Matthew said 

"The last person over the line gets as much support as the first person over the line."

And the running performance at Ecos was absolutely evidenced by the first person over the line.  Peter Avent, visiting from Edinburgh, smashed the Ecos record by 22 secs, down to 15:26.

Ecos-T1

Ecos photo album is here.

Two to go! ... Larne and, finally, Stormont 24-September.

Very best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI: £11,639

Raised for DKMS (formerly Delete Blood Cancer): £600

People registered with DKMS as prospective donors: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 25

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%

18

20 Aug

Falls

37.88%

19

27 Aug

Derry City

42.61%

20

3 Sep

Ecos

38.88%


Derry City - 27 Aug - 19 of 22

We headed up to Derry on the Friday, staying in the friendly White Horse Hotel.  It was a beautiful evening, so before a good meal in Fitzroys we walked the course.

Derry-X5

On Saturday, we arrived at the busy starting point at 9, with time for some more photos as well as warm-up.

Derry-C

Run Director Gerard Harkin gave everyone a warm welcome, emphasising the need to give way to the (many) pedestrians, cyclists and other runners that were about.

Derry-D

Colleagues Riona and Nate from BT accompanied me, and was also good to see Riona's family and friends.

Derry-K

Before the run, I met Fidelma Hodgkinson.  Fidelma had an allogenic stem cell transplant in 2002 - her sister was donor.  It was helpful for Ruth and me to hear Fidelma say, 14 years post-transplant,

"I haven't looked back"

Swapping notes with someone who has journeyed further down the road can be an encouragement.

Derry City was a beautiful run.  At half-way, you run around a statue (which was wearing a parkrun jersey!) and head back the way you came.  Many runners on the return leg encouraged people still making their way to the half-way point.  One advantage of the Derry course is the clear visibility of the whole course - you know how much further you still have to go.  

Kerrie McIlmoyle, who I'd met at Run #8/22 at Limavady, was first woman finisher at Derry.  Kerrie came back to run the final straight with me.  With Kerrie's positivity, I went for a few final speed bursts.  So, thanks to Kerrie for helping me achieve a new PB, by 3 seconds!, of 35:10.

Afterwards, Fidelma could see I needed to recover and she gave me her water bottle. Seems a small gesture perhaps.  However, in the moment, it meant a lot.  You never know when a simple act of insightful kindness will 'land' powerfully with someone.

Derry-N

Before leaving we spoke again with Run Director Gerard.  Looking at the Peace Bridge and the shore across the River, he spoke of the variety of people who meet up at parkrun.  I left Derry mulling Gerard's words...

"We bridge lots of divides."

DerryT

Derry City photo album is here - photos from Saturday, and also some from the Friday evening.

Now, we're into the Final Three - Ecos (Ballymena), Larne and finally Stormont 24-September.

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI: £11,499

Raised for DKMS (formerly Delete Blood Cancer): £600

People registered with DKMS as prospective donors: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 25

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%

18

20 Aug

Falls

37.88%

19

27 Aug

Derry City

42.61%


Restore Enniskillen parkrun to the National Trust property at Castle Coole

I'm running all of Northern Ireland's 22 parkruns for a local charity.  With 18 venues run - 4 to go - it is a terrific experience!

Each course has its own characteristics;  all have a powerful sense of achievement, community and encouraging support.

My 6th run was Enniskillen parkrun at Castle Coole, a strikingly beautiful place. 

Enniskillen-U

The blog for that day is here.

Recently Enniskillen parkrun and the National Trust decided to part ways, with Enniskillen parkrun seemingly required to relocate.  I think that development is regrettable - not just for local parkrun regulars, but also for the National Trust and the town of Enniskillen.

Heather Harper, National Trust member and parkrun regular, recently set up this change.org petition

I don't really 'do' petitions, but I am signing this one, for several reasons

  1. Welcoming
    As a National Trust member (we signed up on 14th May when we visited Castlecoole parkrun, impressed by the collaboration) I want the "Welcome to Castle Coole" sign to signify an open, progressive National Trust that strives to be inclusive and engaged with its community
    Enniskillen-A
  2. Generative
    parkrun embodies the sort of society I want to see for future generations - people taking responsibility for their well-being + opportunity for regular volunteering + positive cross-community encounter.

    The National Trust in GB promotes this positive ethos (on the NT website).  So, surely, can the local NI National Trust.

  3. Wellness-Enabling
    Research is emerging that regular exercise can help prevent some cancers, ease the path through treatment for people who get sick, and promote rehabilitation and return to work afterwards.

    As a four-time survivor of aggressive blood cancer, I am fitter and stronger than ever before.  The regional parkrun community, including the strikingly beautiful Castlecoole venue, have played a part in that.  I hope that future visitors to Enniskillen can have the same amazing running experience at Castlecoole that we enjoyed.
     

Hopefully, the National Trust and parkrun can revisit this decision - the life-affirming benefits to local people of this healthy and community-focused weekly initiative should not be discarded but, rather, treasured.

If interested, have a read of the press article above and, if supportive of retaining Castle Coole as a parkrun venue - the petition is here.


Falls - 20 August - 18 of 22

Heading to Falls parkrun, it was raining at home and, from the car, grey clouds hid the Belfast Hills. But the weather turned out kinder than expected.

Great to have supporters Dennis & Elaine Mercer along again.  

Falls-D

Sarah Williamson had offered to pace-set, including a few walk breaks. Thanks to David Price for finishing with me today, and congrats on a new PB today.

Falls-CRun Director Stuart Kennedy gave a warm welcome to everyone.  

Paul Clarke, who did the pre-run check at Colin Glen last week was at Falls this week.  We swapped our experiences of running after the race.  Paul said "I never thought I would be a runner."  This from a man who has run 66 parkruns...

Falls-R
On one of my laps, I shouted out to our Run Director

"Beautiful run at Falls!"

Stuart's retort

"Beautiful people at Falls." 

Sarah previously ran with me at Queen's in May.  Again, as we ran together, we swapped thoughts on leadership, leadership development and experience of corporate organisations.  Sarah is a highly effective mentor and encourager, taking time to understand both my need for some walking (I'm still cautious after injury) and my aspiration for 5k in less than 40 minutes.  We managed both.

Falls-I
Several people kindly gave anonymous donations to LLNI, logged here with 0% commission at BT mydonate.

After the run, Conal Corr spoke with us.  A medical graduate, Conal is starting out on his professional career.  Conal has also been fund raising for charities, including Leukaemia research, and it was great to meet him.

Thanks to everyone at Falls today for the welcome and support.  Ruth and I intend to be back to this beautiful location.  One of the benefits of doing this circuit of all NI parkruns has been discovering so many scenic places we have never visited.

Falls-P
Falls' photo album is here.

We're looking forward to next week's run at Derry - making a Bank Holiday weekend of it - after which we're into the Final Three!

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £11,434

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £600

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 25

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%

18

20 Aug

Falls

37.88%


Colin Glen - 13 August - 17 of 22

 

I had been anticipating Colin Glen as one of the more hilly courses on my tour of NI's parkruns.  With injury behind me, my physio recommended a conservative approach to running - "don't over-extend your stride" - both up- and down-hill.

Colin Glen will always be a memorable run - not due to its difficulty - but because I was fortunate to have two experienced runners at my side on this steepest run of my life to date.  Linda Harley Gillespie had offered to run with me, keeping time.  Linda is the first woman to have completed every local parkrun; she also has a great blog here.  I was also permitted to accompany Cracker in his traditional photo call! ...

Colin-Glen-B

Also, "parkrun Jim" offered to run alongside us. Jim Clinton was the first person in Ireland to complete 250 parkruns; our run together was his 275th.  Jim now has #500 in his sights. 

Colin-Glen-I

The initial 2km climb was not as tough as I had feared.  I was guided well.  The beauty at the top, running around the Lake twice with the Belfast Hills looming down on us, means that Ruth and I will be back to Colin Glen for a walk soon.

Colin-Glen-N

The Volunteer team was very friendly, with a warm welcome from Jim Bradley and Team to everyone including a group of "Steps To Health" graduates.  A number of people kindly donated to LLNI - with £111 transfer recorded here.

Colin-Glen-W

Today's album is here.

We drove home to join friends Linda & Derek Bell who were having a coffee morning in support of LLNI.  This was very well supported - photos & amount raised are on the blog and Facebook.

Next week, we're into the 'Final Five' ...

  • Falls
  • Derry
  • Ecos
  • Larne
       then  a contingency week, before...
  • Stormont, final run, on 24 Sep

Thanks to everyone for the support which has been, and continues to be, powerful.

Best wishes,
Tim

Project Objectives

Raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma: £11,424

Raised for Delete Blood Cancer: £600

People registered with Delete Blood Cancer: 62

People who have signed up with parkrun: 25

Tim's Running Progress

#

Date

Course

Age Grade

1

19 Mar

Belfast Victoria

41.2%

2

26 Mar

Belfast Waterworks

40.4%

3

16 Apr

Bangor Ward Park

35.53%

4

23 Apr

Portrush

37.12%

5

7 May

Queens

39.26%

6

14 May

Enniskillen

38.13%

7

21 May

Comber

39.50%

8

28 May

Limavady

41.97%

9

4 June

Valley

38.37%

10

11 June

Wallace

39.83%

11

18 June

Ormeau

42.55%

12

25 June

Antrim

39.80%

13

2 July

Carrickfergus

35.21%

14

9 July

Citypark Craigavon

34.48%

15

30 July

Armagh

37.12%

16

6 Aug

MUSA Cookstown

39.48%

17

13 Aug

Colin Glen

35.93%