KELLY Thorn does not consider herself a natural runner.
In fact, the 36-year-old from North Shore had barely run before last year, when she decided to take part in a 100-mile stage race in the Himalayas in just over a week’s time.
But after fighting back from cancer, Kelly is determined to do anything she puts her mind to.
She is funding the trip purely with her own cash, so every penny she raises will go direct to Brian House and Trinity Hospice in Bispham.
Kelly was just 32 and had emigrated to Australia to start her dream life, with partner Adam Vernon, when she was given the devastating news she had the disease.
When she found a lump in her right buttock, she initially thought it was just a sporting injury, but it continued to grow.
In May 2008, doctors said it should be removed, but even at that stage, were not overly-concerned.
It was after Kelly had the tumour – about the size of an apple – removed, she was told it was cancer and she needed more surgery.
She said: “It was a big shock - I didn’t think it was anything, I thought it was just a cyst.
“I suppose I felt angry, because I’d been training as a personal trainer, looked after my fitness, I’d been eating clean and healthy for a number of years, I had put all that effort in.
“The only time I ever felt sorry for myself I think, was the second operation, when I was having the anaesthetic – I cried then.
“I had only just got over having the first operation in May and was starting to get back on my feet when I had to go through it again. But I know I was lucky.
“I was lucky with where the tumour was, if it had been in a limb, it could’ve meant amputation, or an internal organ it could have caused problems.
“Once it had gone, I just thought ‘let’s get on with it.”
Kelly was back at the gym within just a month – in a bid to build her strength and fitness back up. It took her nine months to get back to where she was before, but was determined.
“It was a big old chunk they took out – about 5ins.
“At first I couldn’t do anything – couldn’t walk, couldn’t lie on my back. But I was determined.
“It meant a lot of hard work – things like lunges, single-leg squats and so on in the gym – and it was a mental recovery as well.
“I think I was surprised with overall how strong I was.”
Once Kelly recovered, she and Adam realised they wanted to come back to the UK and Kelly returned to Blackpool, in 2010.
Just before Christmas, she fancied a physical and mental challenge – and feeling a marathon was not enough started researching ultra distance races.
And having settled on the 100-mile Himalayas race, she decided to raise money for Brian House.
Kelly, a nutrition coach, said: “I’d never really run before – I’m not a natural runner. I just felt I wanted to do it.
“Trinity and Brian House are wonderful. The work they do is amazing. I wanted to help them.
“I’ve built it up from short distances to start with, to doing a 40-miler the other weekend.
“I was fit, but didn’t have the endurance or stamina in my legs – I’ve had injuries, it’s been really hard work.
“But I am gobsmacked, I now run 40 miles! I’m excited, but nervous, about it now.
“I’m hoping people will sponsor me to raise money for such a good cause – even £1 can make a big difference.”
Kelly sets off for her mammoth challenge on October 25. To donate, log onto www.justgiving.com/kelly-victoria.
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