Having recruited three 'non-runners' to the team, Becky started a search for someone with a little running experience by contacting running clubs across Kent. Nearly a dozen applications flooded in but one application really stood out. “Normally I’d wait a few days before sending the second application form to applicants.” Becky said, “but when I received Shelley’s application I responded within minutes of receiving it, I hadn't even met Shelley but I had to have her on the team.”
Shelley Abela is an experienced runner, looking after Run England Maidstone, a running group for all abilities and having already completed the Brighton Marathon in an impressive 3:46:41, qualifying Shelley for a ‘good for age’ place in the 2014 London Marathon, she was exactly what Becky was looking for. Before Becky contacted Shelley she had already decided to take on two marathons in a week in 2014, “I don’t like to make my life simple,” Shelley jokes “I decided to run the Brighton and London marathon in April 2014, just one week apart in a bid to raise money for charity.”
Shelley was due to start training for a winter marathon this August but on July 25th, Shelley was diagnosed with a Grade 2 invasive lobular breast cancer. “To say it was a shock was putting it mildly, you always think you’ll be fine and that these kind of things happen to ‘other people’, this time the unfortunate other person was me.” Shelley’s prognosis is very good, the cancer has fortunately been found early.
Bizarrely, Shelley was contacted by Team Run 12 exactly one week after her diagnosis. “After receiving the email I replied immediately ‘YES ME!’ I wanted to do it” Shelley explains, “I received an almost immediate email back, inviting me to join the team. I had my first real cry since my diagnosis. It is unlikely that I will be able to complete my winter marathon, because of the treatment, but this was a real motivator.”
Becky, captain of Team Run 12, said “It is an honour to have someone like Shelley on our team; she is a true inspiration and another reason to train hard for all of the team members. One of the reasons I wanted to run twelve marathons was to inspire other people to do something to improve their health – if Shelley can preserver with training through something like this a few hours in the gym a week for a ‘healthy’ person should not be difficult!”
Shelley is aiming to contribute £2,000 to the Team Run 12 target of £25,000. You can show your support for her by donating here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/TeamRun12
Shelley is currently awaiting her treatment plan. You can follow her treatment and training by joining her facebook group, www.facebook.com/ShelleyAbelaMarathonBlog.
Good luck Shelley! We are in awe of you the London Marathon for Team Run 12 and will be cheering you on the entire way.