Each and every year we hear many inspirational stories of runners who sign up to run the Brighton Half to raise money for a charity close to their hearts. This year Sara Snood, a local runner who was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2014 and set upon a hat challenge which raised thousands for charity, will be in our running field of 13,000 runners. Sara received a Point of Light award from Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year in celebration of her fundraising achievements. Now her ambitions lie in 13.1 miles on 28 February – if you see her running on race day (in another hat of course!), give her a cheer!
People in Brighton may recognise you from your ‘hat challenge’ – how did that go and is your challenge now finished?
Occasionally I get recognised; people are very kind and supportive. I feel overwhelmed with the support I get from doing my challenge. My official challenge was supposed to end on 12 October 2014, which was a year to the day of my first day of chemotherapy. However, I have been asked to keep going by so many people, that I feel it must go on. I also enjoy it so much.
Is Brighton Half your next fundraising goal?
Yes it is – I’ve currently raised over £16,300 for Macmillan, who have been there for me from the day of my diagnosis and continue to be there for me now – it would be amazing to get that to £17,000 for the Half Marathon challenge. I don’t think I’m going to break any records, but I’m utterly determined to run the whole way around the course.
Can you tell us about the #GoCheckYourBits campaign?
Initially I set up the campaign to get me through chemo one day at a time. I knew I was going to lose my hair, so a different piece of headgear seemed a good idea and it raised some money for Macmillan. My initial target was £200!
As the campaign picked up momentum my hope is that it will encourage people to be body aware, to know their norm, so if in the event of a lump or a bump or a new persistent cough for example, to go and get it checked out. Early diagnosis really does give the best prognosis. I think it’s a humorous way to keep the message going.
How is your health since having treatment for breast cancer?
I’m OK – the treatment takes its toll, and it’s taken a while to get back to running. I have ongoing nerve pain and lymphodema in my arm, which means I can’t go back to work. My partner and I have a building and renovation company which I am no longer able to work with due to the problems with my arm.
Amazingly well. I can’t quite believe it. A few months ago I could barely walk upstairs without being so short of breath. I set up a training plan, and I am now up to 9 miles. This weekend, I’m aiming for 10 miles. My pace is nowhere near where it was before my diagnosis, and my arm is very painful, but what I gain from running, and having the target of the half marathon, far outweighs the pain.
Can we expect to see you running in a hat on race day?
Yes! I’m in the middle of making it – all I can say at the moment is that it’ll be green in line with Macmillan’s colours – so I should hopefully be easy to spot on the day for my family and friends who will be there egging me on.