The Fam­ily Af­fair

Runner's World (UK) - - Runspiration -

(l- r) Peter Quinn, Andy Fisher, Louise Shaw, Lily Quinn, Tracey Quinn and June Fisher ‘It was very emo­tional when we crossed the fin­ish line – the four of us broke down in a sob­bing mess.’ – Louise

for the ex­tended fam­ily. Tracey Quinn, Andy’s sis­ter-in-law, was there on day one to vol­un­teer. ‘I never thought I’d end up ac­tu­ally run­ning,’ says the 49-year-old. ‘But 5K seemed achiev­able. Ini­tially my sis­ter June and I would run a minute, walk a minute, but it went from there and we soon got the bug!’

It took Tracey’s niece, Louise (June’s daugh­ter) a lit­tle longer to be con­vinced. ‘At first I and my two cousins Alice and Lily just didn't un­der­stand why any­one would want to put them­selves through the pain,’ she laughs. It was her mum’s di­ag­no­sis with breast cancer in 2009 that led to Louise run. She took part in a Race for Life with her aunt and cousins to sup­port June, who cheered them on from the side­lines.

Run­ning also helped June re­gain her strength af­ter the cancer treat­ment. ‘Go­ing down to Parkrun, even when I couldn’t run, raised my spir­its and gave us a chance to spend time to­gether as a fam­ily,’ she says.

The fam­ily’s run­ning ex­ploits have gone far be­yond the 5K mark. ‘In 2012 I, mum, Tracey and Alice signed up for the Great North Run,’ says Louise. ‘It was on the date that would have been our late nanna’s birth­day, so it felt just right. We trained to­gether, which was bril­liant. It was very emo­tional when we crossed the fin­ish line – the four of us broke down in a sob­bing mess.’

Tracey has taken over from Andy as Parkrun event di­rec­tor. ‘I just love the many friends I have met through run­ning and Parkrun,’ she says. ‘I’m a be­liever in com­plet­ing, not com­pet­ing, and I en­cour­age run­ners of all abil­i­ties and ages.’ Even her 16-year-old daugh­ter, Lily, has suc­cumbed, com­plet­ing her first half marathon in May this year.

This Oc­to­ber, Tracey will clock up her sev­enth marathon, in York. And ear­lier this year she, Louise and June took on the Lon­don Marathon. ‘Mum was plagued by in­juries and strug­gled with the longer runs in train­ing, but we were the three mus­ke­teers and we were go­ing to do this!’ says Louise. ‘Race morn­ing was the most sur­real morn­ing of my life! There I was with my 58-yearold “marathon vir­gin” mum, about to run the world’s best marathon. We ran the whole way to­gether and crossed the line hold­ing hands, in tears. We found the rest of the fam­ily wait­ing with cham­pagne and as we stood there I thought about how far we’d all come to­gether. I can’t imag­ine our lives with­out run­ning.’

JUMP­ING FOR JOY Run­ning of­fers some­thing for ev­ery­one

When Andy Fisher launched the Al­bert Parkrun in Mid­dles­brough, eight years ago, the whole fam­ily was dragged along to help out. ‘ We had 26 run­ners at the first event,’ says Andy, a keen run­ner, who stum­bled upon Parkrun while on a work trip to Lon­don. The Mid­dles­brough event soon be­came a weekly rit­ual

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