Clearing hurdles Tony likes the odds on racecourse test
ACANCER survivor and retired bookmaker is taking part in several special running events across UK racecourses, including one which takes in the stunning scenery of Cheltenham.
Tony Hollister has signed up to the Classic Run Series, which is being run by Hollicom Events, The Jockey Club and Reach plc – publishers of the Gloucestershire Echo.
It features 10k races at Prestbury Park (September 1), Aintree (September 8), Newmarket (October 20) and Ayr (October 6).
Tony was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 and after treatment, he discovered a new love for exercise.
It led to him losing nearly four stone and raising money for charity.
And when he comes under starter’s orders at Cheltenham Racecourse, he will be doing more good work.
He said: “As someone who had spent 45 years in the betting industry and who had a real love of horse racing, the chance to migrate my newfound enjoyment of running on to the racecourse was too much to resist.
“I now saw an opportunity to com- bine my running with visiting four lovely racecourses, two of which – Cheltenham and Newmarket – that I have already been to and also to raise money for a cause close to my heart, Prostate Cancer UK.”
Tony’s journey began when he visited his GP because he was concerned about the number of times he was using the toilet in the night.
A biopsy followed an examination and prostate cancer was confirmed in all 12 cores that were taken.
Aged 64, he faced scans to see if it had spread elsewhere but fortunately it had not.
Tony started hormone therapy, to reduce the testosterone the cancer feeds on.
“I started my radiotherapy in January 2015 and the 37 sessions were completed in the March,” he said.
“A PSA test returned a level of 0.1 (almost undetectable) and the consultant oncologist told me that I would remain on the hormone treatment for a further three years, with a PSA test and review every six months.”
In September 2015 he joined the Southport and West Lancashire Prostate Cancer Support Group.
At one of their meetings he met guest speaker Lucy Holmes who ran an exercise and healthy diet programme funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.
“Her enthusiasm for the programme was infectious and, as I was carrying rather a lot of excess baggage, I decided that the new year would see a new me,” Tony said.
“In January 2017 I got a referral to the programme and had an assessment before being given access to the gym at Dunes Leisure Centre, with a programme of exercises, together with access to an hourly circuit class once a week.”
He plucked up enough courage to enter the Mad Dog 10k Run with his partner Liz and they raised more than £800.
“The atmosphere was brilliant with entertainment every kilometre to spur the runners on,” said Tony.
“Liz and I enjoyed our running experience so much that a month later we started doing the local Parkrun on a Saturday morning, including volunteering as marshals whenever we couldn’t run.”
Now he is counting down the days to the first event of the series in Cheltenham.
Find out more at theclassicrunseries. co.uk. [email protected]plc.com
Tony Hollister runs with his partner LizEnter one of the races before midnight on St Valentine’s Day and you could be in with a chance of winning a romantic night for two.The prize for the winners is £100 towards a meal in a local restaurant.They will be selected at random and announced on February 18.