Clear­ing hur­dles Tony likes the odds on race­course test

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By MELISSA JONES

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

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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.

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