Wednesday 25th April 2018
Actress and TV personality Denise Welch is joining thousands of other runners on Sunday 20th May to take on the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run. Denise is running to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity she's been an ambassador for since 2012.
"I'm ready and raring to take on the half marathon in my adopted city," said Denise. "The training has been tough, but knowing I'm doing it for such an incredible cause is spurring me on. I can't wait to cross that finish line now, especially in the knowledge that my fundraising will go towards ensuring that young people don't face cancer alone."
As part of her preparation for raceday, Denise recently visited the Teenage Cancer Trust facilities at Alder Hey Children's Hospital along with her son, Louis Healy, and Grace Ferguson (granddaughter of Sir Alex Ferguson), who'll both be joining her on the course. The facilities support 13 to 19 year olds who are undergoing treatment for various types of cancer and was designed with the help of young patients to make it feel more like a home from home than a hospital ward.
Denise also sat down for a quick Q&A with Teenage Cancer Trust to let us know how she's feeling about running for the charity next month.
You're a long term supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust. How did you get involved with supporting the charity?
One of my closest friends, Angie, was working for Teenage Cancer Trust and encouraged me to become an ambassador after telling me about all the amazing things the charity does and the difference this makes to young people with cancer. It really resonated with me because at that time my eldest son, Matt, was a teenager and I couldn't imagine that, if he had experienced cancer, there wouldn't be this kind of support available for him.
You've taken part in the Great Manchester Run a few times now. What is it about this event that makes you keep coming back (other than your support for Teenage Cancer Trust!)?
Running and I are not natural bedfellows! But the Great Manchester Run is such a wonderful event which brings the people of Manchester together to support thousands of incredible charities. The atmosphere on the day is something very special, which brings the best out of everyone. This year, I will be joined by my son, Louis, and Grace, which makes it even more special. They will both be running for Teenage Cancer Trust too and joined me on my visit to the unit at Alder Hey to see first-hand the facilities that the charity provide to support young people of their own age.
Do you think you'll stick together to run or is Louis likely to shoot off and aim for a fast time?
We will start together, but I expect that will be the last I see of Louis before the finish line because I'm sure he won't want to be seen running with his mum!
What's it like out on the course when people recognise you all the time? Do you have to stop to chat or do you like to keep moving?
It's so lovely the amount of support and encouragement I receive along the route. I like to keep moving, otherwise if I stopped too long I would never get started again! But every step of the way, the incredible crowds cheer you on and shout your name out which really gives you that extra boost to get you to the end. Your fellow runners also encourage you, giving you that pat on the back or chatting to you just when you're starting to flag.