Run the Month with Prostate Cancer UK: Former Sussex champion defies injury to complete her first marathon in memory of her father

A former Sussex county champion middle distance runner has fought back against injury to complete her first marathon, raising more than £1,000 for Prostate Cancer UK in memory of her dad.

Fred Allen was a helper at Rustington Youth Club and Worthing Harriers, and latterly a builder living in Lyminster, Rustington and Patching.

He retired to Limoges, France, and died there on July 15, 2020, aged 75. His ashes were brought back to rest in Lyminster and on Mount Merrick.

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Kate Baker, an artist who was born and brought up in Rustington, defied injury to complete the leading men’s health charity’s Run the Month: Marathon Edition, to raise and awareness of what is now the most commonly-diagnosed cancer in the UK.

Kate Baker with her dad, Fred Allen, who introduced her to running

She was introduced to Worthing Harriers by her father and represented the club and the south of England at home international level but had never run a marathon before.

Kate said: “When I finished, I was tired but elated, and I was blown away by the support, too. Sadly, I couldn’t run because of my knee injury but I strapped myself up and started by targeting a mile – and went on from there.

“I’m an ex-runner with stubbornness inborn, and that determination comes from my dad. I know he would have been proud of me.”

Kate, a retired PE teacher who now lives in Kent, was also running to celebrate her 48th birthday, having spotted an advert for Prostate Cancer UK’s virtual challenge online.

She said: “Seeing the advert was the spark for me to know it would be the right thing to celebrate my dad, and choosing my birthday was easy, as that’s when he had his operation all those years ago.

“It gave me a real focus and a chance to celebrate all those other lives, too.

“He would be so proud as I always said I’d never run a marathon but as he died in July 2020, this seems so right.”

Fred was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and had his prostate removed on Kate’s birthday later that year. Sadly, his cancer later returned.

Fred had introduced Kate to running at the age of ten and she loved it but vowed to never take on a marathon due to the rigors of training.

Run the Month tempted her to give it a go and even though she could have completed the distance in stages across the month, she opted to go the full distance on her birthday, Saturday, July 24.

Kate ran more than 47 miles in preparation but then sustained a knee injury less than a week before her run. Determined not to give up, she hobbled and walked the 26.2-mile distance, starting at 6.15am and receiving support from her husband, family and friends along the way.

Nicola Tallett, head of fundraising and supporter engagement at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “We’re incredibly proud that Kate joined our team of remarkable runners in taking on Run the Month: Marathon Edition and raised vital funds for Prostate Cancer UK.

“One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer. It’s now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK and the Covid-19 pandemic has made living with a diagnosis only harder.   

“The Run the Month: Marathon Edition runners, including Kate, have well and truly shown how families, friends and communities can work together, locally and across the UK to help save lives – especially during a difficult time.

“We thank Kate and everyone who is taking part in Run the Month: Marathon Edition – and all of our fundraisers – for their support.”