Cancer almost took my life, but it has inspired me to create a new one with running!

Charlie Dressed As Bell

Charlie Degale from South London may have started running later in life, but he has certainly made his stamp on the sport!

Just over five years ago, Charlie was a football coach based in the United States. Suffering with some hip pain, he returned to the UK to undergo a hip replacement surgery. In his pre-operation assessments, it was found that something was not quite right with raised testosterone levels. Charlie underwent a range of tests and CT scans where it was revealed he had tumours on the left side of his lungs, which were spreading. Six challenging months of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the rest of the tumours in his lungs, Charlie was thankfully overcoming his cancer with his hip replacement still to come.

Despite all these setbacks, Charlie focused on getting himself back to good fitness and health:

“I needed a focus to get my fitness back, and I turned to running. A few months after my hip replacement I started training for the 2018 London Marathon to raise money for the charity, Children With Cancer UK. I somehow managed to complete this marathon and I have completed 5 marathons since for the charity raising over £10,000. The last marathon in 2022 I ran in a bell costume! As well as marathons, I have also completed 2 ultra-marathons, an ultra-duathlon and the 4x4x48 challenge which involves running 4km, every 4 hours for 48 hours.

4 photos of Charlie running

“Running has given me a focus, it has helped me mentally as well as physically.”

With an incredible running journey and a staggering total raised for charity under his belt, Charlie did not stop there and has since gained his Leadership in Running Fitness qualification and set up his own RunTogether group!

“By telling my story and my journey I have helped to inspire others, and this gave me an idea to qualify as a Run Leader to further help others on their fitness journey through the power of running.

“My RunTogether group Run As One in Wandsworth, South London has 13 members ranging from 16-60 years old. It is all mixed ability with walkers, joggers, and runners so my sessions are inclusive for all. The feedback from my sessions has been really positive and it makes me proud to witness their progress.

“One of my members is recovering from prostate cancer and preparing to take part in the Race For Life event in July and in support, my group are planning to take part with him!

“What I love about RunTogether is the sense of community. RunTogether provides a platform to support everyone on their running journey. Whether you are a Run Leader, a walker, jogger, or runner, the support is endless. RunTogether caters for all abilities, and you will not have any sense of intimidation or exclusion.”

So, you may be thinking, after running marathons, ultra-marathons, supporting fantastic charities, and even setting up his own RunTogether group, what is next for Charlie?!

“Being a Run Leader has inspired me to continue learning and I am currently half-way through my Coach In Running Fitness qualification, and I’m also in the last stages of my Sports Coach degree with the Open University. On the running side, I am currently training towards the 100-mile Centurion race in 2024!

Charlie and running friends

“Cancer almost took my life, but it has inspired me to create a new one! RunTogether and being a Run Leader has given me a platform through running to inspire and help others.”

Charlie’s story has been nothing short of inspiring, and we hope that he can also motivate you to lace up your trainers and get involved with RunTogether regardless of experience, or ability as we are there to support you every step of the way. You too could become part of an ever-growing running community, where a group local to you will be ready to welcome you with open arms!

Check out our range of qualifications if you would like to follow in Charlie’s footsteps and become a Run Leader or Coach.





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