Craigleith cancer Grandad to tackle East Lothian 10k

Cancer patient William Neil is gearing up to run the Scottish 10K in September. Picture: contributed
Cancer patient William Neil is gearing up to run the Scottish 10K in September. Picture: contributed
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AN inspirational grandad who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer is planning to defy his illness to take part in a 10k run.

Bill Neill has been training avidly for the event – despite undergoing gruelling radiotherapy treatment for the past two years.

But the 76 year-old, who lives in Craigleith, is determined not to be beaten by the disease and has been building up his fitness levels.

Bill said: “There is a lot of scientific evidence which suggests fitness extends cancer survival and I buy into that philosophy.

“I started by walking for one minute then running for three or four minutes, but now I can manage 5K non­-stop.

“I feel satisfied after I’ve completed the runs.”

Bill, who used to work at the Edinburgh University Medical School and is a grandfather of six, hopes his efforts will encourage other cancer patients to do the same.

He said: “Being diagnosed with cancer at first was a shock.

“Especially when I used to work at the Edinburgh University Medical School and we had a urology department that dealt with prostate cancer.

“I always thought if I had it, I would be able to tell.

“When I was diagnosed two-and-a-half years ago, they discovered it had spread outside the prostate and I needed radiotherapy and hormone treatment.

“But even though I’ve been getting treatment to prevent the tumour from regrowing I’ve still been running and playing golf.”

After completing a 10K run last year, Bill had decided that would be his last one.

However, when he noticed the Scottish Half Marathon and 10K coming up in September, he was desperate to take part.

Bill added: “I did a 10K event last year and said to myself that would be my last one, but then when I noticed this one, and how close it was to Edinburgh, I just decided to do another.

“My target finishing time is 75 minutes and I am confident that I can achieve that.

“I hope my story encourages other cancer patients that are interested in running to do the same.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with 330,000 living with and after the disease in the UK.

By 2030 it is set to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer of all, according to Prostate Cancer UK.

A spokesman for the Scottish Half Marathon said: “We’re delighted to have Bill running in the Scottish 10K this year and we hope his story will inspire others to tackle life’s setbacks with a similar attitude.

“The Scottish Half Marathon + 10K welcomes runners of all abilities and we champion each of their individual journeys to the finish line.

“We’re now less than eight weeks away from the big day and we can’t wait for another fantastic event.”

The 2016 Scottish Half Marathon and 10K takes place on Sunday, September 18 along the East Lothian coastline – starting and finishing at Musselburgh Racecourse.

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk