Competitor Stories – Samantha Evans

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Samantha Evans who took part in the Westonbirt House 10K with us.

‘The big C hit me totally off guard. A happy healthy single mummy to a wonderful two year old, a well accomplished staff sergeant with 19 in the British Army on the brink of commission as a late entry soldier.

In Feb 2015, a small area of tissue felt different, on visiting the doctors I was told it was nothing to worry about so I left it. By August 2016 it was still there so I pushed for a referral to the Thirlestaine clinic in Cheltenham. A few days later my world fell apart. After an ultrasound, mammogram and a few biopsies I was told I had to wait for the official results but I would start my care program in my next visit.

I sat in the car and cried. Would I get to see my beautiful daughter go to school? How do I tell my family and friends?

Three weeks later I was called back for my results. My surgeon was the one to tell me and she was amazing. Judged me perfectly. She was straight talking and had my plan for treatment all ready.

Within the week I started chemotherapy and the long road to recovery. Chemotherapy was awful, but every time it got painful or too much I would remind myself that it would all be worth it.

And it was now in Aug 2017, after 6 rounds of chemotherapy, a full mastectomy and rebuild and 3 weeks of radiotherapy I am back out running and enjoying life.

I could not have done it with my family and friends, especially my mum Fiona Poulter. My rock through it all looking after my daughter, dog and I for most of it. She has had a harder year than me. So to all carers out there, Thank you.’

Competitor Stories – Celia & Steve Randerson

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Celia & Steve Randerson who took part in the Westonbirt House 10K with us.

‘Steve and I have been running for a few years and we have both in the past completed half and full marathons.  In June 2016 however our lives were turned upside down with the news that Steve was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer.  Unfortunately, by the time it was discovered it had already spread to his lungs and from the off they were talking of containment rather than cure.  Despite this devastating news, Steve has remained incredibly positive and has continued running – In fact we have just finished a challenge to complete all 23 Welsh parkruns in 23 weeks for 2 cancer charities to say thank you for the support and treatment they have provided so far – Velindre Cancer hospital in Cardiff and Macmillan Cancer support.

Despite Steve’s health issues and maybe because of them, we set ourselves this challenge for the first 5 months of 2017.  Beginning on 31 December 2016 at Llanelli Coastal parkrun, the tour has taken us as far West as Aberystwyth and as far North as Bangor and lots of places in between.  The 23 in 23 challenge raised an amazing £10,000 so far for those 2 charities and we wore our 23 in 23 shirts whilst completing the Westonbirt House 10K.

Steve has found continuing to run through his treatment has helped him focus on something much more positive than cancer.  He felt like stepping up from a 5K, so the Westonbirt House 10K was selected as the next running challenge for us.  It looked like a great event and to be honest, I saw the medal and it just had to be done.  We really hope that through Steve’s amazing efforts continuing on his running journey and not giving in to cancer we are hopefully inspiring people to carry on running even when they don’t really feel like it.  If Steve can do it then you can do it :)’

Competitor Stories – Mark Pembury

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Mark Pembury who took part in the B&W Recruitment Chippenham 10K with us.

“I took up running in March 2014, one month after starting Slimming World in a bid to do something about my weight after my daughter expressed her concern.

My initial target for running was to complete the Chippenham 5k river run in the July of the same year, which I did. Eight months after starting Slimming World I had lost 7 st 3 lbs and got the running bug. Something I never had before. I completed my first 10k in the October of that year (Calne Clock Tower Challenge) and did several other 10k races in the following year before running my first half Marathon  (Chippenham) in September 2015.

I’ve now done three half marathons in total with a target of at least two this year (Bath this year is my first) and while I’ve lost a bit of speed this year, I still get as much of a buzz as I  did when I started.

The Chippenham 10K was a local event that kept me on the path towards my goal this year, of two half marathons and gives my running a focus. Now that I’ve achieved my initial targets it’s now about consistently and keeping it going. I do try to spread the word on running and try to encourage people to at least try the Couch to 5k, even if all you want to do is run with a buddy “.


Competitor Stories – Sean Underwood

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Sean Underwood who took part in the Atwell Martin Lettings Westonbirt Triathlon with us.

“I was morbidly obese in Jan 2016 and weighed 23 stone. I couldn’t run a mile or even 100m for that matter! I was playing rugby and embarrassed myself on the pitch being so unfit in front of my 9 year old son, so on that day (Jan 4th 2016) I joined a slimming world group. I lost 1 stone in my first week. I lost 2.5 stone by February 2016 and started running….1 mile at a time…..over the months I built it up and continued to lose weight. 7 stone lost in 7 months and I managed to build my running up to a 10K race….then a half marathon.

I now run regularly with a club and I’ve completed 3 half marathon with more booked. Also I’ve taken on loads of 10ks on and off road and cycled the Malvern Madhatter 75 miler. This year my big events are Ride London and London Triathlon Olympic distance so Westonbirt was my first ever tri.

I’ve now lost 8 stone in total and don’t intend on losing any more. I’m a different person I can do everything I want, I’m no longer under a specialist for chest breathing problems and my blood pressure for the first time in adulthood is “normal”!”

Well done Sean!

Competitor Stories – Chris Britton

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Chris Britton who took part in the Atwells Martin Lettings Westonbirt Triathlon with us.

When I was 19 I was diagnosed with leukaemia, and underwent three years of chemotherapy, during which I had to have both of my hips replaced. After my treatment I was determined to live a normal life, so took up cycling as I was told not to do any running by my surgeon.

As a swimmer in my youth, and then becoming a regular at the DB Max TT Series, it was only natural that I would go for another DB Max event and enter a triathlon against the doctors recommendation – Westonbirt 2016 was my first ever triathlon, and somehow I finished in 25th place!

 I decided to enter again this year because it’s a great venue, flowing bike course and a friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately my knee and hip have been causing problems this year, so I haven’t done any run training.

 I wasn’t aiming to beat my swim or run times, just looking to enjoy the day!”

Competitor Stories – Richard Gibbs


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Richard Gibbs who took part in the Atwells Martin Lettings Westonbirt Triathlon with us.

“The bottom line is after two heart attacks and the years slipping away, I wanted to make a difference – a REAL difference to myself, my life and ultimately others!

I also have ‘bathophobia’, which means I swim with my eyes closed and can’t put my head under water. This is a crippling fear, so I met it head on at Westonbirt!

I have completed a couple of novice triathlons and was event leading at Bucks, only to be sent the wrong way! Swimming still terrifies me – the furthest I’d ever swam was 200m before I took part in Monday’s event. So the 400m swim leg on Monday gave me sleepless nights.  Open water will be the next big aim….. EVEN SCARIER!!!

I went from a slow running fatty, to setting up #RunTime2016 (see here for more details and how much I raised) and losing 35+ kg. I eventually completed a few duathlons and I found them a tad easy, so wanted to push myself – the greatest rewards are often at the other side of your deepest darkest fear. I really tested the theory to the full at Westonbirt!”

Well done Richard! DB Max are proud to be part of your journey!


Competitor Stories – Gareth Cannings


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Gareth Cannings who took part in the February Chilly 10K with us.

“Our son Jack has a life limiting illness called Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). This is a muscle wasting disease which will eventually leave Jack in a wheelchair full time.

We are trying to fundraise £50,000 so that we can adapt and extend our house to allow Jack as much independence movement around the house as possible. We want to make the whole of downstairs wheelchair friendly and also put in a through the floor lift so he can have a bedroom and wet room upstairs. This will provide him with a reasonable quality of life whilst its available to him.  Jacks illness has proved to be extremely aggressive so time really is of the essence.

My friend (Mark Gallagher) and I decided to get fit and raise money by running, as well as other sponsored events. We chose DB Max Chilly 10K as a marker to gauge our fitness and I had set myself the target of completing the run in a 1 hour. I was elated that I ran this in 57minutes and 35 seconds. This has now given me the motivation to keep going and carry on doing sponsored runs to help raise more money for Jack.

We have created a Facebook page called ‘Jack just wants to be’ and this explains in full Jacks story and all the events we have coming up. We would really appreciate any likes, shares and donations so that we can give our little boy a better quality of life.”


Competitor Stories – Dave Hyde


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Dave Hyde who took part in the Westonbirt 10K with us last year.

“I have been running for 20 months now, slowly building up to a standard which has well exceeded my expectations so I am really enjoying it.

Last year I decided that I want to run but also fund raise and Cancer Research is very close to my heart, having lost my Dad a couple of  years ago to cancer. This hit me very hard and also lost a good friend at a very young age to Testicular cancer.

I started out in January at a Bath Mud trial and have completed many events last year (14 in total). The Great South Run 10 miler was my target for the year but out of stupidity I entered the Bristol Half Marathon which was a massive success for me personally and very rewarding.

I raised £360 plus tax relief last year which has really pleased me and I have some great support of local friends also tirelessly competing and raising money

I have entered Bath half with a silver place raising money for the Forever Friends appeal at Bath Royal united Hospital.

I also plan to as a minimum raise awareness for Its in the Bag. A south west based Testicular Cancer charity which I supported at Bristol Mo Run.”


Competitor Stories – Phil Collard


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Phil Collard who took part in the Titan Weston with us last year.

“I was diagnosed with cancer at 18 months old and given only a 50/50 chance of survival. Thankfully, clearly, I did survive and made a full recovery to all intents and purpose.

Aside from regular hospital check-ups (I was breaking new ground a bit since the operation that saved me had only been in existence for a few months prior to my having benefited from it), my childhood was pretty much normal.

In my early teens, however, it was discovered that the radiotherapy I’d had as a baby had weakened my right hip such that it effectively broke itself and, for a moment, it looked as if I’d never walk again.

They pinned my broken hip back together and I recovered again – returning to cycling (which I’d enjoyed throughout my teens to that point) and, ultimately, to Motorsport where I competed for a few years and even became a national champion.

Having had the hip operation in my teens, however, it was hugely open to becoming arthritic – which it did – and by the time I was 33 (by which time I was married to Lisa and had a son, Angus), it was so bad that I could hardly walk and, again, a horrible conversation with a specialist resulted in me preparing to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

A genius surgeon had other ideas and said that we may as well try a hip replacement – the result couldn’t be any worse than life in a wheelchair, after all… and thankfully, the result was so much better and he really gave me my life back.

I remember him telling me that my new hip would last between 15 and 20 years and I remember replying that I’d rather live life to the full with it and have it last 15 years as opposed to protecting it by doing nothing and having it last 20 years.

And so I did – I returned to cycling and then (against medical advice, to be honest, since running is a strict no-no) Triathlon and dragged Lisa, Angus and my second son, Evert (named after my hip surgeon) all over the place as my loyal support crew.

In August 2014 I completed Ironman Sweden which, I guess, is the pinnacle of my sporting achievements but, in addition, I have since:

– cycled John O’Groats to Land’s End in 7 days – unsupported

– completed the Thames Marathon 14km swim

– completed a 265 mile one day bike ride from Cardiff to Buckingham and back

And I’m always on the lookout for what challenge to do next which is why Titan Weston caught my eye… especially since it’s so local to where I live.

As a post script, Lisa and I set up a charity (Honeybones) to educate, support and inspire people (of all ages) who have conditions affecting their bones and joints – notably, we were extremely proud to be able to assist a young lad with Perthes Disease to buy a sports wheelchair.

Lastly, I published a book about my Ironman journey (On Days Like These which has been sold around the world”.

Competitor Stories – Michael Tighe


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Michael Tighe who took part in the Westonbirt 10K with us last year.

“I had a brain tumour which was removed successfully but since that operation, 14hrs worth, I have suffered from chronic headaches. A lot of the time all I can do is stay in bed in the dark until the headache reduces in severity. I have had my current headache since November 2002.

One day in 2012 I was out walking and it chucked it down with rain so I ran home. I realised that with this lower level of headache running did not increase the pain and that perhaps running was a possibility.

I took up running with the aid of a personal trainer who was also a good friend. Slowly but steadily I was able to run further and faster. I got stronger physically, fitter and with this new positive element in my life better able to cope with dreadful levels of pain.

The feeling of freedom I get when I’m out running is fantastic. I feel more alive and know I am achieving something that day whether it be a 4km or a 10km the achievement stands. I relish the time when my headache is low enough to let me run and make the most of it.

Negative thoughts are destructive. In my situation focusing on the positives, however small, spurs me on and gets me through. The medals I have gained from runs like the beautiful Westonbirt Christmas 10k signify achievements. Challenges met and overcome and days spent mixing with great people of like mind. I have 18 medals to date and when I have to spend three or four days in bed with a high intensity headache they are on the wall and knowing that helps me bear what I must.

Running set me free, allowed me to run in our amazing countryside, breath in the fresh air and get fit. It gave me a new lease of life. Whatever level you run at you are running against yourself to attain your goals and achieve that next PB.”