3rd April 2024

Third time lucky 🤞 Kevin’s London Marathon story

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After two thwarted attempts, Kevin McSweeney, 63 from Brixton, is determined the 2024 London Marathon is going to be his third time lucky. It’s been a frustrating wait for the former paramedic but having survived lung cancer, these setbacks have only made him more determined to cross that finish line.

“I suppose some people would say I’ve been unlucky with the injuries I’ve had in the lead up to the 2022 and 2023 London Marathons. But the truth is, I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.

“I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016. I’d had a persistent cough for about 6-8 weeks. I kept ignoring it, but my wonderful wife encouraged me to see the doctor.

“The doctor thought it was a chest infection and gave me antibiotics and steroids, which cleared the cough up within 5 days. However, as a precaution, she also sent me for a chest x-ray to make sure there was nothing else going on.

“The x-ray showed something in the lower right lobe which needed further investigation. Subsequent CT and PET scans confirmed that whatever was in there was active and growing and needed removing. It was only after the surgeon removed it that I was told it was cancer.

The running bug

“After that, I had follow-up scans for five years, until 2021, which coincidently was the same year I started running.

I never set out with plans to run a marathon. Given I was missing the lower lobe of my right lung, I was just grateful I could do my local park run without struggling too much! But then, like so many people, I got the running bug.

“I did a 10k race, followed by the Royal Parks half marathon, which I really enjoyed. After that, I thought I’d push myself to the next level and so I applied for a charity place in the London Marathon. I wanted to make it personal so approached Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and was allocated a place.

“That was in 2022. Sadly, I had to defer my place not once, but twice.

Kevin McSweeney is running the London Marathon after being diagnosed with lung cancer

Pictures: Kevin with his wife, on holiday in Greece (left). (Right) Kevin’s quiz night fundraiser to help hit his target

“The first time I’d got up to 15 miles in my training and then developed plantar fasciitis which causes pain on the bottom of your foot, around your heel and arch. I could barely walk, never mind run!

“The second time I had a bout of recurrent chest infections which stopped my training altogether. That was a bit of a nervy time, and I was quite concerned given my history. It went on for weeks and wasn’t responding well to antibiotics.

“Luckily – there’s that word again – my GP surgery is very good, and I had another CT scan which confirmed there was no recurrence of the cancer.

“Which leads us to now, just a few weeks until race day and, touch wood, I’m good to go! I am very grateful to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation for saving my place. Finger crossed for third time lucky!”

You can donate to Kevin’s London Marathon fundraiser via his Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kevin-mcsweeney2