We’re proud to have Oliver as one of our London Marathon runners this year! As reported on Cornwall Live online, Oliver beat prostate cancer and fought back to fitness after a bike crash left him with a bleed on the brain. He has set himself the marathon challenge to try to encourage other men to take care of their health.

Before he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Oliver said he had let his health slip.

Speaking to Cornwall Live, Oliver said: “I was over 17 stone and I would eat anything, in particular meat. I was doing a huge number of miles all over the country for work and I fell victim to the supersize. It’s so easy to grab a bag of supersize crisps on the go or get fast food on the way.”

His youngest daughter Lydia added: “He was the unhealthiest person ever.

“He had a terrible diet and a really high cholesterol and he was not a fan of exercise.”

While Lydia was still at university her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and realised that he needed to make a drastic lifestyle change to protect his health.

 “I had a health scare and I knew that I had to change it, there’s no halfway house, if I was going to do it I was going to do it properly. I started with ‘Couch to 5K’ and it was so easy. Then I started ‘5K to 10K’. I changed everything, and became vegetarian and I’ve never looked back. It’s on health grounds, nothing else. I'm doing really well and actually I don't miss meat. I haven’t even been tempted by bacon which seems to be the downfall for most people.”

After a complete diet overhaul and starting to exercise, Oliver found that he really enjoyed running and started pushing himself more and more. He started to run competitively and took part in the Bath half-marathon, but there was one challenge that he set for himself that he really wanted to complete. “I just had this dream to run a marathon before I was 60,” he said.

But his hopes of achieving his 'dream' were dashed when he was involved in bicycle accident in 2015 in London and fractured his skull. It was Oliver's dramatic lifestyle change that helped to save his life. “The doctors said that if he wasn’t as healthy as he was then he might not have made it," Lydia added.

Oliver will now turn 60 one month before the London Marathon takes place on April 22, 2018.

Not to be outdone, instead of completing one marathon before his 60th birthday, he will now complete two marathons after it - the London Marathon in April and the Edinburgh Marathon in May. Having never completed a marathon before, he wasn’t daunted about taking on two 26-mile challenges in his sixth decade. He said: “It actually came about by accident.

“I didn’t get in to the London Marathon on the ballots so I decided to go for the Edinburgh Marathon instead. I also put my name down to run for Prostate Cancer Research Centre, but I didn’t think I’d get it. I ended up getting in to the Edinburgh Marathon and then I got a call from Prostate Cancer Research Centre to ask if I would still like to run for them, so I’m doing both!

“Fortunately they are five or six weeks apart. I've never run marathon distance, but I've done a half marathon before - what could possibly go wrong?”

 

He said that he wanted to use the marathons as an opportunity to raise awareness of prostate cancer and encourage men to look after their health. “Anything I can do to help raise awareness of the illness and encourage men to get checked out is a good thing. The thing is that I think men trying to be manly men don’t want to go to the doctor. I think a lot of men aren’t good at coming forwards about things like that, especially not early enough. A lot of men tend to not think too much about their health and I think it’s important to courage men to be healthier and look after themselves more.”

Running the London Marathon, Oliver is hoping to raise more than £3,000 for the Prostate Cancer Research Centre to help fund research into treatments for the disease.

“Being a prostate cancer survivor I have a genuine desire to give something back,” Oliver added. Lydia said that her dad was “inspirational” for taking on the challenges. She added: “He’s also literally the funniest person I know. Everyone loves him – people are always coming over to say hello. He’s my hero.”

To help support Oliver visit his Just Giving page for the London Marathon here.