Rob Flett, 51, is a journalist and lives in Orkney
My wife Moira has always been brilliant about getting us out and doing stuff. We went hiking in Morocco, camping, cycling, kayaking – everything. She was incredibly active herself, too, regularly doing events like triathlons. But physical fitness doesn’t give you immunity to bad things happening to you. In autumn 2019 she took part in the Loch Tay triathlon with our eldest son but was left completely exhausted. It was so unusual that she went to our GP, and after tests, she was diagnosed with a rare and incurable Neuroendocrine cancer. We were told that it was terminal.
When you get news like that it totally rocks your world. Fortunately for us, we were referred to the charity Maggie’s; we went the day after the diagnosis, and they gave us a place to go and make sense of it all. It was so incredibly important.
As Moira was receiving her treatment, I decided with my teenage sons to run 288 miles between the different Maggie’s centres in Scotland in 5k trails. It was ostensibly to fundraise – and we did raise more than £16,000 – but it actually did so much more for us. As well as being a vehicle to tell friends and acquaintances what was happening to us, it was also a really great way to reassure Moira that we were out doing things, on our own. It was a way to lessen her worry that we wouldn’t be able to cope without her.
The physical act of running with the boys was so good for us, too. Running side by side means you can have such good conversations that you wouldn’t normally have while keeping fit.
Moira passed away in July 2020. Throughout her treatment, and since, I’ve been out running as much as I can, with friends or on my own. When I look out over the stunning landscape that Moira had loved so much, it’s a reminder that life does go on.
My workout week
I go out running as often as I can, whatever the weather. Sometimes bad weather can be more exhilarating: you strap on a head torch and hit the trails. I like running alone, but at the weekends it’s often with friends. I like doing events; my next one is Scotland’s first Backyard Ultra being held in Orkney; the aim is to run the 4.2mile loop every hour for as long as possible. I hope to go past 12 hours. Now I’m older, I need to do yoga too, so I don’t seize up.
What I eat in a day
Breakfast: Coffee and muesli or jam on toast
Lunch: Soup and a sandwich
Dinner: As much as possible! My sons are vegetarian so I don’t eat meat at home as it’s a hassle, but If I’m out, I’d have a steak or fish and chips.
Guilty pleasures: Nothing feels guilty – the great thing about exercise is that you can eat as much as you like.
Diet: Moira was vegetarian, and so that’s what we eat at home. She was very into a healthy diet to go along with her active lifestyle.
Alcohol: I have the odd drink – but nothing to excess.
To donate to Maggies, which supported the Flett family, or find out more about the help it provides, visit maggies.org