A DARLINGTON police officer is running for life this summer, inspired by his best friend with inoperable bowel cancer.
Tracy Kirk has set herself a series of demanding running challenges in honor of Viv Pow, who has stage 4 bowel cancer.
Tracy is aiming to raise £5,000 for Cancer Research UK, which she has dubbed Viv’s Positivity POW…ER.
She has completed the Brighton Marathon and plans to run the Swaledale Marathon, Tough Mudder, Great North Run, London Marathon. And they held their own Fun Positivity Run in Darlington on June 6.
On Sunday, June 19, Tracy and Viv will join hundreds of people for the popular Darlington Race for Life in South Park, which raises money to help beat over 200 types of cancer.
Tracy, 52, said: “I hope people look at me and say, she’s in her 50s, she’s running a marathon, maybe I could do a 5K or 10k. I will never be Mo Farah or Paula Radcliffe but I do for myself, Viv and my children. In the years to come, I’d like them to think mom was okay, mom did something.
Tracy, who is a longtime neighborhood constable, and Viv, a retired police officer, have been friends since they met at work over 20 years ago.
Tracy, who is married to Stephen and has sons Sam, 17, and Daniel, 14, said: “Everyone needs a Viv in their life. She changed my life for the better and for that I will be forever grateful to her.
“I cried and cried over his stage 4 prognosis, but realized that life is about making memories and trying to do good.”
She added, “Viv encouraged me to run my first marathon and ran it with me. I owe her so much and she’s just a wonderful, wonderful friend.
“She is an absolute inspiration. Whatever she has, I wish I could bottle it: it’s the elixir of being a beautiful friend.
Although she can no longer race, Viv will compete in the Darlington Race for Life.
Tracy added, “I miss Viv terribly when I do my long runs, but if she can sit down and do chemo for eight hours a day every fortnight, I can go out and run on my own.
“I know what it feels like when you cross the finish line. I do it for Viv because Viv can’t do it anymore.
Viv, 58, married to Jeff and living near Darlington, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and underwent surgery, followed by chemotherapy.
An avid runner, she ran a marathon just four months after the operation.
When the cancer was discovered to have returned two years later, Viv underwent surgery to remove her colon.
She is now receiving palliative chemotherapy after a diagnosis in June 2021 and is spending as much time as possible with her sons Sam and Matthew, stepdaughters Gayle and Mikela and grandchildren Rupert, who turns two in August, Camilla, two year. and Matilda, nine months.
She said: “Ten years ago if you heard ‘cancer’ it was like a death sentence. I wanted to go out and show that I didn’t and even though I had cancer I could still run a marathon.
She added: “It’s not always easy to be positive but I choose to be like that. You make your own happiness.
Viv has competed in Race for Life before and is looking forward to Darlington’s date.
She added: “The atmosphere is just amazing. People are all there for a reason, usually to remember someone or to support someone who is going through cancer. When you read the signs on the backs of people, you feel connected to so many people and part of a community.
“I hope more research can be done to prolong my life and give me more time with my grandchildren.
To enter, visit raceforlife.org.