Septuagenarian sisters preparing for first Baker Hughes 10K in memory of family member

Apr 18, 2017

Two septuagenarian sisters will take on their first ever 10K this May when they take part in the Baker Hughes 10K running festival, now in its 30th year.

Wilma Rule (72) and Jeanette Fairley (70) are taking part in the North-east’s well established road race to raise money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support, in memory of Jeanette's daughter-in-law, who lost her life to cancer in 2016.

The long-standing event is officially affiliated with ten charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support.

The race will see runners raising money and awareness in support of their favourite charities on Sunday 14th May. 

Wilma Rule, who will travel from Hawick for the Baker Hughes 10k Running Festival, said:

“To be taking part in a 10K is a real challenge for us, especially at 70 and 72 years old respectively, but we are most definitely up for it and for sure going to finish the course!

“The Macmillan nurses were so wonderful in caring for my nephew’s wife right until the end, as well as providing great support for the family. In October last year I went onto their website to see if they had any fundraising events taking place in Aberdeen.

“It is so important for people to take part in charitable events, a lot of charities depend entirely on donations.”

Commenting, Sport Aberdeen’s Director of Business Development Jill Franks said:

“It is so important and extremely touching to be able to put a face, and a story, to the participants who take part in the Baker Hughes 10K.

“As well as one of the North-East’s best loved road races, the Baker Hughes 10K also raises awareness and much needed fundraising for charities throughout Scotland.”

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"This was Jeanette's first ever trip to a gym and thanks to the generosity of the owners I have another 10 guest passes so she will be using it in preparation for the 10K." (From L to R Wilma Rule and Jeanette Fairley.)

Wilma, have you ever done anything like this before?

No, this is the first time either of us have ever taken part in anything like this. To be taking part in a 10K is a real challenge for us, especially at 70 and 72 years old respectively, but we are most definitely up for it and for sure going to finish the course!  I imagine the younger ones on our team will be running, but for Jeanette and I it will be brisk walking. We are hoping to do it in no more than 2 hours!

What kind of training plan are you following (if any)?

Jeanette and I aren't following any kind of training programme.  Neither of us owns a car, so we do walk everywhere, and Jeanette goes out for a walk on an almost daily basis, often for an hour at a time.  I've been a member of our local gym for 10 years, and although I don't go nearly as much now as when I first joined, since signing up for the Baker Hughes 10K I have focused on going at least once a week, sometimes twice. I do 30 minutes on the rowing machine and at least 30 minutes on the treadmill, I'm also going to get myself back out for brisk walks a couple of times a week.

Why are you taking part in the Baker Hughes 10K and who are you fundraising for?

We are taking part in the Baker Hughes 10K in memory of my nephew's wife, and to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. 

My nephew's wife, Zanna, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October 2014. The Macmillan nurses were so wonderful in caring for her right until the end, as well as providing great support for the family. In October last year I went onto their web site to see if they had any fundraising events taking place in Aberdeen, and that's when I learned of the Baker Hughes 10K. I told my sister that I was going to do it, and she immediately said that she'd do it as well.  We didn't have to say anything to each other, but we just knew that Zanna wouldn't be with us by the time of the event in May.

She had only been given a little over a year when she was initially diagnosed so by October 2016 we knew we would be doing this in her memory. Sadly Zanna passed away on 10th December, and within days we had registered for the 10k, then other family members and friends decided that they were going to join us. 

Our team consists of Zanna's 16-year-old daughter Amber and her friend Lucy, her sister Toni and niece Myla who are travelling up from Manchester, her sister-in-law Ann who is flying over from Ireland, her best friend from childhood Tracy who is travelling to Aberdeen from Gourock and of course her mother-in-law Jeanette (my sister) and myself who will be travelling up from Hawick in the Borders. 

What drew you to the Baker Hughes running festival?

Zanna, Stuart and Amber moved to Aberdeen a few years ago and this became their home. They loved it and made many good friends who have all rallied round and given Stuart and Amber the support they need to get through their loss. Knowing that her cancer was terminal, and that by October 2016 she had already lived a few months longer than she had been given, I was very aware that it was just a matter of time, so I wanted to do something to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, knowing that it would be in Zanna's memory. There was no thinking about it, I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to do and my sister was up for it too, and from there the team came about!

What would you say to anyone of any age who wants to take up fitness and complete a 10K?

Taking up fitness at any age is one of the most positive things anyone can do.  Whether it's joining a gym or a daily walk, the benefits are undeniable, and not just physically-  a walk, or just a half hour on a treadmill will leave you feeling a sense of mental and emotional well-being. 

Giving yourself a target, such as taking part in a 10K, will give you the focus that you need to get fit and you certainly don't have to be a trained marathon runner to take part! Taking part in a 10K is a worthwhile challenge for any age and we are so looking forward to taking part in this year's Baker Hughes road race.  We just cannot wait to experience it and raise money for a fantastic charity!

How important is it for people to take part in charitable events and raise money?

It is so important for people to take part in charitable events, a lot of charities depend entirely on donations. I imagine that most people who take part in these events do so because someone they know has been helped by one charity or another, but people who are not in this category should seriously consider getting involved so that as much money as possible can be raised to support the wonderful work that these charities do. 

Our gratitude is for Macmillan Cancer Support whose nurses provided Zanna and her family with such caring support during her battle with cancer, as they have done for thousands of other families. They depend on people taking part in events like this to raise the funds needed to carry on the brilliant work they do. This applies to all the other charities involved in this event too.

Missed out in a general entry for this years race?

All of our affiliated charities have spaces available for sign ups until April 28th 2017.

Contact them here for more information on how you can sign up, join us for the 30th year of the race and support a great cause at the same time!