The trainee detective is back on track with Burnley parkrun after battling bowel cancer and the threat of losing his leg

And he’s just happy to be here after two turbulent years where Chris, a detective in criminal training, had to battle bowel cancer and the threat of losing his leg.

Chris started running in 1996 and his personal parkrun best is 21 minutes and 10 seconds. He is one of 10,000 people who have completed Burnley’s parkrun, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

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Chris O’Brien is getting back on track with Burnley parkrun after facing bowel cancer and the threat of having his leg amputated

He was doing everything to beat that when he was suddenly diagnosed with bowel cancer in December 2020 and had to undergo major surgery.

The operation took a turn for the worst and Chris nearly had his left leg amputated.

“I had my bowel operation on December 17th and it was a success, but the day after it was discovered I had a rare condition, compartment syndrome, and had to have surgery on my stomach. ’emergency.

“Before I had surgery, I had to agree to have my leg amputated, which was extremely scary. It was like the end of the world, on top of my bowel cancer.

Chris O’Brien loves participating in Burnley parkrun despite two major health issues

“I was glad it was there when I woke up, but my physio told me I could never run again…”

However, Chris is, he says himself, “a stubborn old jerk” and he was going to prove the physio wrong!

He returned for a few parkruns after the operation, but admitted, “They didn’t go as well as they could.”

He returned as a volunteer as he underwent chemotherapy and had another operation earlier this year, but wasn’t going to let that stop his return to racing.

“I started running again and running and walking the course I was doing in 30 minutes. I’m now at 26 minutes – and looking to break that!”

There have been 440 Burnley parkruns which have taken place every Saturday at 9am, and they have never been canceled for extreme weather conditions or events in the park.

It’s open to everyone – from super-fast club runners to people who walk around the course. It’s about fun, friendship and keeping fit.

About Jerry Richter

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