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Meet Bryn.

Boxing gave Bryn Griffiths, a special needs nurse from Tonypandy the discipline he needed to complete 19 London marathons - 16 of which he ran for Tenovus Cancer Care and raising a staggering £35,000. Now, in his 70s, Bryn is going for his 20th and final marathon in April next year for us and hoping to raise £2,000.

Bryn Griffiths is no stranger to physical training. As a teenager and young man, he was a boxer and competed in the 1974 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand.

Whilst he didn’t win a medal that year, the following year he beat the gold medallist, David Lamour, in a re-match at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens.

“Boxing taught me about not giving in,” he said. “When you’re tired on the pads with the trainer, they push you even more because in the last round, you need that extra bit of energy to sway the fight. Running a marathon is like that.”

Bryn went on to become a professional boxer, which took him all over the UK, including a fight in 1977 against the future World Flyweight champion Charlie Magri.

All the while, alongside his boxing career, Bryn was training to be a nurse. 

“I used to ask to take weekends off to go and fight, but they thought I was telling fibs. That fight with Charlie in Bethnal Green in London was televised. When they saw it, they finally believed me.”

When Bryn’s boxing career came to an end, he was looking for another physical challenge. He said marathon running was an obvious choice. 

“Whilst training for boxing, I always used to run.

I’d go running every night on the roads around here in Penygraig in the Rhondda Valley where I live. I used to go off road and up the mountain near me. I liked the fresh air, and going uphill gave me stamina.”

Bryn started out running the Cardiff marathon, but he soon had his sights set on the London. 

His first London marathon was with his local athletic club back in 1990, but he knew that running for a charity would help him enter the competition in subsequent years.

He said running for Tenovus Cancer Care seemed the right choice.

“There was a local connection. There was, and still is, a Tenovus Cancer Care charity shop in Tonypandy near where I live, and I knew the people who worked there. Also, a close relative of my wife Nesta had died from cancer. It was a cause we both wanted to support.”

Bryn calls Nesta his ‘corner man’. She makes food for him, has all his kit ready, and every time he runs, she’s there cheering him past the finish line.

Alongside Nesta, Bryn has been cheered over the line by Irish boyband singer Ronan Keating one year, and Richard Branson another. 

The last time Nesta saw him pass the finish line in London was in 2019. A month later Bryn was to face a health challenge of his own. In the May, Bryn started to experience a pain in his back, quite near where his kidneys are. His mother had suffered from kidney problems, and he thought he might have inherited the same problem. He promptly got it checked out. Whilst his kidneys were fine, an enlarged prostate was spotted.

Over the following months Bryn was monitored. In the spring of 2022, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He started a course of radiotherapy treatment, which ended last November.

“It’s under control now. They can’t guarantee that it won’t come back, but right now, it’s not getting worse. That’s the best I can hope for. I’m feeling good. I’m ready to train.”

Bryn is planning to start his training in earnest later this year. 

“I’m always running. I’m always fit. But in September, I’ll ramp up my training regime, and start training twice a day - running and going to the gym. I’ll build up the mileage over time. I know what to do and I know how to listen to my body. That’s what boxing gave me.”

Bryn plans to collect money the way he always has done over the years - with a pen and paper. He has several loyal supporters in his community who collect on his behalf and he’s no stranger to going around the streets and knocking on doors. 

“It’s the way I’ve always done it. People used to recognise me and peep at me from their cars as I was training. Nowadays, I’m less recognisable and some of the folk who used to support me are no longer here. But I can do it.

I was so relieved when Tenovus named me as one of their London Marathon runners for 2024. This will be my final time. I want to bow out on my 20th time for the charity.”

Support Bryn to reach his fundraising target here. 

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010