5K Your Way parkrun at Trelai Park.
Trelai Park 5K Your Way started in January 2023.

People affected by cancer can now take part in their own park run in Trelai

Participants can walk, run or cheer their way around the route – or just volunteer to help

A TEAM of Cardiff healthcare workers have launched a monthly park run for people affected by cancer.

General practitioner Dr Rachel Lee, nurses Lucy Gordon and Sarah Grady and volunteer Jennie Webb hosted the first 5K Your Way (5KYW) at Trelai Park on January 28 and will continue to hold the runs on the last Saturday of every month.

The run consists of three laps around the park but the 5KYW ambassadors are keen to emphasise that people can walk, run, cheer or volunteer as much or as little as they feel comfortable with.

They want to help people who are living with cancer, living beyond cancer, family, friends and people working in cancer settings.

Trelai Park.

Lucy Gordon, who works as a practice nurse at a Canton surgery, was a founding member of the general Trelai park run in March 2020. After a long time setting up the event, they only managed two runs before lockdown got in the way.

The mother-of-two started running because it was the “easiest way to exercise” when her children were young.

Starting with half an hour runs from her front door, she became able to complete five kilometres, then half marathons, and has completed three full marathons with her husband, Jack.

“A marathon was always my ambition and I never thought I would be capable of it,” Mrs Gordon admitted. “It was a few years ago when my dad died. He was a marathon runner, and so when he died, I decided I needed to run a marathon in memory of him.”

Running was a “wonderful way of dealing with grief”, she said.

“It gave me something to train for, keeping my dad’s memory alive.”

Lucy and Jack learned about 5K Your Way at a park run in Bristol last year and decided to swap their competitive running shoes for volunteering – although they still run at the back of the group.

“There’s no pressure to run. It’s about being there, having fun, exercising,” Mrs Gordon said.

After the run, they like to convene at a local coffee shop.


There are now seven 5K Your Way park runs in Wales after the launch of groups in Trelai, Cwmbran and Tredegar Park this year.

There used to be a group in Tremorfa but the organisers have split to help the teams in Trelai and Cwmbran.

  • You can find your nearest 5K Your Way park run here.

Mrs Gordon feels that social activities such as park runs “can be life-changing for people in lots of ways”.

“Exercise really helps with mental wellbeing,” she said.

‘Accidental triathlete champion’

Lucy Gossage, the 12-time Ironman champion who co-founded 5K Your Way, has encouraged everybody in Cardiff to give the new run a go.

Retiring as a pro athlete before lockdown, Ms Gossage continues to work as an oncologist, treating sarcomas and testicular tumours for patients in Nottingham.

“I entered my first Ironman as a drunken dare as a one-off challenge after a long-term relationship ended,” Ms Gossage said.

“Life has a habit of throwing surprises and I’m a firm believer that if you find yourself on a nice path, even if it’s different from the one you planned, it’s often worth seeing where it takes you!

“I call myself an accidental pro triathlete as it certainly wasn’t a life path I planned.”

12-time Ironman triathlon winner. Image: lucygossage.com.

Ms Gossage says it was the sense of pushing her limits and meeting challenges that drove her more than beating other runners.

“Though I’m not going to pretend I didn’t love winning!”

‘Something special’

But it was not until lockdown – after her career in athletics – that she fully realised the importance of exercise for her mental health.

“My commute, running and biking is my time for me to process anything that has happened at work, clear my head and regenerate psychologically.”

As well as the physical and psychological benefits of exercise – improving anxiety, fatigue and mood – she says there is “accumulating evidence” that it may improve tolerance to treatment and reduce risk.

“More than that, people tell me that being active, and setting a goal like walking or jogging a 5km, gives them back a sense of control, something that cancer so often takes away,” she added.

“So often, when I see people finish their 5k, I watch the joy on their faces and it takes me back to how I felt when I finished my first Ironman. There is something special about achieving something that once felt impossible.”

The Cardiffian asked Ms Gossage what she would say to people in Cardiff who were thinking about getting involved.

“Don’t be scared to give it a go and bring a friend or family member along with you for support,” she said. “You can walk, jog or run as much or as little of the 5K as you want to or even just join for a coffee and a chat. The hardest bit is setting your alarm and picking up the courage to turn up that first time. Everything after that will be easy!”