Community / Cancer survivor completes three-event London sporting challenge

Ramona Barton with her London Classics medal.

A WOMAN from South Nesting has completed the gruelling ‘London Classics’ sporting challenge – all while on maintenance treatment for breast cancer.

Ramona Barton completed the three-event challenge, which involves the London Marathon, cycling and swimming, on 16 September – the day before her 47th birthday.

She said she wanted to share her story to highlight the good exercise can do – especially after something like a cancer diagnosis.

“Exercising is the tool I use to pull myself out of the dark hole I found myself in when I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Barton said.

“I also share my story to try and help others who, like me, find themselves in a dark hole on diagnosis or at any stage afterwards, because the dark holes do keep coming.”

The London Classics is a unique challenge which involves the London Marathon, a 100 mile cycle around the city and Essex, and a two-mile swim in the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park.


Barton ran the London Marathon in October last year, six months after she finished the active treatment for breast cancer.

She then completed RideLondon-Essex 100 in May, three months after undergoing “life-changing surgery”.

With the swim taking place earlier this month, Barton said all three events were completed in 12 months while she was on maintenance treatment for breast cancer, which involves regular hospital appointments, and taking chemotherapy tablets twice a day along with other medication.

She is now in the London Classics’ exclusive ‘hall of fame’. Barton said before the swim only 5,000 people in the world had finished the challenge.

She noted that exercise is not a cure for cancer, “but it’s a handy medicine”.

“There is strong evidence that movement reduces anxiety, depression and cancer related fatigue, improves physical function and health related quality of life, can reduce recurrence risk in some cancers,” Barton said.

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“The latest research shows that those who exercise during their active treatment with curative intent are able to tolerate it better, for longer, and recover faster.

“Sadly, at no point in my care were these benefits mentioned to me. Obviously, there are situations in which exercise is contraindicated, however research shows exercise is generally safe for cancer survivors.”

Barton also also raised nearly £700 in a few weeks for Samuel’s Charity, which supports seriously and terminally ill children, with her online donations page still open.

The fundraiser, who has a six-year-old daughter, added that she was asked by someone recently why she took on the challenge.

“I explained that I want my little girl to know when she grows up that her mummy was strong, brave, and completed events in three different sports, raising money for seriously and terminally ill children,” she said.

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