Ultra Marathon Runner: Trish Gale


On Sunday the 5th of May 2024 Trish Gale will be running the Ultra X 50 Marathon, held on the second day of the two-stage Ultra X 110 Scotland event from Fort Augustus, to Dores in the Scottish Highlands with her daughter Rachel. A massive undertaking for anyone however Trish is registered with Nutricia Homeward and receives all her nutrition and hydration through her enteral feeding tube.

Sophie Stenson portrait

During 2015 – Trish developed a sore in her mouth which just would not heal, it was at this point she was diagnosed with oral cancer. At first this was thought to be very treatable and following an initial operation she was given the ‘all clear’. Unfortunately, later in 2015 the pain returned, after several appointments and scans, Trish was eventually referred to Newcastle in early 2016 to receive further cancer care. Trish needed a huge operation removing a part of her jaw which had been broken in two places by the tumour. Using some bone from her leg and a specially made cage, part of her jaw was replaced. Rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed which impacted on Trish’s saliva production. Trish can no longer swallow as she had to have a large section of her tongue removed.

It was at this point Trish had her Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) tube fitted and its through her PEG that she now receives all her nutrition and hydration.

Trish found it very hard when she discovered she could no longer eat, or drink and it took a lot of getting used to. As Trish says, “It’s a huge part of our lives and there's no escaping it, shops, cafes, TV - food is everywhere”.  She now has Oral Nutritional Supplements as her ‘meals’ although she still enjoys cooking for her husband, Rich and they sit down and enjoy their ‘meals’ together. 

 Trish says, “It can be a faff remembering to take tubes and equipment when leaving the house but I did get used to it fairly quickly.” One particular day taught Trish about how important it was to be prepared. It was a really hot summer day a few years ago and Trish and her husband were out and about and unfortunately the car broke down. They had to wait 5 hours for support and she had no tubes or syringes with her so couldn’t hydrate or enterally feed. Rich was able to nip to the shops for food and drink and it really demonstrated how prepared you need to be when you enterally tube feed.  

Trish who is in her early 60’s started running nearly 10 years ago. Whilst she enjoys other hobbies such as pottery, crafting and salsa dancing she decided that she wanted to get fit through running. Along with her younger daughter Lotte, they started out with a few park runs and they then managed to convince her older daughter Rachel to join them for the Race for Life in Carlisle.

Since then, Trish and Rachel have run 6 organised marathons and many more half - marathons. Rachel actually entered a competition and won a free place for the Ultra on the 5th of May so Trish decided to join her so they could make a weekend of it! During her runs Trish says, “I’d love to be able to drink water to hydrate like others but I’m very accepting of my situation, I’m grateful to my surgeon in Newcastle and his team, as well as the support I get from my family. It’s a great feeling and feels like a huge achievement when we've completed an event. I'm starting my running a little late in life, but I don't believe you're ever too old”.

During this event Trish and Rachel will be raising funds for the Stroke Association as sadly Trish lost one of her brothers to a stroke last December. In the past they have raised funds for Head & Neck cancer and Motor Neurone Disease.

If you would like to support and follow Trish in her quest, please follow the links below.

You can follow Trish here: https://strava.app.link/F4XCxtPJHIb

Donate via Fundrasing in memory of Pete for the Stroke Association


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