Rodney Biggs: Beating Cancer and COVID to Run City-Bay

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CANCER, COVID-19, CARING – are there anymore C’s you can add to the list to challenge Rodney Biggs’ can-do attitude?

CANCER, COVID-19, CARING – are there anymore C’s you can add to the list to challenge Rodney Biggs’ can-do attitude?

The 76-year-old has bladder cancer, got COVID for the first time in August, and is part-time carer for his wife Mary Ann. Yet, he is determined to line up for the Lumary City-Bay Fun Run on Sunday, September 17 2023 for about the 20th time, and he’s taking two of his grand-children along as well.

This year, the grandfather of seven will participate in the three kilometre community run with his grandson Tom, aged nine. Last year, he did the six kilometre run with granddaughter Ava, aged 11.

“Ava ran like the wind – 32 minutes in six kilometres, leaving Papa to run jog the distance at a modest pace,” he said.

To prepare, Rodney and the grandchildren participate in City- Bay- sponsored training programs, and they do their own work on the beach at Henley, plus some oval runs to prepare for the event.

Involving the grandchildren is something the grandparents have done for years: in 2003, Mary Ann walked while Rodney ran, each with prams carrying their eldest grandchildren Asha and Indigo.,

“To run and train with grandchildren is uplifting mentally stimulating, growing our relationship and helping me to reach towards my potential as a person physically and emotionally, plus as a doting grandfather,” Rodney said,

“However, I believe that Mary Ann and my interaction with our seven grandchildren has conditioned my mind towards longevity, health and faith in the future.”

City-Bay is typically held in Mid- September – the same time as Mary Ann and Rodney’s wedding anniversary.

“Priorities suggest milestone anniversaries and various take precedent,” he said.

Rodney first ran the City-Bay in 1973 – when it started – and has a certificate of his fastest run of 48 minutes 33 Seconds in the 1974 event, which he ran with friend Damian Pilkington – an excellent runner who pushed Rodney to the under 50 minute mark,

He remembers that event starting at the Adelaide Town Hall with Cool and calm weather, Anzac Highway being in good condition, and only 2000 runners.

“There was an atmosphere of anticipation awaiting the firing pistol. And plenty of movement to keep warm,” he said.

“Mary Ann who drove me in with our two babies, Amanda and Luke, at that time, was able to watch the start from the Town Hall Entrance.”

Their third child, Rebecca, was born the day after the 1975 event.

“Accordingly I used discretion to miss that run,” Rodney said.

His goal in years following was to break the hour mark, and since 1994, make the distance without the pressure of a sub-60 minute time.

What are you waiting for?

Enter a race, before it’s too late!

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