Belinda Jago and 'Bec's Troops' limber up for the run from the CBD to St Kilda. Photo: Wayne Taylor
For Belinda Jago, running with the other 100 people who make up Bec's Troops is more than just for fitness. Mrs Jago lost her 19-year-old daughter Rebecca to cancer two years ago after a six-year battle.
On November 17, when the human resources director laces up her runners for The Sunday Age City2Sea, presented by Westpac, it will be to honour the memory of her daughter. ''I did the City2Sea last year with a girlfriend and we did the City2Surf in Sydney this year for Bec's 21st with just a handful of people,'' Mrs Jago said.
''But this is our first proper Bec's Troops run - we've got 91 people registered to run with us already and we hope that number will be about 105 on the day.''
Mrs Jago said the Bec's Troops group started while her daughter was battling her fatal illness. ''Bec was just an amazing person, she never complained about being sick, she was always happy and I don't think people realised how sick she was; she battled with the disease for most of her teenage years,'' Mrs Jago said.
''A group of Bec's close friends wanted to do something to help with cancer research and they created the troop while Bec was still alive and we have continued it on in her memory.''
The troop is raising money for the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate (ANZUP) Cancer Trials Group, a volunteer organisation that conducts clinical trials for kidney, bladder, testicular and prostate cancers.
Mrs Jago is chairwoman of the consumer advisory committee at ANZUP, a panel made up of cancer patients and carers to provide feedback from a community perspective.
Bec's Troops are aiming to raise $10,000 for their City2Sea efforts, with Rebecca's father Tony and brothers Matt and Tom leading the charge alongside Mrs Jago. ''I'm pretty passionate about raising funds for cancer research and I'll do almost anything to do it,'' she laughed.
Mrs Jago said she wasn't daunted by the event's 14-kilometre distance as she walked 15 to 20 kilometres five or six times a week.
''Fun runs and walks are all about getting a group of friends together and enjoying yourselves while supporting something you believe in or are passionate about,'' she said. ''I encourage everyone to give it a go.''
The City2Sea event starts in Melbourne's CBD and makes it way to Albert Park before finishing in St Kilda. Participants can also choose a shorter, five-kilometre option.
■For more information, visit thecity2sea.com.au