Adele Roberts on the disastrous start to her London Marathon day - ‘If you use humour to get through it, it's always okay’

Virgin Radio

3 Jul 2024, 08:23

Adele Roberts at Virgin Radio, and at the London Marathon

Credit: Virgin Radio / Rex

In 2023, Adele Roberts set a Guinness World Record as the fastest female with an ileostomy to finish the London Marathon, but it's safe to say her day didn’t get off to the ideal start. 

The broadcaster, TV personality and DJ was diagnosed with bowel cancer in October 2021 and, just 18 months after her diagnosis, she ran across the London Marathon finish line in a remarkable time of 3:30:22.

However, at 3.30am that morning, she was dealing with a very different challenge, as she explained when she joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar.



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Note for the squeamish: Adele’s explanation of her marathon morning involves a description of bodily functions.

The former Big Brother contestant - who has named her stoma "Audrey" - told Chris: “Anybody who has a stoma will know that gut reaction is real. Everyone who has a stoma has a piece of their gut on the outside of the body, and you can see how you're actually feeling. I truly believe this. And so whenever I get very nervous or very excited, my stoma plays up. And on marathon morning, I got woken up at three o'clock in the morning with Audrey going ballistic, chucking out last night's tea. So, basically spraying porridge and mashed potato all over me.”

Saying that “all my marathon fuel that I needed to run the marathon later on that day” is “getting thrown around this posh hotel that I've been put in,” Adele explained that she had to quickly run to the shower. 

“So I'm stood there totally naked, spewing porridge out my front, trying to clean this amazing bathroom at 3am in the morning, and that was the start of my day, my marathon day.”

However, despite this somewhat traumatic experience, Adele remarkably said: “I think that was like the perfect start, in a way. And I've learned that through life now, the worst can happen, but it's okay. You feel like it's the worst thing in the moment, but if you use humour to get through it, it's always okay.”

She added: “It’s that Nietzsche thing, or maybe Kelly Clarkson. I don't know who said it first. Maybe Nietzsche, but, ‘what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.’ 

"We say in the book, ‘I don't believe in losses. You only win or you learn a lesson.’"

Virgin Radio Pride presenter Adele also took the opportunity to announce a HUGE new running challenge. She told Chris: “I'm going to try and set another Guinness World Record as an ostomate.” (Note: An ostomate refers to somebody who has had stoma surgery).

She explained: “My next challenge is completing the Abbott's Six Marathon Challenge, world majors, which I'm going to start in Berlin in September, and I'm going to hopefully raise lots of money for charity and give back to those cancer charities that help me.”

Speaking about her training, she told Chris: “Steady wins the race. Starting small again, dreaming big. Because it's hot at the moment as well, and I can't really run in the heat. I'm just getting my way through each training session. I just do what the training session says, and that's enough. 

On life after cancer, she said: “I'm still processing what's happened to me. I think I'm still a little bit in shock. I still can't believe I've had cancer.

“I still can't believe some of the things that I've done.”

Adele added: “I try and live every day as a mini lifetime.” 

Personal Best is out now.

Adele will be at this year's Carfest as part of The Nissan Possibilities Project, as well as appearing on The Authors Stage on Saturday 24th August.

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.