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Southampton Clinical Trials UnitNews

SCTU staff running 1000km each to help fund life-saving research

Published: 1 February 2024
SCTU staff runners in CRUK T-shirts

They're used to running medical trials to find the best new ways to treat and detect cancer. But now 14 researchers at the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit are each running 1000km throughout 2024 to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Seeing first-hand how fundraising can help cancer patients live longer, better lives, the staff at the CRUK-funded unit will be clocking up the kilometres to fund further research and are sharing what motivates them, ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4th.

The idea came from data manager, Katie Bishop, 23, from Totton, who had already raised over £500 for the charity last year, running 700km after both her grandparents were diagnosed with the disease.

Katie said: “I looked at my statistics and decided to set myself another challenge with the round figure of 1,000km which I felt was achievable. I asked some of the other SCTU team members who like running if they’d like to do it with me so we could motivate each other, but never expected so many to sign up.

“We’re quite an active unit and like to get involved and a lot of us are funded by Cancer Research UK. Knowing that what we do makes a difference and can change people’s lives motivates us to do challenges like these, so that we can give back and do our jobs even better.”

Being a clinical trials unit that analyses vast amounts of data, this challenge wouldn’t be complete without spreadsheets, pie charts and monthly reports.

Senior medical statistician, Geoff Saunders said: “We love data and spreadsheets and we download the Strava running updates every week, then we do lots of graphs about how far we’ve run and elevation gains. We even have Powerpoint presentations of the key graphs to put around the office each month to keep people motivated.”

When it comes to distance, there’s one runner who’s likely to go off the scale. Data manager, Rob Waugh is aiming to smash his 1,000km target and run 2,500km by the end of the year.

Rob said: “I wanted to push myself because I ran more than 1,000km last year so I’ve set myself some different challenges. Next month I will try to run four miles, every four hours over 48 hours, then in March I hope to run 1km on March 1, 2km on March 2, 3km on March 3 and carry on throughout the month to run 496km.

“Everyone taking part in this challenge is doing what suits them and what they feel capable of, but it’s really sociable and nice to be able to do it for Cancer Research UK.”


SCTU runners with their arms raised in celebration

When they’re not analysing running data in their spare time, during the day, the team of data managers, data coordinators, statisticians, trial assistants, trial monitors and quality officers play a vital role in bringing new treatments to patients sooner whilst helping to detect cancer earlier.

The SCTU, which recently received a funding boost from Cancer Research UK of £5.5million over the next five years, oversees many trials, some of which have led to practice-changing results.

In 2021, the results of the CONFIRM trial showed that an immunotherapy drug was beneficial for patients with mesothelioma - an aggressive and incurable cancer often linked to breathing in asbestos. That treatment is now being offered on the NHS.

Meanwhile, the ProCAID trial showed that adding a targeted cancer drug to chemotherapy treatment can improve survival for patients with advanced prostate cancer.

They are also currently running trials to improve treatments for a type of bladder cancer (AURORA trial), cervical cancer (CRAIN) and a rare form of lymphoma (OptMATe) which have received a total of £2.5m in funding from Cancer Research UK. And the team are working on studies to improve the early diagnosis of cancer, like the Cancer Research UK supported iDx Lung study which is testing innovative new tools to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages when it is more treatable.

To donate to the team please follow this link - Southampton Clinical Trials Unit is fundraising for Cancer Research UK (

Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the South East, Elisa Mitchell, said: “Thanks to the efforts of the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit team both in and outside of work, together, we are beating cancer.

“Fundraising challenges like this one mean every day, people are being diagnosed earlier, have access to kinder and more effective treatments, and some cancers are prevented completely.

“But around 53,500 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the South East.* We’re working towards a world where everyone can live longer, better lives free from the fear of cancer and that’s why we’re calling on people across Hampshire to offer their support to help us go further and faster in the fight against the disease.”

Liz Allaway, Communications and Engagement Manager at the SCTU, said: “Working at the trials unit means we all know just how important fundraising is to ensure vital research can take place to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment. We see amazing people all over the UK who are doing incredible things to raise money for the charity, and we are really proud of our SCTU team for taking on their own challenge.”


The full list of SCTU staff taking part in the 1000km challenge are:

Aleksandra Kusinska

Anna Walsh

Armando Lobete-Ejeleri

Charlotte Stuart

Geoff Saunders

Josh Northey

Katie Bishop

Kathrin Eichhorst

Liam Clothier

Oli Seymour

Rob Waugh

Sam Wilding

Sean Ewings

Theodora Nearchou




Notes for editors

*Based on the average annual number of new cases of all cancers combined excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (ICD10 C00-C97 excluding C44) diagnosed in the South East Region of England between 2017 and 2019.    

About the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU): 

The SCTU is a Cancer Research UK core funded CTU with expertise in the design, conduct and analysis of multicentre, interventional clinical trials. The CTU is based within University of Southampton with offices within the Centre for Cancer Immunology on the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust Southampton General Hospital site. 

SCTU works closely with doctors, scientists and patient representatives to develop and conduct clinical trials and other well designed studies that will be run across the NHS in the UK. Creating evidence for better treatments for our future NHS patients.  


About Cancer Research UK:

·         Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research, influence and information.   

·         Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.    

·         Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last 50 years.    

·         Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK wants to accelerate progress and see 3 in 4 people surviving their cancer by 2034.   

·         Cancer Research UK supports research into the prevention and treatment of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.   

·         Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK is working towards a world where people can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.  

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


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