A FORMER Newcastle Emlyn footballer is hoping his successful battle with a rare form of cancer will inspire others.

Adrian Owens, 36, discovered he had sarcoma after first thinking he had ‘popped’ a hamstring.

When he noticed a lump on his right hamstring in December 2020 he put it down as a cyst.

"But a month or so later it had grown bigger and my fiancée, who is a personal trainer, said she thought it wasn't normal and urged me to get it seen to,” he recalled.

"I went to the doctor and was sent for a biopsy and I then I got a call telling me to come and see him.

"When I was told it was sarcoma I didn't know what to think.

"When you hear the c-word you don't want to speak about it."

Swansea-based Adrian, who took up triathlons once his football career ended, had to undergo five weeks of radiotherapy, and after his third week completed a half Iron Man event in Fishguard.

"I asked a nurse for advice and whether it would be damaging for me, and she said it wouldn't, but I might struggle. But I did it and completed in in five hours and 40 minutes,” he said.

He then underwent an 11-hour operation which involved the removal of around 80 per cent of his hamstring, and the grafting of some skin from his back.

Adrian is now training for another half Ironman in Fishguard in June, prior to a full Iron Man in Tenby in September.

His girlfriend, Shan, who he is due to marry next month, is undertaking 11 challenges over the coming months, including triathlons to raise money for charities South Wales Sarcoma Service and Sarcoma UK "It is not about me anymore,” said Adrian. “I have come through the other end.

"I have spoken to people going through cancer, and I tell them about my experience and the importance of a positive mindset and being fit and active.

"And that is what I want to do now - raise awareness and make people realise how important it is to remain positive.”