I started working at Tŷ Hafan just over a year ago and my first big event to work on was the Cardiff Half Marathon. My job was to support any runner who signed up to raise money for the hospice. I soon found that as quickly as I was registering one runner and sending out a fundraising pack, another one was signing up. In the lead up to the half marathon my days were as varied as discussing training plans, to deciding what colour dress a male participant should run in...I was hooked.
On the morning of the half marathon it was a very early start for myself and my team of volunteers. We set up our stand in the Runners Village where we welcomed many nervous and excited runners.
As the race began we headed over to our ‘Cheer Station’ at the Tŷ Hafan shop on Albany Road to cheer on all the runners along the 9th mile. It was at this stage people said they were really starting to struggle so were uplifted seeing our smiley faces and hearing our cheers.
As I stood watching the 1000s of people running past, achieving personal bests, raising money for different charities or just taking on a personal challenge of their own, I was inspired. I headed back into the office the following week still buzzing from the whole experience and started discussing the day with my colleague, Helen. She said in passing that she had always wanted to run the Cardiff Half Marathon but I don’t think she expected me to announce that next year we would be running it.
As soon as the entry opened I signed up. I knew committing so early on would give me the motivation I needed to get my trainers on and get out running!! Helen signed up not soon after, our Just Giving pages were set up and now here we are.
With just over five weeks to go, the hard work has really kicked in with several runs a week, as well as a fitness class. I can see myself beginning to improve, running a little bit further each time and not feeling like I am going to collapse at the end of each run. During my first year at Tŷ Hafan I am inspired everyday by the strength and courage of the children and families who come to the hospice – this is my main motivation to get out each day and train.
I have been lucky enough to be involved in several activities with the families from a trip to a farm at lambing-time to a night out with ‘The Squad’ to Glee Comedy Club.
Seeing the smiles that Tŷ Hafan brings to the faces of children is what gets me through the runs in the rain, blisters and stitches!!
I have no target for my finish time. I just want to know that when I cross that finish line after 13.1 miles I will have completed my own personal challenge, whilst raising as much money as possible for the Tŷ Hafan families.
Next week we hear from Helen, who talks about her personal story behind running the half.