Ty Hafan

#family friday

taking on the london marathon for Tŷ Hafan

Let’s rewind to October 2016. I was in Cardiff, taking part in the Cardiff Half Marathon. I had only ever run one other event before, the Swansea 10k a few weeks earlier, having started running six months earlier.
I was approaching the 12-mile marker. I was exhausted. I remember thinking: “Ohhhh if I was doing a marathon, I would have to do all of that again and more!” No no no. I was never running a Marathon!

But here I am, five years later, about to do just that. Not just any old marathon. THE LONDON MARATHON.

#family fridayI am a 53-year-old married mum of two now grown-up children. I live in Scurlage, Gower. Running does not come naturally to me. I was never the sporty one at school. I don’t particularly enjoy exercise. I do it because it helps my mental health. I have struggled with anxiety since I was a teenager. Running really helps. I need a target though, something to aim for and if I can raise money to help others while I am doing it, even better.

I wanted to raise money for Tŷ Hafan because I know how invaluable a children’s hospice is. I have two close friends whose families have been and are still supported by their local children’s hospice. They truly are remarkable places.

So here I am. It’s late summer of 2021… All through the pandemic I have been training and fundraising for my first ever (and last!) marathon.

I had pledged to raise a minimum of £2,000. I know a lot of people find the fundraising daunting, but I have really enjoyed it. I have grown and sold plants, along with a team of helpers, I knitted chicks and bunnies that I popped a chocolate egg in and sold at Easter. I have needle-felted Christmas decorations. A garden party and a prize draw have also boosted the fundraising totals. It’s been hard work, but great fun.

Then there’s the small issue of training. It was going really well until the beginning of July. After a long run, my foot was very painful. Noooo, I don’t need an injury thank you very much. However, everything ground to a halt. I could barely walk. Several weeks passed. Lots of rest. Lots of tears and tantrums. Visits to the podiatrist, acupuncture sessions. I didn’t realise just how much this meant to me. I had to get to London. I can’t let my supporters or the families at Tŷ Hafan down. I can’t let myself down.

I now have orthotics in my running shoes. My husband has been shown how to strap my foot. I have been given the green light to continue training. So long as my foot is still attached to the end of my leg and, knowing me, even if it isn’t, on Sunday 3 October, I will be in London running/walking/hobbling my way around 26.2 miles. If you say it quick it doesn’t sound too bad!

#family friday

I am really excited but very nervous. Can I do it? What if I can’t? It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to hurt but I will give it my best shot and try to enjoy it and soak up the atmosphere.

Thank you to Tŷ Hafan for the opportunity. I am honoured to be representing you. I won’t forget it - ever.

You can follow my journey on my Instagram account @mylifeongower and if you are able to and you want to show your support by making a donation, you can find the link to my fundraising page here.

Let’s raise lots of money to enable the hospice to continue its wonderful work.