Woohoo! Team Isabel completed the Bath Half Marathon!
I’ve been braving the cold, dark winter (avoiding the rain!) in preparation for this event since October 2016, but despite my efforts to get my fitness levels and distance running up, I still found it SO tough!
I joined a fantastic team of nine other runners in Team Isabel to help raise money for The SMA Trust. We met outside Bath Spa train station just before 9am, posed for a photo and got to know each other. Although we’ve had a Facebook group on the go since October I’d never actually met any of them in person until that point except for Karen.
Karen and her husband, Iain, are amazing and it’s their little girl, Issy, who the ten of us were running for. Issy is a funny, bright and playful three-year-old girl, but at 17 months of age she was diagnosed with a serious life-limiting condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). You can read more about their story here.
SMA is a genetic neuromuscular disease affecting nerves responsible for muscle function. Unlike Rosie who had weak muscles from birth, Issy faces the cruel prospect of losing all the physical abilities she has worked so hard to gain such as moving, eating, lifting her arms, even breathing.
The SMA Trust is dedicated to funding medical research into SMA and I was delighted to be able to help raise money for this fantastic charity, which I hope one day will find a cure for SMA and help Rosie’s beautiful friend Issy. I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who sponsored me to do this event, (I ask a lot, I know!), every bit really helps and I am personally incredibly grateful for your support as always.
As we arrived at the runners’ village, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people running to raise awareness and money for all sorts of different charities. It quickly dawned on me that I was running alongside thousands of other people who had either been affected or knew someone who’d been affected by illness, disease and/or disability. I felt proud – proud that I was doing my bit but also proud that I was in the company of 12,000 other people also doing their bit too. I don’t know why I’d not thought about it before – I must have been too focused on why our team of ten were doing it to think about why others might be doing it too!
You could feel the excitement and nerves in the air as we waited in our pen for the horn to sound. There were 12,000 runners at the event and by the time we actually crossed the start line to begin our race, 10 minutes had already passed! We got going and legged it!
I ran with three of the girls up to about mile 9, and then signed for them to carry on, as I needed to stop. At mile 10 I started running with a lovely lady called Emily from Devon who was raising money for Cystic Fibrosis – a condition her 33-year-old brother suffers with. We ran the last three miles together and spurred each other on. She was great at setting milestones for us, which really helped me get through those grueling last few miles. I am so incredibly grateful to have had her company and support when I needed it most.
Emily and I finished the race together at 2 hours and 30 minutes. We gave each other a massive hug and congratulated each other in the process. We both got a little emotional too. We got some water, chatted a little and then said our goodbyes. She was certainly my running angel that day and I want to thank her so much for being so kind and encouraging to a complete stranger! She is amazing.
There was a great crowd and I love how people always make the effort on race day – music blaring from people’s houses, locals handing out jelly babies in big tubs from the sidelines. I loved one kid who was sat on his amp outside his house – proud dad standing next to him – belting Status Quo out on his guitar. I loved it.
The photos aren’t pretty, but here are a few from the day!