Our colleague Helen Courtney is ready to run the Cardiff Half Marathon!

Over 18,000 people will take to the streets of the Welsh capital this Sunday to run the Cardiff Half Marathon. The vast majority are not professional athletes but ordinary mortals from all walks of life, who often struggle to fit in a demanding training regime with equally demanding jobs – among them five members of “Team Wolfestone” who will quite literally be going the extra mile this weekend: 13.1094 miles, to be exact.

HR Manager Emma Hughes might never have discovered her love of running if it hadn’t been for the encouragement of a work colleague at Wolfestone, who “tried to convince me that anybody could run. She was adamant that she could turn me into a great runner and I agreed to accompany her on her morning runs, mainly to prove her wrong and then that would be the end of it! However, it turned out that she was right, anyone can run! We started small doing 2 or 3 mile runs in the mornings before work, and soon I was running my first 5k race. This small achievement inspired me to continue and I had certainly caught the running ‘bug’. I have been training 3 to 4 times a week ever since, slowly increasing my distance and speed until I did a 10k run this March.”

Like Emma, Online Marketing Executive Mari d’Antonio got into running through the prompting of a colleague, Sales Executive Helen Courtney. “I’ve always admired people taking part in marathons, but I would have never thought I was ever going to take part in one. I’ve never been the sporty type and the only discipline I’ve ever practised was swimming,” Mari says. “That’s why I took myself by surprise when Helen managed to drag me into running the Cardiff Half Marathon! I am still not entirely sure why I said yes, but it has to do with the fact that I do enjoy a challenge. I wanted to test myself and prove to myself that I can do this. I am looking forward to Sunday and I am very excited – which is a nicer way to say that I am terrified and I can’t wait for it to be over!”

Project Manager Gwenllian Jones says she has “always been a bit of a runner, mainly through the luck/ misfortune of having long gangly limbs! During school I was an avid participant in cross country and athletics competitions covering all distances from 100m sprints to 3 mile runs, as well as competing for other sports teams. However, between the ages of 14 and 16, I reached a bit of a rebellious phase in my sporting activities and decided that spending 4 hours in front of a TV watching Friends each evening was the way forward in life. Thankfully I grew out of this (although I still enjoy a bit of Ross & Rachel melodrama now and then!).”

Gwen has fond memories of “settling down in the pub with my friends, a pint of cider and a glowing feeling of achievement” after completing her first half marathon during her final year at university.  “Unfortunately I haven’t been able to train as much for this one,” she says.  “A good thing about student life is that you can go for runs at nearly any time of day and not have to arrange everything around work. However, I did manage to run the Swansea 10k in a good time without being swept out to sea due to the horrendous weather, which I feel is a positive note.”

The veteran among the five, in-house translator Silke Lührmann has competed in over 60 races over distances between 10k and full marathon in the past 6 ½ years. A second place in her age category once won her enough money to cover her hotel bill for the weekend – “100 euros for an hour and forty minutes – far more lucrative than translation,” as she likes to joke.

Be that as it may, neither Silke nor her teammates are ready to give up their day jobs just yet, so they will all be back at their desks on Monday morning – probably with some sore muscles, but definitely with new experiences under their belt and new stories to tell. For now, they would love to hear your words of encouragement!

What are your experiences? Do you have any tips for our team?

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