The Difference the Diff Made.

After ominous forecasts for strong winds, race day dawns with cool temperatures, persistent drizzle but no wind. Hurrah! Tom and Ma head off to secure a good spot to watch the runners and I walk through Cardiff in my running gear, an old jumper to keep me warm and a tent-like rain poncho. There’s half an hour to go before I can enter my race pen, forty-five minutes before the elite runners set off. I faff around for a bit, skipping and stretching, brave the portaloos which are surprisingly ok and leave my jumper and poncho to be recycled. Then it’s time to take up my position in my pen.

This point - the long wait for the starting klaxon - is a time for reflection. I think about Dad, I think about other families who have lost loved ones to pancreatic cancer, I think about my grandchildren and the future. I worry about how vulnerable we all are, some 20,000 runners and the spectators who’ve turned out on this damp day. I fret about about an outbreak of runners trots.


I remind myself how bloody hard I’ve worked for this race. I’m as fit as I can be and I’m not going to let race nerves get in the way of all that training. A couple of guys start chatting to me, we wish each other good luck as we move slowly forward and I tell myself I’m going to enjoy every minute of this race. And we’re off to cheers, plumes of flames flaring up from burners and loud applause. The crowd always raise the atmosphere at the Cardiff Half Marathon. They line the route, shouting encouragement, offering jelly babies, high fives and cheers. The best bit though is when I get to mile 6 and there are Tom and Ma who shout my name so loudly the people around them clap and join in too. Seeing them gives me the boost to pass the halfway mark and then it’s the count down to the finish.

My phone pings as I collect my medal and goody bag - Lily has sent me my time and results and I’m thrilled with the result: 2 hours, 6 minutes, 23 seconds. 30th in my category of 279 women, 7720 overall position out of some 20,000 runners.
Most importantly, thanks to the very generous support of other people. I’ve raised £455 for Pancreatic Cancer UK which will certainly help make a difference.

And finally, I’m delighted to add that I’m one of the featured contributors in the November issue of The English Home. I drove the car by myself today (which is a huge step for me) and it’s also my lovely Rose’s birthday. What a week!


Clare Chase said…
Very many congratulations on the fantastic run, Chris, both in terms of time/placing and the achievement of all the funds raised. I’d love to get hold of a copy of The English Home – I will look out for it in town. x
Chris Stovell said…
Thank you, Clare, but it's thanks to people like you who gave me such fantastic support that helped me get there. Thank you. Cx
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