We are pleased to be interviewing Ceri-Anne Brown, an ex-army medic from Swansea who took up running almost 8 years ago, as she tells us how she got hooked on the sport that has taken the nation by storm.
Having joined the army at 16, Ceri-Anne, now 38 and a mum of one, left Swansea to serve her country in Bosnia, Cyprus, USA, Oman, Afghanistan and Iraq. There, she met her husband Stacey and after serving many years together, they both retired as sergeants back to civilian life, deciding to make Swansea their home.
Keen to hear how she has fell in love with running we interview her in advance of the JCP Swansea Half Marathon that takes place in just 5 weeks time, on Sunday 25th June.
What got you into running?
I left the army in 2008 and decided that I would continue to run however running back then was more about speed. I decided to try a few local races 5/10ks and naturally progressed onto further distances. Since then I have run 9 marathons and 3 ultras.
What is it about running that makes you want to get up at 5am and go for a run?
It’s a cheap way to keep fit, you can do it alone or solo, and I get so much from it. I’ve found it brilliant for dealing with stress, clearing my head, helping me sleep and for general health.
You’ve just become an official coach for your running club Run4All can you tell us why you decided to become a coach?
I’ve come to realise that people use running as an outlet for stress, manage mental health, weight loss, and to build their social circle. I started with very little help or advice with regards to running so I decided to help others bring out the best in themselves. I enjoy encouraging people to use running as an outlet for stress relief, reduce anxiety and boost their self-confidence. I want to show people that anyone can run-they just need the confidence to get out the door.
We hear that you are currently coaching approximately 60 runners from your group to take part in the JCP Swansea Half Marathon. Will this be their first long distance race? And if so, why Swansea?
Yes for most of them they have never dreamt that they would run anything further than a 5k. Firstly we provided them with a conditioning plan after Christmas to get them back into the right mindset then started them on a half marathon training plan. Having such a large group of runners has been tricky but thankfully we have other coaches coming to help at our sessions to apply their knowledge and expertise. In relation to your question “why Swansea” – I believe that to run your first half marathon in your home city is truly something special so this race was one we just had to do.
What tips can you give anyone who is training to run the Swansea Half?
- Get yourself good kit.
- Commit to the training session that you have planned.
- Buildup you mileage gradually.
- Join a running group if you can because you will absorb others positivity when running with them as well as building new friendships.
- Always wear a smile when running – remember you are doing something great for yourself!
What would you say to anyone who was considering taking up running?
Don’t fear local running clubs or groups –they have people of all abilities. Our club is a group for everyone from those who have never run right up to those who have represented Wales. It’s also a lovely way to see the area in which we live.
Finally, what’s your a motto for life?
“Here for a good time not a long time”…and “Never look down on anyone, unless you’re helping them up.”
After catching up with Ceri-Anne we discover that both her and her husband Stacey work full time, and are proud parents to a 7 year old boy. They both find the time to train regularly, whilst juggling a busy family life.
“Our son loves to watch us in races and runs shorter distances with me. He is also keen to join a running club when he turns 8. We feel we are setting him a good example for when he is older as well as being strong role models.”
Ceri-Anne will be joining her fellow running group with a strong team of 89 men and women from Run4All who will be participating at the JCP Swansea Half Marathon on 25th June.
The event starts on Oxford Street in the city and offers runners a flat, fast course that is perfect for beginners, and first time half marathon runners. Race entries close in only 1 week on Friday 26th May, so anyone wishing to take part should sign up now to avoid disappointment. Limited charity places will remain available up until the weekend of the event. The race has recently been recognised as being the “Best Half Marathon” in the UK and runners can expect a fully marshaled course on closed roads, bespoke medal, technical t-shirt, on route entertainment, and goody bag for all finishers. Spectators are expected to come out in their droves to line the route and help cheer on those runners at the designated specator zones, which can be found online.
Go to www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk for further race details and to sign up, like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/SwanseaHalf and follow @Swansea_HM #RunSwansea #FromTheCityToTheSea on Twitter and @swanseahalfmarathon on Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest news about the JCP Swansea Half Marathon.