This year we want to share inspiring stories of runners who have been part of our #RunSwansea journey since the very beginning. Being the few who have been #EverPresent at the Swansea Half Marathon takes some doing, so if you’re one of them – let us know!
This month we catch up with Julie who is the first to come forward as an #EverPresent to #Runswansea. Julie started running for a Race for Life in 2006 and was absolutely thrilled that she could run 5km at the time. Now at the age of 56, she has gone on to run 15 half marathons and will run her 16th marathon this year at the Eryri Marathon in Snowdonia.
What is it about running that you enjoy so much?
I really enjoyed feeling fitter and it was a good escape and a bit of “me time” when my son was young. I usually ran late at night when he was in bed and it was dark so no-one could see me. I didn’t feel like a real runner – probably still don’t to be honest!
I challenged myself to run a 10km race before my 40th birthday in 2007 and my first half in cardiff was in 2012. I felt broken at the end of that but did say to myself – that’s not my limit and I really enjoyed that big race experience.
What makes you want to come back to run swansea every year?
Swansea is my adopted home since 1991 – I am from Luton but moved here in 1991 and love the city. In 2014 I was training for my first (and only! as everyone says) marathon in New York in November 2014. I signed up because it was on my doorstep and as part of the training plan. A few weeks before I had an issue with my hamstring and the physio recommended not to run Swansea and to keep my eye on the real prize in NYC. I obviously listened and thought I would start and see how I felt and really loved being part of that first event. I am so pleased I did it and have been able to run each one since.
What’s your favourite memory from taking part over the years?
I have loved all of the races and the route changes certainly mixes it up. I think my favourite experience was in the autumn of 2021 after the pandemic. I had 3 races in 3 weekends starting with Swansea. I was so excited to be back in a running event after missing it more than I realised. I didn’t run the sensible approach I had planned but got my 2nd fastest time. Taper not race was my mantra but I got too carried away with the experience. I did get a marathon PB in Liverpool the following weekend and just about survived Llanelli the weekend after.
Going under 2 hours was a big challenge for me for many years and I did achieve that in 2019 – I think. Since doing that I haven’t worried about times just being consistent and enjoying the experience
Have you run any of our other events?
If there is one thing you would like to see at our 10th anniversary event what would it be?
I missed having a T-shirt this year but understand the reason why. I have a collection of 8 which I wear with pride in events all over the place.
I have started doing Triathlons so starting to have a busy race calendar but Swansea is the one that is booked and committed first. I love the fact that I have done all of them and don’t want to break the streak for as many years as possible!