Craig's Marathon: Running for Pride

Craig is a USW postgraduate student and one of 40,000 runners taking part in the world’s largest annual fundraiser on Sunday 28th April 2019, the London Marathon.

Marathon Training

Craig is a USW postgraduate student working full-time and training for the London Marathon (that’s 26.2 miles!) He is fundraising and running for Pride Cyrmu in support of all the important work they do with LGBT+ communities across Wales and will be one of 40,000 runners taking part in the world’s largest annual fundraiser. Here’s his story…

I only started running about 3 years ago so I still consider myself a beginner. I hated running in school and have laughed heartily at those who have passed me by ever since. That was until a colleague in work planted that ‘Couch to 5k’ seed. So sure was I of failure that I told nobody about my new venture. Then, one dark winter’s night (to avoid detection of course) my journey began: 5K quickly followed by my first Park Run and I was hooked. Before I knew it, I was running the Cardiff Half, my favourite and most treasured medal to date. I am immensely proud of my achievement but I still didn’t expect the call last November that would now dominate my weekly routine.

I am one of the Event Directors at Pride Cymru, a charity that not only stages the biggest celebration of diversity and equality in Wales every August Bank Holiday but that works tirelessly year-round to support and engage with projects that benefit LGBT+ communities across Wales. Virgin Money Lounge chose to support Pride Cymru as one of their regional charities and with that came a prize place in this year’s London Marathon. Naturally, my board of trustees didn’t have to look too far, no pressure then!

Initial excitement was quickly tempered by shock, denial then despair but experienced runners from the Moti run club were the first to congratulate and assure me to trust in a plan and start training in the New Year. My regime involves running 3 times a week: tempo Tuesdays, intervals on Thursdays, and those infamous distance runs on Sundays… Those long winter evenings have simply flown by!

I am currently studying for the Post Graduate Certificate in Counselling Skills at USW and juggling the demands of this course along with full-time work and all those Pride meetings is a constant challenge. I feel like I’m spinning many plates and fear one or two will come crashing down at any point. Luckily running has many health benefits especially mental health. Sometimes that quick run around the park can be all that’s required to keep any anxiety in check.

On that note did I mention how hungry I am? I have a healthy diet already and eat really well, but I’m particularly looking forward to embracing the carb-loading stage everyone keeps raving about only days before. I’m less excited however by that ‘wall,’ so my strategy is to simply run/walk/sashay around that one.

For more information on Pride Cymru and if you’d like to support me in my challenge, please visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CraigPC.

To quote Eddie Izzard, marathon man extraordinaire: ‘If I can run 26 miles every day, anyone can’… here’s to hoping he’s right!

I’ll see you on the finish line!

To find out more wellbeing support and advice, and to access online resources, visit the University’s Wellbeing Service website.