Cheering on diabetes runners in the Bath Half Marathon – by Beth John

I’ve never run a half marathon. Chances are, I never will run a half marathon.

I’m not a very sporty person. Whilst other members of the Events Fundraising team will happily spend their Saturday mornings running 10km for fun, I’ve been known to stop and take photos when I occasionally go running, to convince passers-by that I’m not in desperate need of a break (honest!).

However, I really care about helping people raise as much money as they can for the fantastic cause that is Diabetes UK.

Beth John: I decide that four layers of Diabetes UK branded clothes isn’t quite enough, so grab some crazy hair to complete the look

That’s why, since last November, I’ve been working as Events Fundraising Coordinator. I’ve been spending my time making sure everyone taking part in one of our running events is fully supported to raise as much money as possible for Diabetes UK.

Fast-forward three months, and that’s why I find myself standing at Bath Spa train station at 8.15 on a Sunday morning, ready to cheer on all 63 of our Diabetes UK runners who are about to make their way around the 13.1 mile course.

The first job of the day is to set up our “cheer point” at the side of the road, complete with large Diabetes UK flags and banners. We’ve avoided competition for space from another charity, and we’ve got a great spot and the biggest flags, so we’re doing well.

By 10am, we’ve found our volunteers, who’ve been recruited to help out and are already wearing Diabetes UK t-shirts. Not to be out-done, I put on another t-shirt on top of my coat. I decide that four layers of Diabetes UK branded clothes isn’t quite enough, so grab some crazy hair to complete the look.

Before we know it, it’s 11am and the race is under way.

We’re trying to spot the Diabetes UK vests amongst the sea of people, so we’re ready to give our runners an extra loud cheer us they go past. Being tall, wearing crazy hair, and (in the case of one gentleman) painting yourself bright blue definitely helps!

As everyone goes past, I start to put names to faces of people I’ve been emailing and calling for months, and remember their reasons for taking part. We have runners who have Type 1, people who are running for family members who have recently been diagnosed or who have been supported by Diabetes UK for years. We even have a team of runners who work in diabetes research in Bristol.

Inspiring – a team of diabetes researchers

I also notice the people who get the loudest cheers from the crowd – those who are older and those who have clearly never run a half marathon before.

After the race, I get a chance to chat to some of our runners, and I’m completely blown away by their energy and the enthusiasm they have for Diabetes UK, even after such a gruelling physical challenge.

I’m surprised and inspired by the whole thing, and by the genuine passion of people who are willing to push themselves out of their comfort zone for a good cause.

I don’t think I’m quite ready to run a half marathon yet. But after being so inspired by our runners at the Bath Half, who knows…

Maybe next year?

Have you been inspired to follow in the footsteps of our amazing runners? We’re already taking registrations for the Bath Half 2018.

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