Two runners from Team Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity share their experience of Winchester Half Marathon 2017
I chose to support Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity because I have experienced the amazing work they do first hand. My first wife lost her battle with cancer, but those final hours were supported amazingly by all the staff at Countess Mountbatten Hospice, so when I got the opportunity to run for them I knew I had to.
Having run a marathon, albeit in 2004, I knew I could run a half marathon, but it was still a challenge putting in the miles and being fully prepared. I also knew the more miles done in training the easier it would be on the day.
That being said, you couldn’t really prepare yourself fully for the challenge of those first couple of miles as you make your way up the hills of Winchester! You never really notice them when you are wandering round the city on a normal day with your shopping bags or looking for somewhere to get a coffee!
But then while the hills make it a challenging course, it makes it more of an achievement and the feeling of satisfaction all the better as you get your medal round you neck and you tuck into the best tasting free banana at the finish. That, together with the contrast of running through one of England’s most beautiful cities, and some of its most beautiful countryside, makes this an amazing experience and one I am sure to do again with Countess Mountbatten Hospice proudly emblazoned across my chest.
I ran the 2017 Winchester Half Marathon to raise money for the Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity in memory of my granddad, John Spiers, who passed away after a short stay at the hospice. All of the hospice staff were great when we went to visit, and my granddad was really well looked after during his time there. Since the hospice relies on donations to continue their work, I decided to run the half marathon to raise some money from my family and friends.
I am not a runner, but do lots of cycling. I started training four weeks prior to the run, and starting by doing short 20-30 minute runs, slowly building up the distance to a 10 mile run the week before the event. On the day the run was amazing, with hundreds of people cheering you on all around the (unexpectedly hilly) route, which took in the sights of Winchester and the surrounding countryside. The support from the crowd was my favourite part of the day, and made the run so much easier than any of my training runs. I cant recommend the Winchester Half Marathon enough, but my one piece of advice would be to do more than four weeks of preparation - I could barely walk the next day!