by Tina Mitchell Skinner
Founder and CEO
Let’s be clear – I am not a runner. I am more comfortable in a pair of high heels than in a pair of running shoes. I couldn't even run for a bus. So I am not sure what came over me when I decided in September 2019 to sign up for the Bath Half Marathon.
The decision was two-fold – Paul Mitchell, who I lost to a brain tumour 16 years ago, motivates me to do what I do in life and always will; and then Jane’s story totally inspired me. Jane is a brain tumour survivor and despite battling crippling fatigue, dizziness and several falls, she completed the Bath Half Marathon last year and raised funds for Brain Tumour Support.
When I first signed up, I did not tell a soul. I was so worried that I would not be able to do it. I decided to start training and tell friends and family when I felt more confident. I started with short runs around my local village. After 2km I felt fit to collapse. I tried to be good and do stretching exercises but ended up a hot mess, lying on my living room floor wondering if I can really do this. A half marathon is more than 20km and I felt like I could never even manage 5km.
But by week four of training, I had done 6km. And before I knew it, I was managing 8km. I managed to keep training varied and interesting: I was lucky enough to be able to go for a run in Central Park, New York and along the stunning coast at Torquay in Devon - the beautiful views more than made up for the dreadful ups and downs.
Just as I completed my base training, the weather turned and gave me a new challenge: running in the freezing cold and pouring rain. This was when I turned to a local running group for support. My natural instinct wouldn't be to run in groups because I'd worry I would hold people up. But I had heard of the group This Mum Runs and decided to give it a go. This was exactly what I needed – the support and encouragement I get from others in my situation is amazing.
I’ve run in horrid weather, come back with soaking feet and even got a lift from a passing motorist because the puddle across the road was so large I couldn’t cross it!
But every time I drag myself out of bed on a cold, wet, dark morning, I feel on top of the world when I get back.
I am now regularly running 10km – something I never thought I would be able to achieve. Now comes the hard bit – finding time and energy for the longer runs.
I’m starting to sound like a runner. Maybe I’m a runner after all?
Find out more about my motivation for taking on this challenge by clicking on my on-line sponsorship page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tinamitchellskinner
What will be your challenge for 2020? Could you take on a half marathon? Or perhaps a skydive is something you have always wanted to do? Or could you take on the challenge of a lifetime and trek the Great Wall of China? Click here to find out more about the various challenge events we have on offer.