On Sunday 28th June 116 women of She Runs: Cardiff took part in our first virtual event. Between 7am and 930pm there were 4 women running every half an hour for exactly 30 minutes before handing the virtual baton on to the next 4.
Having seen other clubs do virtual relays recently we decided to have a go. As our club is all about the taking part at your own pace, doing our own virtual relay rather than joining in with a competitive version amongst other clubs was perfect for us.
I tentatively put up a post on our club FB group asking who might be interested in joining in. Well, the response was phenomenal. Initially I was looking for 1 team to run 12 hours between 7am and 7pm but by the Saturday eve pre relay I was still adding ladies to the event and the time was stretched to 14.5 hours across 4 teams!
This was a fun free event for our group but I set up an optional Just Giving page for Cardiff Women’s Aid in place of a fee for the event. I set a target of £100. As a women’s running group based in Cardiff, Cardiff Women’s Aid is the perfect local charity for us to support. Sadly during lockdown the charity has been needed more than ever with a rise in incidents of domestic violence towards women and their children.
As I’ve mentioned, our club ethos is focused on taking part, enjoyment and supporting each other. We are not about pace or distance. Taking part in our relay we had a huge variety of women of varying stages in their running journey. Some women are in the middle of couch 2 5k, whilst some are accomplished ultra runners! The team spirit was fabulous with support both on our facebook group and in WhatsApp groups we set up for each team. For some women it was their very first running event. It was a privilege to witness.
Our teams were Pobol Porffor captained by Gemma Brimble, Rainbow Runners captained by Cathryn Scott with support from Caroline Privett and Sara Knowles, She Runs…a Relay captained by Sharon Eckley and She Runs for the Tram (don’t ask!) captained by AJ Thomas.
So at 7am we were off! Once ladies completed their 30 minute slot they updated a thread on our facebook group with their distance and of course the obligatory selfie. The support and camaraderie throughout the day was amazing. Everyone gave it their all and were so supportive of each other. Many women came away with a PB for a hard effort. Half way through the day I did a Live update in the group on the standings. All the teams were so close so it was all to run for!
The afternoon continued well with our runners experiencing all kinds of weather during their runs. Some said it was like all 4 seasons in 30 minutes! We had some virtual handovers in person (socially distanced of course) and for some slots different teams ran together to give each other support. Most areas of Cardiff (and beyond!) were covered. We also had ladies running virtually as far away as Portugal, Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire!
Fast forward onto 930pm and we were all done. 116 women had run, 14.5 hours covered. Our final totals were 559km or 347 miles between us. Our teams were incredibly close but just pipping Pobol Porffor to the post were She Runs for the Tram with 89.8 miles or 144.5km. Pobol Porffor were only 0.3 miles behind with 89.5 miles/ 144.1 km. Rainbow Runners came in at 84 miles/ 135.3km with She Runs…a Relay only 0.1 miles behind them with 83.9 miles/ 135.1km.
As of 10pm on Sunday our fundraising total for Cardiff Women’s Aid was £2,180. Three days later our total raised is now at £2,833 and we are still receiving donations. We are absolutely blown away.
The enthusiasm and commitment that our runners showed and the team and community spirit was wonderful. It has brought us even closer to each other as a group and has given everyone who took part a massive boost. We will most certainly be doing it again and hope for it to be an annual event!
Myfanwy Thomas, Run Buddy at She Runs: Cardiff.