by Kate Morgan, Run Buddy for SRC

365 days ago a group of runners, passionate about creating an inclusive, supportive and bilingual women’s run club in Cardiff sat around a table to see if their vision could be realised. A year later, we are thrilled and delighted to be celebrating the first anniversary of She Runs: Cardiff. And what a year it has been! An incredible community of over 1000 women has formed (and in the most challenging of years, thanks 2020). 

‘I cannot express my gratitude enough… this has given me a love for running which I never thought I had – Catrin 

On 13 October 2019 our very first official run took place: 45 women gathered in the drizzle of a cool Autumnal morning to run a 5k around Roath Park. With our club emphasising the social and friendship side of running just as much as the physical side, we celebrated the launch and got to know one another a little better with a post run coffee and cake at the very accommodating Coffee #1 (I’m still not sure they’ve ever had that many people queuing for coffee by 9am on a Sunday!).

‘I am really proud of of this tribe of women that have got each other’s back; thank you to for helping build our amazing, friendly running community that is always positive and supportive of everyone, whether they are taking their first steps in running or completing ultras’ – Amy

As Autumn turned to Winter, our twice weekly runs, supported by our wonderful band of buddies, grew in popularity. We provided support at Parkrun and local races, including Cardiff Half, Mo Runs, Cardiff Trail Half. Pre-race nerves (and those pesky long waits in the loo queue) are always helped when you get to wait alongside familiar faces! 

‘It has kept a ‘non runner’ running! After completing my first 5k last year I was sure I would take the medal and ‘run’…….because of She Runs: Cardiff I feel part of a special group of inspiring, supportive women who are always there with encouragement and kindness. The ethos of this group is how women should be to each other and I’m so grateful to be part of it! I would never have kept running without it.’ – Verity

The start of 2020 saw a 10k being introduced to our weekly Sunday run, the launch of a super range of purple She Runs: Cardiff merchandise, our busiest ever group run with 55 members keen to start the new year on the right foot on 5 January and the very first of our monthly challenges: a (some might say evil!) plank challenge. March saw a SRC takeover of a local parkrun, appropriately on International Women’s Day, where we turned Tremorfa purple. 

Such a friendly group, don’t be worried about turning up and not knowing anyone. They are a welcoming friendly group. I have met a lot of new people since joining the group and they are all very supportive’ – Nicola 

And then … Covid-19 struckIt goes without saying that coronovirus has had a huge impact on running communities globally. And at a time when many of us needed our runs more than ever to help cope with the challenging impact of life in a pandemic.And yet amongst all the challenges the pandemic and lockdown has posed, over the last six months She Runs : Cardiff grew from strength to strength. We’ve adapted to providing more support virtually and via social media as we’ve been unable to meet in person. This has included Virtual Runs twice a week where we encourage members to share their runs (and obligatory running selfies of course!). We’ve continued with monthly virtual challenges (including a fantastically popular bingo), launched a Couch 2 5k programme and turned Cardiff purple with a virtual relay, whilst raising an absolutely phenomenal £2900 for Cardiff Women’s Aid; a huge thank you to all who took part to make this such a fun, happy event and to those who donated in support.

Love being part of the purple Army’ – Tricia

Our members have also enjoyed a new SRC book club, which included a live zoom chat with the inspirational author, broadcaster and adventurer Lowri Morgan. And many of us have been given the gentle nudge required to sign up to an ultramarathon after a fantastic SRC zoom chat with endurance athlete Rhys Jenkins, fresh from setting a new record for being the fastest person to run the Wales Coast Path. Insight into this epic challenge and his ultra running experiences have been hugely motivational.

Being part of She Runs: Cardiff is special. I always feel supported and part of a lovely community. I have met so many like minded ladies and made many new friends. Finding this club couldn’t have come at a better time in my life after a tough few months of mental health struggles. I will forever be grateful to all the ladies who make the club amazing.- Alex

Our messages of inclusivity, support and fun have reached a wider audience with a feature in Women’s Running #tribeofthemonth, interview on Radio Cymru and on Run Wales. But it’s our members comments and feedback that mean so much to us, including the wonderful messages we’ve received to celebrate our first birthday and which are dotted throughout this article.

She Runs has kept me together through the darkest days. It is far more than a ‘run club’ it’s a group of women that build each other up, hold each other up, support and share through life’s ups and downs. Having always been shy, anxious and extremely cautious SR:C has helped me grow as a person, it’s given belief in myself and it’s given me a confidence I never knew I could have. SR:C helps you put one foot in front of the other. Happy Birthday SR:C! – Ann 

A huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made She Runs: Cardiff the fantastic club that it has become; let’s a raise a glass (or energy gel!) and shout three cheers to SRC: happy 1st birthday! Enjoy all the fantastic celebrations we’ve planned. To finish, here’s a wonderful poem written by one of our SRC committee members and chief designer, Dani:

What SR:C means to me
She Runs: Cardiff means to me
The happiest version of me I can be.
I’m lucky enough to call lots of you friends
I really just wish that these lockdowns would end!
You all spur me on with your daily run posts
And your ‘encouragement’ to run (a big) part of Wales coast
You make me want to run, you make me want to share,
Because I know you’re there and you care
You share, you support, you applaud, and you cheer
It really has been the most wonderful year

She Runs: Cardiff parkrun takeover on International Women’s Day

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