She Runs: Cardiff Birthday Challenge

by Tanya O’Neill

October 2020 was always going to be a magical month; it would be the first anniversary of She Runs: Cardiff and we knew we needed to celebrate this in a huge style.  The idea of a medal came early on in the year, we sourced a great supplier and our amazing Run Buddy Dani put her pen to paper and designed our beautiful sparkly bling.

We gave the title of our medal as ‘Your Challenge’.  Running related or personal, the medal was a way of celebrating anything that you have achieved either in 2020 or to set a challenge for yourself in October and aim to succeed, because let’s face it; 2020 in itself has been an almighty challenge in itself!

The day of ‘release’ and I did a live video on our Facebook Group and the response was overwhelming.  I remember vividly seeing a message afterwards of 2 ladies from the group running at the time and stopping mid run to watch the live and order their medals whilst stood on The Barrage!  Within the first day we had sold over 50% of the total ordered; the reaction was more than we expected – the women of She Runs: Cardiff LOVE a medal and love the community spirit of our club (And the FOMO!!)
The challenges came flooding in; and whether they were self-care, running or strength, the challenge was personal to everyone.

October 1st came and with it the local lockdown restrictions. This caused a few headaches with certain challenges which required crossing county borders; but nothing stops an SR:C woman and plans were quickly adapted, (Unless you broke your ankle on the first day of your challenge!)

The month seemed to fly by, stories were being shared throughout social media of the challenges and then the celebrations really got started – the medals started arriving. Within Cardiff they were being run delivered by our amazing Run Buddies and despite the torrential rain of the weekend, nothing stopped us! The pictures started appearing on social medal and never before on a dull October weekend have women checked their doormats so many times eagerly waiting for theirs to land.

As a small social running club celebrating only a year of being together and with more than half of that being in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and not being able to actual run together, we carried on encouraging.  We have continued to support and welcome women to the group with open arms, to feel safe in the comfort of knowing that individual challenges are important to us all.  October wasn’t just about running; it was about getting through another month in lockdown, taking some time out for ourselves and our wellbeing.  It didn’t matter if you didn’t achieve the goal you set yourself at the start of the month, you got through to the end of another month being part of a great community and embraced everything that the month threw at you. 

We didn’t just survive October, we thrived in October – and we have a beautiful medal to remember doing that together. 

Thank you ladies for being part of our journey. 

Some quotes from our members on their medal challenges:

I deserve my beautiful October challenge medal and am proud of what I have achieved and I will continue with drinking the water, food and exercise. It’s hasn’t gone 100% but what in life ever does, – Nia

Completed my October challenge which was being active every day, not just running, a walk at lunchtime or a quick bike ride, not always easy with 3 children and working but I’ve enjoyed it and I love my glittery medal. – Melanie

She Runs Challenge completed!! 10 runs with one new run route a week. I even managed a 10km run ( with some walking) as a bonus which I never thought I would do! Powered on by purple gear and SR:C playing – Claire

I’ve been thinking about this and how I don’t deserve it because I haven’t done my challenge. But do you know what?! I do deserve it because even though I haven’t got my 5k PB and I have hardly ran the past few week, I haven’t given up! I’ve been to my gym, I’ve done kitchen workouts, I’ve been planning my boxing classes for when we are out of lockdown #2 and I’m still bloody here! If you haven’t completed your challenge, so what. You tried, you’ve done your best and that’s all we can. I’m proud of this medal and everything it stands for. Me, you – US! 💜💜💜 – Kelly

We may be a running group but that doesn’t mean our #sherunscardiffbirthday challenge has to be running related. I’ve chosen to work on my self-care for mine. Whilst earlier in the month I didn’t do so well I’ve had the past week off and I’ve done barely anything, which was exactly what I needed. My week has consisted of running or walking with friends, napping, catching up on missed tv shows and generally taking it easy. That said I’ve hit my steps target each day, which I never do when I’m working. – Sam

I wanted to do something non-running as I’m very guilty of just running and not doing anything else, so I settled on 20 press ups per day. This may not sound much, but I find them so difficult 😂 When I first started, I had to stop several times, but I can now do 20 without stopping 😁


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

My Running Journey with SRC

by Joanne Wellbeloved

I’ve watched my partner Glenn complete half marathons over the past few years and I have always said I would love to be able to do that. I was out cheering on some of my Slimming World members running the Cardiff Half in October 2019 and I thought to myself let’s do this before I’m 50. A years training should do it right?! 

I was browsing on Facebook that evening and saw a post about She Runs. I always find sometimes things pop up on Facebook exactly when you need them too! I joined the group, set my alarm, pulled on the only pair of running trainers I had along with an old pair of leggings and went down to Penylan Library absolutely terrified. I was thinking will I even be able to run? Will anyone speak to me?. It was a daunting thought at first. 

She Runs: Cardiff’s first official run with Jo to the left in blue

I met the ladies there, it was lovely to see a friendly face as I already knew Sam Haines, everyone was really welcoming and off we went. 

Elaine and Sam chatted to me the whole way, I was listening to them but didn’t really say much as I couldn’t breathe! I managed to complete the 5K route which i’ll admit wasn’t easy. It took 41 minutes but I was happy with this as I hadn’t done any running in many years. The next day I couldn’t walk down the stairs but I felt amazing and I couldn’t wait to go out again next week.

As well as running on the Sunday morning, I joined the She Runs Wednesday evening run and even started going out on my own on a Friday. I caught the running bug and started to slowly increase my distance and….. signed up for the Cardiff Half for 2020. 

November 2019 I ran my first 10k and I haven’t looked back. Then in March 2020, the UK went into lockdown. She Runs had to stop but the fabulous run buddies have supported us with virtual run clubs and virtual challenges. The group has really kept me motivated especially as all of our races were cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19. I even bought a treadmill in a panic just incase we were banned from leaving the house altogether! 

One morning on May 22nd, I went out on a long run and ended up completing my first half marathon at 13.1 miles.

One of the virtual challenges was the ‘Race to the Stones’ Ultra Marathon which was 100k over a week. It was hard work and I managed to complete the equivalent of two full marathons over four days. However this taught me a valuable lesson of not to overtrain as I ended up being poorly. Always listen to your body! Again, the support during this time was incredible and they even dedicated the last 9 miles for me as I couldn’t run it.

My PB for a 5k run is now 28 minutes so this shows how far I have come since my first run. The Facebook group are so friendly and encouraging and they really make you feel part of such a great running community. It’s great to have a hobby which I enjoy, that has benefits for both my physical and mental health and I have even lost 1st in weight since doing this. Now that really is a perk!

So, I started off being not a runner in the slightest (The only thing I could run was a bath) to running half marathon distances within 7 months. I have run three half marathon runs and I am on course to complete 1000 miles in 2020. Although I may not be the fastest or the fittest, I now class myself as a runner and If I can do that, anyone can! 

Happy 1st Birthday to She Runs Cardiff. Here’s to many more!

She Runs: Cardiff meets ultra runner and Wales Coast Path record holder Rhys Jenkins

Fresh from setting a new record for being the fastest person to run the Wales Coast Path, endurance athlete Rhys Jenkins joined She Runs: Cardiff via Zoom to tell us about his epic challenge and his ultra running experiences so far.

Rhys, who grew up in Penarth but now lives in Cardiff, ran the 870-mile (1,400km) Wales Coast Path in 20 days, 10 hours and 38 minutes, setting off from Chester on 21 July and ending in Monmouth on 10 August. He ran an average of 40 miles a day – including 56 miles on the penultimate day and just short of 50 miles on the final day. He has raised £5,500 so far for three charities – CF Warriors, NSPCC and Maggie’s Cardiff. 

Rhys after completing his challenge

A phenomenal achievement, no doubt about that – so we were amazed to learn that running the Wales Coast Path wasn’t actually in his plans for this year. He had been training for the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, known as one of the toughest races on the planet, when Covid and lockdown struck and the race was postponed. Knowing that he was in peak physical condition, he decided to take on this challenge in his homeland instead, adding that it had always been on his bucket list of challenges to complete.

Rhys and his wife Cerys

He beat the previous record set by James Harcombe from New Zealand in 2017 by more than two hours, but says some days were incredibly tough, both physically and mentally. There were days when he was in a lot of pain as well as days when his mood was low. When asked what kept him motivate, he said thinking about the causes he was running for, as well as his support crew, who kept him going throughout. His team was headed by his wife Cerys, who not only drove the van around Wales for the entire challenge, waiting for him at every check point, but also helped with nutrition and hydration, footcare and more, as well as mental encouragement too.

Rhys has undoubtedly been a huge inspiration to many runners, with thousands following his challenge online and around 60 runners joining him to run sections of the path (including me and my eight year old son!). He said that seeing these people pushing themselves to achieve more than they thought possible, and having complete strangers turn up to support him, or offer him accommodation for the night, was incredibly inspiring to him too and really helped him get through the tough days.

Cathryn and her son joining Rhys on his challenge

Rhys has been competing in ultra events for around a decade, and he and his wife Cerys also stage local ultra events with their company, Pegasus Ultra Running. Their ethos is that ultra running is for everyone and as such their events have no cut off times, meaning they are accessible to runners of all paces.

He had plenty of advice for anyone thinking of taking on their first ultra running challenge. It’s a different style of event, he says, with less pressure on time and pace than the more competitive style of road race many of us are used to. Yes, there will be faster runners aiming for a personal best, but there are also those who can take up to 17 hours to complete the 40 mile distance. They get to fully appreciate the whole experience, he said, taking in the scenic views of the dramatic Welsh landscape in a way that the faster runners don’t. “An ultramarathon is an adventure,” he told us. “A picnic with a bit of running.” 

She Runs: Cardiff members listening to Rhys speak

This sentiment was echoed by She Runs: Cardiff member Bernadette McCarthy, who ran her first ultra when she was 50. She joked that she doesn’t look like what you might picture an ultrarunner to look like – although she can wear that badge proudly as she now has several under her belt, all of which she’s run on her own terms, running, walking and stopping as much as she needs. “I’ve never run a marathon,” she told us, which came as a surprise to lots of us. She added that the idea of pounding the pavements for 26.2 miles doesn’t appeal to her and me and that she would choose an ultra over a marathon any day. She was attracted to Pegasus events because they don’t have a cut off time, meaning there is no pressure to run at a certain pace. She even makes sure to stop for an ice cream midway through the Pegasus Vale Of Glamorgan Ultra Marathon.

Another She Runs: Cardiff member Gruby Barrett shared her experiences of volunteering at Pegasus ultra events. She explained that there are check points every few miles, with volunteers making sure runners all reach the points safely. Volunteers provide refreshments – not the gels and sports drinks of road races, but ‘proper’ food which one year included pies. They also provide mental and emotional support to runners, helping them get round the course.

We know from the chat in our Facebook page that several of our members have been thinking about running their first ultra event, and we had great feedback that this online event helped answer questions and concerns and cemented their decision to take on such a challenge in the future. We’ve also since had a number of women who have surprised even themselves by thinking that one day it could be possible… 

As Rhys himself said, you are capable of so much more than you think.

We’re looking forward to seeing our purple army on the ultra marathons of South Wales and beyond in the not too distant future.

Thank to Rhys, Bernadette and Gruby for giving their time so generously to chat with us, for sharing their experiences so openly, and for answering all of our questions. 

For more information on Pegasus, visit the website.

You can follow Rhys Jenkins on Instagram here.


by SR:C Run Buddy Cathryn Scott (@cardiffmummysays)

She Runs: Committee

Amongst our Run Buddies we have a core team – the She Runs: Committee. The committee make decisions about SR:C and how we develop going forward. We come from all kinds of backgrounds and lots of different places! Read a bit more about us all below:

AJ (Anna-Jane), 47.

Role: Social Media Team, Treasurer and Fundraising Team.

Originally from Pembrokeshire and now living in Whitchurch with my husband (aka The Bearded Running Pixie), our 2 teenagers and Charlie, our dog.

I’m a GP in Risca, Newport and I also teach Pilates.

I’ve been running for over 10 years but have never enjoyed it as much as I have since I’ve been running with She Runs. I get out 4 times a week if I can, especially during lockdown.

Kate, 38

Role: Social Media Team & Run Organiser

Cyncoed – originally from Aberystwyth

I began ‘properly’ running three years ago whilst on holiday in Majorca, tentatively running along the beach as the sun rose each morning. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing but just knew I loved it! Since then I’ve completed two marathons, my favourite being London in 2019 for Tommy’s, tha baby charity, which was simply extraordinary and utterly epic! I’m Mum to three young children, including a little lockdown baby girl, and I’m currently enjoying a gentle return to running postpartum; you’ll see me round Roath Lake a lot as I slowly build back up the distance, please wave hello if you do!

Being part of She Runs: Cardiff is a privilege; I’ve met so many lovely, inspiring women who share my joy for running. I’m part of the social media team on the committee for SEC, as well as one of the run organisers, sharing the organisation of the weekly group runs and virtual run club. And in ‘real life’ I work at Velindre Cancer Centre as a nurse specialist.

Gemma, 30

Role: LiRF Coach and Parkrun Co-ordinator.

I started running just over 2 years ago by doing the couch 2 5k spurred on by a broken arm putting a stop to my professional wrestling training and power lifting. 
My favourite type of running (aside from She Runs) is Parkrun and I have done 50(ish) runs now at 22 different locations and it’s one of my favourite bits of the weekend.
I am a mental health & addictions nurse by trade but I am also LiRf qualified and am currently undertaking my Personal Training Diploma.

Nia, 41

Role: Committee Chair

I live in the Heath. 
I am originally from Barry but have lived in Cardiff for 12 years. 
I have a 5 year old son called Efan who keeps me on my toes. 

I started running in 2016 after having Efan. I had always been into fitness and going to the gym but couldn’t find the time to get to the gym whilst balancing work and motherhood. So I started running instead. I signed up to the 2017 Virgin London Marathon and haven’t looked back since. 
I always like to challenge myself, so marathon distance, albeit painful and a huge commitment is definitely my favourite so far. But I am hoping to add ultra to my list of running achievements soon. 

Why do I run – I have been running consistently now for 4 years and I think it’s just part of me now. I need it for my sanity!

Sam, 39

Role: Secretary to the Committee

I’m originally from Basingstoke but came to South Wales to go to university and ended up staying.

I started running back in 2012 inspired by the Olympics and the Paralympics. When we’re able to run together I organise our unofficial 6am run club (yep some if us are actually crazy enough to get up that early by choice to run). My favourite race was the Cardiff Bay 10k in 2019 as I ran with two others and helped them reach their goal. There’s something special and inspiring about helping people achieve more than they thought they could through running.

Andrea, 48

Role: Welfare Officer

As well as being a SRC run Buddy, I am half of your Welfare team, with Coleen. I am an NHS doctor, and have two boys. Life is a constant juggle! I enjoy running. It’s good for my health and well-being and I love being able to share this and support others, which SRC enables me to do. It’s also great for my work:life balance and as I’m very good at chatting, SRC Social runs are ideal for me! 

Coleen, 41

Role: Welfare Officer

From North Devon but have been living in Wales for over 20 years – I met my husband at university and didn’t go back home!
I work in financial services.
I’m one of the Welfare Officers and was interested in this role as I wanted to ensure women feel safe and valued as part of the SR:C community.
I started running by completing Couch to 5k about 9 years ago, but didn’t start running on a regular basis until around 3.5 years ago, this was after I had my two sons and I discovered running as part of a group which gave me the motivation and confidence I needed to run the Cardiff half marathon – something I’d always said I wanted to do before I was 40. Since then I’ve done two more half marathons and I still enjoy taking part in races but my first love is a social run with plenty of chat, laughter and the opportunity for cake afterwards!


Role: Social Media Team & Challenge Co-ordinator

I have lived in Thornhill for the past 10 years. I was born in Rugby, Warwickshire and lived in many places before settling here with my son.

I left my position as a Cinema Manager after 15 years, being a single parent and a 50 hour working week just didn’t work! I now work part time for a small family company in Cardiff, not glamorous or exciting but I enjoy it! 

My running journey started with the C25k in April 2016, 2 years later I ran a marathon – I totally believe your body will complete any challenge, you just need to convince your mind! 
Running is my release and has benefitted not only my physical but more importantly my mental well-being. It’s my time, doing what I enjoy. I exercise 4/5 times a week and love running in the mountains. 

I’ve been part of the She Runs : Cardiff committee since the start & have enjoyed watching how we have evolved since October 2019. 2020 has been a huge success and as part of the social media team we’ve delivered many virtual challenges to keep our ladies motivated during a difficult time. 

I run for fun and love nothing more than supporting others on their adventure. 

Myfanwy, 39

Role: Social Media Team & Website Co-ordinator

Born in Newport but raised in Cardiff. I work for Rondo Media a TV production company doing admin & finance. I am part of the She Runs: Cardiff Social Media team and look after the website.

I’ve always kept fit but I didn’t start running until 5 years ago after a friend persuaded me to give it a try. I was reluctant! I have arthritis so it never occurred to me that I could do it! Fast forward a few years and I’ve run 4 marathons, and countless half marathons and 10k races (but never a 5k race!).

I’m a mum of 3 (12, 11 and 6 years) so running is my time; for headspace, for exercise and of course for socialising.

I’m a firm believer now that ANYBODY and EVERYBODY can run. We are all designed for forward motion and sometimes all we need is a confidence boost. I love supporting others to catch the running bug.

Rhian, 36

Role: Social Media Team & Run Organiser

I live in Roath.

I love to be Outdoors ideally in the sun but will take whatever weather’s going (don’t really have much choice!) My job in “real life”: Dietitian.

I organise Wednesdays’ runs – either in “real life” or virtually – hopefully it gets everyone geared up  for a great run day!
I started running 2005 – thought that maybe I should get fitter, running was good to fit in around work, cheap, could do it anywhere – one thing it was not ….. easy! My favourite run is now a run with people!! Never thought I would say that! I’ve been running now with company for over a year and it’s totally the way forward, chatting totally makes the time go quicker – result! Plus you get so meet so many fab people!
Roll on real runs coming back

Amy, 42

Role: Legal Advisor & Network Co-ordinator

I’m from Staffordshire originally but have been living in Cardiff since coming to university here.  I live in Roath with my husband and 2 sons.
I started running originally to complete the Medoc Marathon ( the one with the wine!) before I was 30 with my dad. I had a break from running but came back to it in 2018 to complete the New York Marathon and the Cardiff half that year and have been running ever since. 
I like running on my own for headspace, often early in the morning to get some calm before a busy day.  However,  I also really enjoy the social side of running and love being part of the She Runs: Cardiff Community.
On the committee I help with legal stuff and  networking and since lockdown, I’ve been posting the weekly treasure hunt. Its been great to see that even though we can’t run together, the group continue to support and encourage each other.
Depending upon whether I’m training for anything I run 3-4 times a week. In July a lot of this was uphill as I completed the month long Tough Runner Trifecta challenge as well as clocking up the miles for Run around the world. I’ve completed 5 marathons and I’d love to run/walk an ultra. 

Elaine, 45

Role: Committee member 

I am about to turn 46 years old and live in Rhiwbina (where I grew up). I am married with two children (age 14 and 11) and work as a nursery support worker at Cylch Meithrin Rhiwbina. I am also one of the Welsh speaking Buddies (not quite fluent but almost!). 

I started running several years ago and have mostly run for fun and fitness. I have been fortunate to develop many close friendships through running and I am hugely grateful for that. 

The support provided by everyone in the She Runs:Cardiff group (on issues often not connected to running) is amazing and humbling. Running and chatting seems to provide a safe space to talk about what’s on your mind – it’s helped me over the years and I hope it will help others too. It’s a unique environment and one which I cherish.  

I look forward to meeting, running, walking, chatting and having a cuppa with all of you. My specialist subjects are Christmas and bobble hats (don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Dani, 33

Role: Designer

Originally from Holywell, North Wales, currently live in Pontypridd with my husband, 3 year old daughter Alexis and miniature schnauzer Ramsey. 

My role within the committee is design, so all the lovely merch you have, our logos and many social media posts have been designed by me. 

I started running in 2008 when I lived in Connecticut for a year whilst in uni. I started running to help me lose weight, quit smoking and stop drinking cider! 

Now I run because I love it. I love the headspace, the freedom, the ‘Me’ time and most importantly the wonderful people it has brought into my life. And of course coffee #1 on a Sunday morning.

I try to run a few times a week and participate in a number of races a year (pre lockdown), varying from parkrun to Cardiff Half. I was supposed to run my first marathon (Liverpool) in May 2020 but this was cancelled so I’ll be running in May 2021, hopefully.

My biggest running achievement so far would have to be the virtual race to the stones, 100km in 7 days. I absolutely loved the challenge and hope to do the event for real one day. Another achievement has to be She Runs : Cardiff. Together with a group of wonderful, likeminded women, we have built a hugely successful brand and community in such a short space of time, and I am super proud to be a part of that. 

Sharon, 39

Role: Fundraising Team & Networking Co-ordinator.

I live in Fairwater and I’m your C25K run leader and #partyattheback ambassador!
Mum of 3 (17, 13 & 5), a HR Professional and Quality Manager for a structural engineers, artistic roller skater and coach and a health and wellness coach. 

I started running again after lots of half hearted attempts over the years and in 2018 I took part in the Cardiff half as one of my very first races to ‘keep a friend company’ .. who subsequently was walking home as I ran the last kilometre to the finish but haven’t looked back since. I pretty much run whenever I get the chance and can’t imagine not running now. I’m a heart rate runner so you won’t find me running fast but running has given me so much and this group is testament to that! 
To mark the year I turn 40 (January 2021) I’m hoping to complete my biggest running achievement yet and run the Amsterdam marathon eek!! 

Bethan, 40.

Role: Social Media Team and Treasurer.

I live in Heath, originally from Mountain Ash. I’ve been living in Cardiff for almost 4 years now with my husband and 11 year old son. I work as an accounts manager in our family business, when I’m not doing that I’m ‘mums taxi’!

I started running at the beginning of 2016 originally to get fit. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. My first race was Caerphilly 10K in May 2016 and haven’t looked back, I try my best to get out 3 or 4 days a week. I love the social aspect of running and also the fact that you can just change and leave the house – no travelling to gym/classes. I’ve been doing Pilates for a year now in addition to running to build my strength which I really enjoy too.

She Runs: Around the World!

One of the most enjoyable parts of being a Run Buddy and committee member for She Runs Cardiff has been seeing the response from our community to our monthly challenges. After an exciting month ticking off running bingo squares in June we needed a July challenge to keep us motivated and when I heard about the Run Around the World event organised by the company, Run Things it sounded perfect. We’d previously taken part in their December event, Run up to Christmas, and their approach of promoting both physical and mental health is something we also feel passionate about at SR:C.

Run Around the World is a virtual event where entrants are allocated to either Team North, South, East or West and runs are logged in an attempt to have enough combined mileage to run 40,075km – that’s the distance around the world. There is no minimum requirement, whether you log 1km or 100km, it all goes towards your team total, and means you are eligible for a medal, with some of the entry proceeds going to the charity Mind.
It’s become clear since we set up SR:C that in our community we love a challenge, we love a good cause, and we love a medal! This meant I knew there would be some interest in setting up a SR:C team for the event, however, I was overwhelmed by just how much interest when over 100 women signed up.

Our team was allocated to Team West and from early on our total mileage was impressive, with us quickly achieving a place near the top of the leader board. For a little bit of extra motivation and fun I tracked our total distance to see what locations we could reach from Cardiff as the miles built up. Geography is not my strong point but with some vital support from Google I was able to provide photos and facts from locations including France, Portugal, Russia, Dubai, Lake Michigan, Los Angeles, Thailand, and Namibia. As ever, our community joined in with enthusiasm, sharing photos and experiences from their travels and discussing races all over the world that they’d love to do – there wasn’t a lot of interest in the Siberian ice half marathon though, I think it was the mention of the risk of freezing eyeballs that may have put people off!

After spending some time at number 2 on the leader board we slipped into third place on the 31st July. We could have taken this as a sign that it was time to give our trainers a rest, but we’re a force to be reckoned with at SR:C, so instead it was a day of trying to win the second place spot back, with various efforts ranging from a morning 20 mile run to late night walks, sprints to the corner shop, and motivational messages all day, until at midnight we were officially back at number 2.
Team West made it around the world, and the SR:C team contributed an amazing 13,037km of that. It was a brilliant month and a perfect example of how a community can achieve great things while having a lot of fun along the way.

Coleen Manuel, Run Buddy She Runs: Cardiff

She Runs: Cardiff – An update from our Welfare team 23/07/2020

Following the recent ease in lockdown we want to provide an update for where we are now.

We regret that She Runs: Cardiff is currently unable to restart social running groups.

This is because:

We are a social running group, not a run club with coached sessions.

We have very few Buddies with a Leadership in Running Fitness Qualification and they are currently required to lead every run.

We do not have the infrastructure to collect and store contact details or report to the NHS Track and Trace system.

We are unable to socialise or run closer than 2m apart which makes our chatty, supportive runs very difficult to achieve, especially in a busy area like Roath. 

We will continue to monitor the situation regularly and will hopefully be able to restart soon but please continue to join our virtual runs and challenges until we can be together again


Am I a runner?

Am I a proper runner? Do I look like a runner? Do I have a runner’s body?

These are questions that bother runners of all abilities, from those just starting out at c25k to competitive ultra runners. The imposter feeling can be overwhelming and doesn’t necessarily go away with experience. As women we are so often judged on how we look and this is no different when it comes to running. A recent discussion amongst our group revealed that many women who actually run regularly don’t consider themselves to be runners, wouldn’t describe themselves as a runner to others, or even have had their runner status questioned by others!

“I’d say I’m someone who runs, rather than a runner….I always go for a run, yet don’t consider myself a runner?!”

“I don’t feel like a ‘runner’ more someone who likes to run, but my husband would most definitely say I am and has called me out if I’ve hesitated when asked. I tend to say I’m not that fast or not that good. Not sure why thinking about it, I don’t think anyone else is watching with that much interest…”

“I always feel the term ‘runner’ is somehow for the more committed/ more elite than me, I’m just a person who occasionally goes for a run…”

“I have been told that I don’t have the physique of a runner by a close family member. I reminded them that I have successfully run a number of marathons – what about my physique isn’t a runner?”

“Don’t consider myself a runner. I’m someone who uses running to exercise but I’m new to it so that’s what it is to me at this moment in time.”

“The way I see it is how can I be a runner if I can’t even run for a short time/ distance and don’t like running anyway. I hope that’ll change one day…”

“I run and absolutely love it and everything about it…but I still don’t consider myself a runner….I’ve never competed in a ‘proper’ race so maybe I feel I haven’t earned my stripes yet?”

A group of runners running!

No-one is immune to imposter syndrome

Women in the public eye are not immune either. The newsreader Lucy Owen recently tweeted her feelings after completing week 6 of the Couch 2 5k programme. “End of week 6 couch25k. Michael Johnson tells me I’m now a runner. I beg to differ!”

It is disappointing that the C25k NHS app does not profess you to be a runner until week 6. Week 6! All of that hard work moving your body for 6 whole weeks until you are ordained as a runner by the programme. If Michael Johnson had been saying it from run 1 week 1 perhaps Lucy would believe it by now? Positive affirmation and encouragement are so important for ensuring people can make running a long term habit, especially during those first few weeks when it might seem impossible.

Accomplished competitive runners are not immune to imposter syndrome either. In her book ‘Beyond Limits’, Lowri Morgan has a chapter entitled “Do I look like a runner?’. Lowri discusses her past feelings of inadequacy as a runner, because of not looking the right way or being a certain weight. 

I myself feel it  – despite having run several marathons, those little thoughts can be hard to quell sometimes, that I’m just not fast enough to be considered a ‘proper’ runner. That I haven’t run a time in a race worthy of being considered a runner. Although at other times I very much think of myself as an experienced runner and have felt affronted when described as otherwise. When I recently signed up to a marathon training programme if you had been running for 5 years or less you were considered a beginner! 

I’m not sure of the exact point in my running journey that I decided I was a runner, but one moment really sticks in my mind. I was relatively new to running but had run a half marathon. I was telling a colleague about it. He seemed surprised (my perception – he probably just said something innocuous like “oh really?”) and I immediately chimed in “I know I don’t look like a runner”. It annoys me to this day that I said that! Of course I look like a runner – because I am one!

Pre run briefing

Realising that you are a runner

It is heartening to see that amongst our group the majority of women do consider themselves to be runners, whether they felt it straight away or took some time to get there. A quick poll out of 72 ladies 67% would describe themselves as a runner, with 22% as a runner sometimes, 10% “not yet” (a positive place to be at least) and only 1% as “used to be”. 

At She Runs: Cardiff we are all about running for the enjoyment and place no emphasis whatsoever on speed or distance. Sometimes to believe that you can do something it helps to see other people you perceive as like you doing it! And that is what our group is all about – sharing our experiences of running as “normal” (i.e. not elite) women runners.

Here are some of the positive reasons or moments that made these women realise that yes, they actually are runners based on a few common themes… 

“I realised I was a runner when I spent more money on trainers for running than normal shoes!”

“I think I realised I was a runner when the term ‘Jogger’ started to annoy me….No matter how I compare to others who are more athletic than me, I put my heart, soul and body into it, that makes me a runner.”

“I don’t run far or fast but I run – I am a proper runner!”

“I only really realised it when I had vouchers for running leggings ….and I was really excited”

“I always thought I just liked running but now I’ve seen enough “you know you’re a runner when” memes to know I should think of myself as a runner – most importantly because I have to run past my house to get to 5k.”

“I love that us women champion each other’s running journeys. If you put your trainers on and go out – you are a runner.”

“I often feel silly about calling myself a runner because some people can speed walk at my running speed. However, like a lot of others, I’m a big advocate of saying if you run then you’re a runner, so yes “I’m a runner” (shouting it loud and proud.)”

“I love how fit and healthy it makes me feel. Each week no matter how busy I am!  I am always trying to schedule my runs in. So yes I am a runner.”

Happy smiles at the end of a group run

What is a runner?

If thinking of yourself as a runner is still a struggle for you, let’s look at the definitions:


verb: move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both or all the feet on the ground at the same time


noun: a person that runs

“a runner’s body”

noun: the body of somebody who runs

The human body is designed for forward motion. We are all capable of running. If you have laced up your trainers, stepped out that door (or stepped on to the treadmill) and moved your body in a forward motion that is faster than a walk, then you are running and therefore you are a runner. From that very first step. There is no test, no qualifying grade and you don’t need any one else’s approval or validation. It’s as simple as that.

Things that make you a runner: 

  1. you run

Things that have no bearing on whether you are a runner or not:

  • your speed
  • your distance
  • how often you run
  • if you take part in races or how many races you’ve completed
  • what you look like
  • who you are
  • your age
  • your weight
  • how much your trainers cost
  • your clothes
  • your fitness watch
  • how many followers you have on social media
  • whether you are in a club
  • whether you can run 1 mile/ 5k/ 10k/ half/ marathon ‘sub anything’
  • whether your colleague/ friend/ family member thinks you are or not.

Say it to yourself: “I am a runner!’

Here are the inspirational words of Lowri Morgan

“Because today I realise I don’t need to look different to be considered a runner. I am one. I can run. Uphill. Strong. Fast. I am a runner. I was made for it. My soul feels it; my body know it; my heart longs for it. These are the thoughts I listen to now.”

Myfanwy Thomas, Run Buddy at She Runs: Cardiff

She Runs: Whilst Autistic

I’ve had a few forays into running in the past. Between the ages of fifteen and eighteen I was in Army Cadets and participated in Cadet Cambrian (the toughest competition in the Army Cadet Force with a lot of running during training), but I tore my meniscus and had to have an arthroscopy at 17, so I paused my running to recover. That pause turned into quite a long stop.

I started running again semi-properly in 2016 after seeing the benefit it had on a good friend’s mental health. I even ran the Cardiff Half Marathon that year. Unfortunately, injury struck again – this time with plantar fasciitis – and as with my last recovery pause, it turned into a stop.

The thing is, I’m both Autistic and have ADHD. I’m not going down a road of generalisations and clichés, but for me I get very intense interests in things, but if I can’t (or don’t) focus on them for a while they end up dropping out of my life entirely. This is what happened with running. 

I’d been wanting to get back into it for a while because I know how good it is for my mental wellbeing. However, my brain operates in two modes: 1: do everything I think of right away without considering potential outcomes or consequences and 2: ruminate and overthink everything. Running fell into category 2, and I spent my time between February and April this year in a ‘Shall I? Shan’t I?’ battle. 

‘Shall I’ finally won and on 15th April I found some old running shoes in the cupboard, put on my sole running bra and leggings, and went out for a run. It was exactly what I needed. Lockdown while Autistic and being a carer for two disabled children was mentally exhausting and a constant sensory bombardment. That run was my first period of solitude for a month, and the frustration that had been building was released in every step. I posted about it on Facebook (I mean, is it even a run if you don’t tell someone about it?) and my friend Sara added a comment about She Runs: Cardiff, a supportive running group for Women in Cardiff.

I followed her advice and joined, but I didn’t expect to be there for long. Running was quickly becoming my intense interest (if you want to read more about that, you can do so here) and I already knew how this would go. I’d join, I’d post too much, I’d overshare, I’d empathise and celebrate by writing about my own experiences (therefore ‘making it about me’), people would get fed up with me and I’d leave. This is how it always goes, right? Wrong.

I do post a lot, but every single post is met with open arms, likes and comments. I do overshare, but this is met with kindness, advice and (when injured) sympathy. I do write about my own experiences while empathising with others (it’s the only way I really know how) but nobody has become frustrated with me, and mutual sharing is a big part of what makes She Runs: Cardiff so great. The most striking difference I’ve found so far is that despite being on my second injury, I’m not losing my running spark because I’m part of a community.

When I approached Myfanwy asking if she would like me to write about my experience for the site, I said this: 

She Runs: Cardiff is the first non-Autistic space that I’ve immediately felt comfortable and welcome in. 

Not once have I felt like an imposter, and I’m genuinely looking forward to meeting my fellow She Runners in person once we’re allowed. I can’t promise I won’t be awkward and talk too much to fill any potential uncomfortable silences, and I also can’t promise that I won’t be too loud and say the wrong thing. What they can promise is that they won’t judge me for it. That I’ll be welcomed with open arms and accepted for exactly who I am and how I communicate. They don’t even need to tell me; it’s shown with their actions and interactions.

If you’re a woman who runs – be that day one of couch to 5k or an ultrarunner – I can’t recommend She Runs: Cardiff enough. If you’re also neurodivergent, I honestly don’t think you’ll ever find a better club to join. Part of my job is to deliver neurodiversity training with a message of acceptance. This group is the first collection of neurotypicals who I can state confidently don’t need it.  Support, acceptance, and mutual respect are what’s on offer, alongside an awesome purple running kit and an eclectic Spotify playlist.

Kat Williams, She Runs: Cardiff Member

Rhowch eich treinyrs am eich traed ac ewch amdani!

Mae Hi’n Rhedeg: Caerdydd

Rhyw berthynas marmite oedd gen i â rhedeg. Erioed wedi f’ystyried fy hun yn rhedwraig naturiol ac i fo’n onest, ro’n i’n casáu rhedeg fel person ifanc. Roedd y syniad o redeg traws gwlad neu rasys mabolgampau yn yr ysgol yn codi ofn arna i braidd er fy mod yn mwynhau chwaraeon. Rwy’n credu mai’r teimlad hwnnw o fod yn rhedeg fel unigolyn a theimlo dan bwysau i gyrraedd rhyw amser neu bellter penodol oedd yn creu rhyw bryder. Y marmite roeddwn, bryd hynny, yn ei gasáu! Felly mae’n dipyn o syndod fy mod i erbyn hyn yn ysgrifennu blog ar gyfer cymuned o redwyr! 

Fe wnes i greu rhyw berthynas newydd â rhedeg yn fuan ar ôl gadael y brifysgol mewn ymdrech i golli pwysau a theimlo’n well. Ac yna yn ystod cyfnod o gael plant roedd y Marmite yn ei ôl a’r syniad o fynd allan i redeg yn teimlo fel rhyw dasg amhosibl a diflas ar adegau. 

Mae hyn i gyd yn teimlo fel rhyw oes wahanol erbyn hyn gan fod rhedeg yn rhyw norm newydd imi a dim byd gwell gen i na threfnu cwrdd â ffrind i redeg. Ac allan fydda i ryw deirgwaith yr wythnos yn loncian a chlebran, dwy droed o flaen y llall! Mae’n rhoi cyfle i mi fod yn fi fy hun – meddwl, ymlacio, cael hoe, rhannu sgwrs a theimlo’n llawer gwell o wneud. Mae’n bwysig o ran fy iechyd meddwl , fy iechyd corfforol a lles y teulu yn aml iawn – dwi fel arfer mewn hwyliau gwell o fod wedi bod allan yn rhedeg!

Mae’r profiad o fod yn rhan o gymuned o redwyr yn un gwych hefyd a chewch chi ddim gwell na chymuned o ferched Mae Hi’n rhedeg: Caerdydd. Criw o unigolion cefnogol, brwdfrydig sydd yno i’ch cymell chi o’r soffa i’r stryd. Does dim angen poeni am gyflymdra, am bellter, am wibio neu loncian, am gyfuno’r rhedeg â cherdded. Mae pawb yno i’ch cefnogi chi ar hyd y ffordd ac i’ch annog i gymryd amser i chi eich hun a dyna sydd wedi fy annog i fachu ar bob cyfle i fynd allan.

Mae’r gefnogaeth ar-lein yn ystod y cyfnod clo wedi bod yn wych – negeseuon cyson ar Facebook a Trydar yn cynnig cefnogaeth ac ysgogiad i wisgo’r treinyrs a mynd allan am awyr iach. Roedd cael bod yn rhan o’r ras gyfnewid ddiweddar fel aelod o tîm 4 She Runs …a relay yn brofiad a fydd yn aros yn y cof – criw o ferched nad oeddwn yn eu hadnabod yn cefnogi ei gilydd i redeg – nid er mwyn ennill na thorri record ond er mwyn codi ymwybyddiaeth o’r heriau sy’n wynebu rhai merched bregus yn ein cymdeithas. Mae’r syniad o fod yno i eraill yn rhan o’r ethos – cymuned o ferched sy’n cefnogi ei gilydd ym mhob agwedd ar fywyd.

Erbyn hyn dwi’n ffan mawr o marmite ac yn awchu am gwrdd â ffrindiau allan yn yr awyr agored i redeg strydoedd Caerdydd. Does dim teimlad gwell o godi ben bore, rhedeg o gwmpas parc y Mynydd Bychan neu lyn y Rhath a rhoi’r byd yn ei le gyda ffrind. Y gorau o ddau fyd a llawer mwy.

Rhowch eich treinyrs am eich traed ac ewch amdani – fe fyddwch chi yn sicr ar eich ennill mewn sawl ffordd.

Angharad Naylor, aelod Mae Hi’n Rhedeg: Caerdydd

Angharad Naylor