There are at least 15,000 reasons for running the Vitality Bath Half Marathon on Sunday 12th March – one for every single competitor who will line up in the city renowned for its Roman spa baths and Georgian architecture. The uber-elite may chase course records and valuable prizes; club athletes will push on for personal bests but many others will have a moving, personal story behind their participation.
Abby Kean (pictured) is a 36-year-old teacher from King Edward's School, Bath, who will tackle the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon for Cancer Research UK. Abby will be running in place of her husband, Jon, who was diagnosed with lymphoma earlier this year. For Abby, a self-confessed non-runner, completing the 13.1-mile course will be a challenge in itself as she explains:
"The most I have ever run in one go is 5k at my local parkrun, pushing my 9-month-old in his buggy but it's important to me to run the race to support my husband, to raise money for such an important cause and also raise awareness of lymphoma, which can often present no symptoms at all".
Fortunately, in Jon’s case, they caught the lymphoma early. Jon is currently undergoing chemotherapy, bravely fighting the disease and has even starting running again.
Also competing are father and daughter, Peter and Madeleine Patston, who are running to raise money for Parkinson’s UK after Peter was diagnosed with the disease in 2015. Despite the condition having an enormous impact on his health, Peter remains determined to carry on as normal.
Peter and Madeleine’s story is even more exceptional as Madeleine will be flying home from Germany to run with her dad and has only recently resumed running after the birth of her daughter. Madeleine has promised to run with Peter at his pace and their target time is a respectable three hours.
The Vitality Bath Half Marathon has sold out all general public places every year since 2000 so prospective entrants should visit the race website now to check availability.
Image courtesy Breathe Unity Public Relations