Cath Giles is running the Vitality London Half Marathon in aid of Women in Sport. In this first blog from Cath she explains her motivation for competing in the half marathon and why she is fundraising for Women in Sport.
I have only recently found exercise again and have been overwhelmed by the effect it has had on me mentally. I, like many other women, have at times battled with having a healthy body image. For me, doing any form of exercise is a massive achievement. As a teenager, I used to put huge amounts of pressure on myself to exercise and diet excessively; it wasn’t surprising that it made me miserable and in turn put me off exercising as a young adult. Today, my main mantra is to exercise when I can, not for aesthetic reasons but because it makes me feel good. I’ve started referring to my runs as my ‘therapy sessions’, as it clears my head and in effect has made me feel more: stronger, confident and content with me. I found that by being more relaxed and realistic with my exercise, I could push myself without feeling under pressure.
I have decided to enter the Vitality London half- marathon, because for me it would be an amazing achievement.
The idea of doing something I had never thought I would be able to do is inspiring; I truly believe that it is through exercising giving me more confidence, that I am able to enter in more competitions.
Another reason for choosing the Vitality half- marathon is for the exciting fact that the finish line will be underneath the Wembley arch.
From forming a more-wider interest in the subject, I came across overwhelming evidence that only exemplifies the dearth of opportunity for women in most areas of society. For instance: Only 23% of women make up the population of the House of Lords, 29% of the MP’s in Parliament are women, whilst British sports organisations have only just reached the average of 30% of women on their boards.
I believe that one of the main problems is that women are neglected and grossly misrepresented within the media. Research from Women in Sport, Prime -Time, Big-Deal and Say Yes to Success under their former name Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, enhances this point ‘only 5% of media coverage of sport in the UK was devoted to women’.
I have found entering in 10K competitions has helped with my training. It pushes me to keep focused and having an end goal can also help. If I am going to attempt to run for longer I will take my time getting ready before hand and will tell myself to slow down and go at a steady pace. For me, it will be my thoughts that will stop me from running for longer, rather than my fitness and what works for me is to be easier on myself.
With Auntie Mo
With regards to fundraising, it has started off slowly, however I hope that with the New Year the momentum will build. I will aim to do this by raising awareness of Women in Sport through contacting family and friends directly and hopefully reaching acquaintances through social media.
The best thing that I have taken from running is that your future is indeterminate, so it’s best to exercise for the moment because it makes you feel good, and in effect the rest will follow.
To quote the inspirational Jessica Ennis-Hill:
‘Strength does not come from winning. Your struggle develops your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength’.
Wish me luck.
You can support Cath by donating here
For more information about how you could support Women in Sport go to our Fundraise for us page.