23 April 2014

Running to end FGM

Guest blog by Kat Brealey.

It was the beginning of January when my husband Ben came home from work saying that a colleague had asked him to run the Bristol 10k. I encouraged him to take up the offer - and then the next day wondered if maybe I should be encouraging myself to do it too!

During the previous spring we had both done a ‘Couch to 5k’ programme which had taken us from being completely new to running, to being able to run 5k fairly comfortably. However once we reached the end of the programme, and entered the summer heatwave, predictably our new found hobby didn’t last. Once the autumn came around, I laced up my trainers once more and gave running a second chance, entering a 5k race in the November in order to give me a goal. It felt good to have a reason to get outdoors during a season which usually calls for slippers and hot chocolate, as the nights draw in. After the race I took an obligatory couple of months off over the Christmas period, but by the beginning of 2014 I was ready to get out there again and so the suggestion of running the 10k came at just the right time. It was a longer distance that I’d run before, but there was still four months to go giving us plenty of time to get in training. Ben was keen to challenge himself too. So, slightly nervously, we logged on to the Bristol 10k website ready to register.

There was one condition though. During our previous experiments with exercise, Ben had endured my endless complaints before each run as I desperately tried to think of a reason why I couldn’t possibly go out today. I became the queen of excuses, rescheduling each run until it could be put off no longer - and then even once I set off, continually assessing whether I could justify turning round and heading home early. I didn’t really have time to run the full distance before dinner, did I? Did I feel a spot of rain? Was that a twinge in my knee? Patient thought Ben is, the thought of this whinging going on for four months was more than he could take. He gently suggested that before we sign up, I consider whether this was something I really wanted to do - and if it was, to resolve to do it without complaint.

And that’s where 28 Too Many came into the picture. It occurred to me that one way to stem my moaning was to make this race about something more than myself. Having been impressed by the work of 28 Too Many in the past, running the Bristol 10k in their name seemed like a great opportunity to raise much-needed funds, as well as awareness of FGM. It’s an issue that’s particularly relevant to us in Bristol, the city which is home to young campaigners like Fahma Mohamed, whose petition calling on Michael Gove to put FGM on the agenda of every headteacher in the country gained nearly 250,000 signatures. Knowing that I’m standing alongside inspirational young women like Fahma has spurred me on to resist the call of the sofa, and stick to my training plan without complaint. I truly believe that I will see an end to FGM in my lifetime, and I’m honoured that on the 11 May our race will be a tiny part of that effort.


With just a few weeks left to go until race day, Ben and I would be grateful for any support you can offer via our fundraising page - http://www.justgiving.com/katandbenrun10k