- To enter the Great Bristol Half Marathon, visit here
FOR some runners, just the one half marathon is enough to contend with. But for one intrepid runner, one is only the beginning.
Alex Miarli, from Cardiff, has taken on the challenge of 12 half-marathons in 12 months – and the Great Bristol Half Marathon on September 25 is part of a gruelling month of four 13.1-mile runs consecutively.
So, why take on such a challenge?
“I wanted to do something for charity this year,” explained Alex, 22. “I'm not a long-distance runner whatsoever, I've been recovering from a serious injury for the last five years, my back and my legs – but I've been able to get back into sport and I thought I'd do something challenging.
“I thought I'd do a marathon or a half marathon, but not stop at one. I thought I should raise the bar a bit and do that.”
Just staying fit is the challenge for Alex – who works in television, having been a crew member on Doctor Who and A Midsummer Night's Dream – admitting that he is often prone to injury.
“The next couple of weeks will be interesting as I'm recovering from injury so I'll have to see what happens,” said Alex, who will be taking part in half-marathons in Cornwall, Aylesbury and Cardiff around the Bristol event.
“There is a constant amount of training to do. You can't drop off because you'll lose the fitness.
“Some are bunched together but there has been a bit of a gap between events where I have had to keep up the running to maintain the fitness. There's the sense of accomplishment when you complete one, it does make a huge difference, but it's about maintaining the fitness and also resting as well so that I'm both physically and mentally fit.
“Originally I planned to do one a month but it didn't exactly work out that way – I couldn't find any near me in the first two months, so I started it in March. I've got four in four weeks in September and into October so there's lots to do.
Alex's challenge will raise money for MIND, the mental health charity, having experienced spells of depression himself. He wants to end the stigma that surrounds mental health among young people.
He said: “I suffer from depression, and because there's such a huge stigma around it, I wanted to raise awareness and try to help others who suffer worse than I do.
“When I run it works like a form of escape, to be honest, which is quite handy. It's hard in my day-to-day life because I work in television. It has become part of my personality so I'm quite used to it.
“Outside of work I can switch off a little and be who I am. It can get really challenging. The running events will be tough anyway, I will have to train for each one individually and it's really hard to maintain that over 12 months. It can get difficult. Like anyone, there's good days and bad days.”
The Great Bristol Half Marathon will mark the first time Alex has visited the city, and has chosen the event as it will be an opportunity to catch up with friends.
“I've chosen some ones that are near to friends and family so I can visit them in between, and also some ones that are in a nice area,” said Alex.
“Some of them have been horrendous though. There have been horrible courses but great weather and vice versa. It varies. Bristol falls between quite a few in a row.
“I'm looking forward to it because I'm seeing a friend who has recently moved to Bristol. I've never been there before. I'm going to aim for a good time there, but there's others where I'll relax and take it easy. I'm quite injury prone anyway so I don't really want to overdo it.”
And while Alex has taken part in most of the events by himself, he is proud of the fact his enthusiasm has rubbed off on some of his friends who had never previously ran.
He added: “I've managed to rope a few people in to run, which is great. What's made this whole thing quite enjoyable is that I've inspired quite a few of my friends to take up running.
“A few of them have signed up to 5ks or 10ks from never having ran before. It's quite inspiring for that to happen. There's a knock-on effect.
“I love running, I was never a long-distance runner but at least there have been some perks to it.”
- To donate to Alex's fundraising efforts, visit here
THE GREAT BRISTOL HALF MARATHON
The course starts and finishes in Bristol's historic Harbourside. The scenic, sea-level route takes runners past the Harbourside, out and back along the Portway, through the stunning Avon Gorge, and twice under Brunel's famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, along Cumberland Road then around the old city before returning to Anchor Road.
For more information, visit greatrun.org/great-bristol-half-marathon