Run a half marathon… easy. Think this is a magical guide that tells you how to train perfectly for your first half marathon? Think again.
Now, a good eight months back, I came to the decision that I wanted to do something to raise money for Taking Flight Theatre; they strive to make every single one of their performances accessible to D/deaf, blind, visually impaired, disabled and non-disabled people.
They have a project called You’ve Got Dragons that is aimed at young children and their families about a young girl’s journey with her mental health. This is something that is very close to my heart, so I just signed up to the half marathon hoping that I might be able to support in some way.
Now I’m not a runner, and I didn’t start off training in the best possible way… I went a couple of months avoiding even the thought of running and then one day, decided to try and attempt to do the whole 13.1 miles all in one go.
Early one April morning I woke up around six, walked to the train station, and got the train all the way to Newport. Now the magical thing about Newport train station is that it is exactly 13.1 miles away from where I wanted to be in Cardiff. The aim? Run back in time before breakfast stopped being served at Chapter Arts Centre. So there I was, Google maps and water in hand, running/ walking/ crawling my way back; all the while signing to myself about how wonderful the food would be upon arrival. I made it… just.
A few months of random experiments like this led me to discover something that has been kept secret from the world for over 5000 years. Coffee. I was later told that
it wasn’t the healthiest of options to fill a Tupperware jar with strong black coffee and lots of sugar and then run, run and run some more… But, for me, it really helped.
Forest Gump, how did he do it? Olympians were finishing this distance in under an hour; I was struggling to get under 3! Running is hard.
You’d think that an activity that used your legs wouldn’t have anything to do with your ears. There was many a time running that I was scared to run round corners as there were so many cars speeding around the bends; it was really quite scary.
I stayed running by the river after that. Two very close people in my life on separate occasions recommended listening to audio books and music whilst I run; something that a lot of hearing people do apparently, not so possible in my case…
I was slow. I’m not claiming to have won any Olympic medals – but I didn’t stop. Told myself incredibly cheesy things like how Taking Flight didn’t stop trying to make their work as accessible as possible, so why should I stop on this run?
It may be cheesy but it is true, and that’s what got me through. (In 2 hours 33 mins I must add). Along with the £587.50 of sponsors pledged on the run, the awesomeness of team Taking Flight waving me on the side-lines and well…the big cup of coffee I had just before the race began!
Unfortunately I now have that running bug, what’s next? A full Marathon…
Steph Back is a profoundly Deaf actress who also paints, and watches far too much suspect television (Fawlty Towers especially).
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out the benefits of live captioning at university!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- BSL Zone: TV programmes in BSL for the Deaf community
- Stellar Communications: Speech-to-Text services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Helen Foulkes Translations: BSL translations
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Hearing Choices: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children