What were you doing at 9am on Sunday 5th March 2023? Having a lie-in perhaps? Starting work? Or maybe out walking the dog?

Bethan wasn’t. Instead, she was about to pass notable Welsh landmarks such as the ruins of Newport Castle, the Newport Transporter Bridge, a 40ft high wave sculpture and even Bryn the Dragon (keeping watch over the Brynglas Tunnels!). However, she knew she wouldn’t have time to stop and explore these iconic sights as Bethan, along with 1571 others on this grey morning, was waiting…waiting for the 10th Newport Half Marathon to get underway.

Ahead of Bethan, and her fellow runners, was the event’s 13.1-mile circular route which would first take them through the heart of the city of Newport and then out to the town of Caerleon, before steering all participants alongside the River Usk and finally back into the city centre.

An experienced 10k runner who lives nearby, Bethan saw the Newport Half as another opportunity to push herself as she has always enjoyed running and taking on new challenges. She also chose to use the event as a way to say a personal thank you to the team at Cotswold House Eating Disorder Unit, Savernake Hospital in Marlborough. 

Bethan explains:

“…it was a privilege to run for Cotswold House as the support there saved me, helped me get my life back & do things like a half marathon again. 🙂”

Bethan trained casually for around 6 months but admits that there were a number of occasions during the race when she wanted to give up. Nevertheless, she kept going – spurred on by the support of other runners as well as the cheers from the crowds lining the route – and she crossed the finish line in under 2 ½ hours. Commenting after the event, Bethan said:

“The half marathon was brilliant as I did it with a few friends and great to do it for Cotswold House. I felt extremely relieved when I crossed the finish line but extremely proud of myself. It was a fantastic event to be a part of…”

Completing the Newport Half was not just a huge personal achievement for Bethan, but also a great fundraising success – she smashed her initial target of £300, raising over £460 for Cotswold House! On being told of Bethan’s amazing accomplishment, Vicky Bradley, Acting Modern Matron at the unit, commented:

“We would like to say a huge thank you to Bethan for undertaking this great feat in aid of Cotswold House, Marlborough – well done. We are so glad that you are out there, living life and enjoying yourself.”

The Cotswold House team have since confirmed that they will be spending most of the funds on a swinging double egg chair for the courtyard garden. The seat will not only provide a comfortable place where patients can sit, relax and socialise, but the gentle swaying motion can also have a helpful, calming effect which may be particularly beneficial to patients with autism.

The small amount of funds left over will be put towards some light refreshments during the forthcoming Cotswold House team wellbeing day. When told of the team’s spending plans, Bethan remarked:

“That is a fantastic idea of a swinging chair. I love how they are spending the money and it will definitely provide such a relaxing atmosphere for all. I love the fact some of the money is going to a staff wellbeing day - the staff there thoroughly deserve this day and I hope it goes well.”

Bethan returned to Cotswold House recently to discuss her recovery with current patients, where her talk was well received and very much appreciated by both patients and staff. All those who attended found it highly motivating to hear about the changes Bethan has made since leaving the unit and how much she is now enjoying life – working, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

Oxford Health Charity would like to join Cotswold House in saying a huge thank you to Bethan for her time, effort and support and wish her well in all her future endeavours.