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Rookie runner Rhiannon picks Run Cheltenham for her first ever half marathon

Twenty-six-year-old, Rhiannon Wardle, from Bishops Cleeve is preparing to take on this year’s Run Cheltenham half marathon in aid of Sue Ryder. As a novice runner, she is sharing her story in the hope that it will encourage others to take the plunge and sign up for one of the three distances.

Rhiannon, who works as a Procurement Manager for the NHS, doesn’t consider herself a runner, but was keen to go the extra mile in aid of Sue Ryder LeckhamptonCourt Hospice following the care her dad, who died from Leukaemia in August 2021 received at home in his final days, as well as the support they provided to her mum.

“My mum had been caring for dad for nearly two years so in the final month of his life, as well as them being there for dad, they were a great support to my mum as well. They were there every day. It was someone to talk to,”

Before now, the furthest Rhiannon has run is a 5k making this her biggest feat yet, but she isn’t fazed and is keen to push herself that little bit more.

“My dad didn’t want a funeral, so a couple of months later I signed up for a charity 5k. I thought if I did something to raise money for charity that could only be a good thing. During lockdown I also did couch to 5k, and I have done some sporadic running since, but that is pretty much it, I wouldn’t consider myself a runner at all,” said Rhiannon.

“In January this year, a time where you start setting new goals, I saw Sue Ryder advertising places for Run Cheltenham. I’d always wanted to push myself a little bit more, so I thought why not sign up and see how it goes,” she added.

Run Cheltenham, which takes place on Sunday 4th September, offers courses for runners of all ages and abilities. Participants can choose from one mile, 10k or a half marathon (13.1 miles). Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is the charity partner for Run Cheltenham and with £55,000 being raised last year, the local event is a huge fundraiser for the charity.

Rhiannon is hoping to push her fundraising total up to £500 – this generous amount could help to fund another 24 hours of expert care so that someone can spend their final days in familiar surroundings, with treasured memories and their family.

When asked what advice she would give to other people who are thinking about running a 10k or Half for the first time, she added: “The easiest way I found to get out running is to have a plan and a target. I am following the 12-week programme that the hospice’s fundraising team gave me when I signed up for Run Cheltenham. I have it printed off and stuck on my fridge and I tick the runs off as I go along – you can see yourself getting better and better. I find that really motivating.

“My training is going well and although I don’t feel ready quite yet, I still have a bit of time, and I am determined to get there in the end.

“I’m really looking forward to reaching the finish line. I’m also keen to experience the atmosphere of the run. I have always lived in Cheltenham so I wanted to do something in this area,” she said.

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If Rhiannon’s story has inspired you to lace up your trainers to take on your first ever running challenge this year’s Run Cheltenham why not sign up in support of Sue Ryder and enjoy all the running tips and all the motivational support you need from Team Sue Ryder’s coaches:

To sign up to Run Cheltenham visit

About Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice:

Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is the only palliative care inpatient unit in Gloucestershire and provides expert palliative care and support for people who are living with a life-limiting condition, as well as supporting their families.

Our 16-bed hospice is surrounded by beautiful, tranquil countryside which complements the specialist care and support we give to those with life-limiting conditions and their families.

In addition to our inpatient unit, our virtual day hospice service helps people living with long term conditions and our Hospice at Home service provides care for people in the local community who prefer to receive palliative care at home.

Our expert team includes doctors, nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and family support team. They all work seamlessly together to support people through the most difficult times of their lives.

Whether somebody is dealing with a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one, we’re there when it matters. Sue Ryder staff and volunteers provide people with the compassion and expert care they need, to help them live the best life they can.

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