Meet Harley Edwards, Swansea University PGCE student and member of Team Swansea.

We chat to Harley about his running journey.

Why did you want to run Swansea Half Marathon?

I quit smoking just under two years ago, and as I started to feel the benefits of the change on both my body and my mind, I wanted to push myself a little further. As a current PGCE student, time is limited – very! I considered aiming to complete a full marathon, but I had to manage the benefits that come with training and the build up to the half marathon with the potential impact it would have on me if I was not able to train adequately in preparation.

What does supporting Making Strides for Mental Health mean to you? 

Making Strides for Mental Health is a fantastic cause providing meaningful support to those who need it most. Of course, a series of buzzwords don’t mean very much, but it stands true. Having experienced challenges with my own mental health on occasion, and far more experience of what the extremes of faltering mental health can do to those dear to you than I would like, I have the utmost respect for organisations that exist to support those in their times of need. The little I can raise may not make a significant impact alone, but with over 100 runners linked to the charity this year, the collective impact can be massive.

Have you run competitively before? 

I ran Chester half marathon in 2014. I’ll never forget the weather (it was over 30 degrees that day). My great aunt and uncle were waiting at the finish line and asked how I found it. I told them, quite honestly, “I quit running”.

It took this long for me to change my mind.

Tell us about how you’ll be training in the run up to the race.

Admittedly, I would like to train more rigorously than I am at present. As a cyclist and a climber, there will never be enough time to train each discipline as I would like. Especially not while training to be a teacher – it’s a busy life.

I aim to complete at least one medium length run a week, with a shorter 5k if I am able. This is not always the case! In the run up to the race I am aiming to make the Llyn Llech Owain Parkrun on Saturdays to cover the 5k target.

I’ll do what I can! I’m hoping to hit around 1:55:00 on the day, but let’s see.

Tell us about anything special you’ll be doing to fundraise.

No bake sales from me this year sadly, I lose my nights to lesson planning. In all seriousness, I make the occasional video on social media platforms reminding people of what I’m up to, and this has driven some traffic. My goal is £250, which as I’m typing this I’m £16 away from. Hopefully I can raise a couple of quid on top by nagging peers…

If you would like to sponsor Harley, you can do so via his JustGiving page.