Running has changed my life

Before... Breda Bradley (on left) with a friend in February 2012.
Before... Breda Bradley (on left) with a friend in February 2012.

A New Year’s resolution to lose weight has left one Waterside Half Marathon participant with a new goal and a competitive race time in mind as she prepares for her second outing on the Gransha course.

As running fever increases - with the city gearing up for the annual race which offers a 13.1 mile challenge, Three Person relay, Ten Mile Walk and 2K Fun Run - Buncrana mother of-two, Breda Bradley, says running and participating in local competitive races has changed her life.

“My training began in January 2012 with the aim to lose weight,” says Breda, whose children are Jack (8) and Ava (2). “I began by walking and, by March of that year, had lost one stone. I then incorporated a one minute run into my exercise for every two minutes of walking, surprising myself at how much I enjoyed it. It was nothing compared to the feeling of exhilaration that came over me when I completed my first 5K run in April, an unreal mixed sense of achievement, pride and adrenaline.”

Hooked on running from that moment, Breda says the support of her father in-law, Michael Bradley, a marathon runner himself, was fundamental in her crossing the finishing line at the Walled City Marathon in June 2013, five and half stone lighter than the previous January and just minutes behind him.

“He is my inspiration and motivation, not only as an anchor of support but also when it comes to increasing my speed and realising my goals,” she says. “Running has made me happier and healthy than I have ever been - not to mention unleashing a competitive streak that I didn’t know I had!

“My focus is now on the Waterside Half Marathon again this year with a view to finishing in a competitive time of one hour 54 minutes, a goal that would not even been on my radar prior to that 2012 New Year’s resolution; this will be almost 25 minutes off my time last year and incredible if I reach it.

“The Half Marathon course is a flat, beautiful course and last year the aim was to reach the finish line. Setting myself goals that are personal to me are the key to my accomplishment. This is a course that can be tackled by beginner, amateur or professional and I am proof of that.

“There will be no time for rest afterwards as Mickey and I are off to Manchester to complete the Great North Run the week following the Waterside Half Marathon - this is now my new life as a runner!”

Mayor Martin Reilly says it is the success of individuals such as Breda that inspires others.

“The Waterside Half Marathon has participants from all running level and training intensities,” he says . “I would encourage those who are thinking about it to give it a go; registration and training schedules are online now.”

The Waterside Half Marathon, which is organised by Derry City Council, is now in its 32nd year and it is expected that more than 2,000 people will turn out on September 8 for both it and its associated events.

The Half Marathon kicks off at 10.30am at Gransha grounds and a full programme of family focused activities are planned from 10am until 1pm. Race events include the 13.1 mile Half Marathon, Three Person Team relay, Ten Mile Walk Challenge and 2K Family Fun Run. Participants in the Ten Mile walk will start at 10 am.

To register for this year’s event and for further information, go to