With the announcement that the Bath Half Marathon was being rescheduled, it left many runners rescheduling their training regime to fit in with the new date. One of those was Gayle Lui, who has decided to keep with the original date and run the Bath Half virtually!

This week we find out from her where her motivation to run on #TeamJessie comes from and all about her four-legged training partners…

Jessie May runner, Gayle Lui running with her spaniels at Cairnicross

What motivated you to run the (Virtual) Bath Half Marathon in 2022?

I’ve run on and off over the last 15 years ago but only really started calling myself a runner recently. I discovered the joys of ‘canicross running’ (running with my springer spaniels on harnesses) in 2019 and started going further and further out into the surrounding countryside. I was regularly running around 3-8 miles a run, and absolutely loving it.

Last summer I realised that the various lockdowns, and pressures from work had resulted in me putting on quite a bit of weight and that I needed to make some significant changes to my life to get healthier and happier. I needed a physical challenge which motivated me to get up and out even on the days I didn’t fancy it, and a half marathon seemed like the right choice.

Why did you choose to run for #TeamJessie?

I started working for Nine Feet Tall towards the end of 2021, my mentor Tiggy (Atkinson) is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at Jessie May (they are also our charity partner). As I learnt more about the charity I was inspired to do something to support them, and when I saw they had charity places for the Bath Half it all kind of clicked. Since starting fundraising I’ve had a few people reach out over Facebook, or on the school run, to tell me about their personal experiences with Jessie May which has really helped motivate me on the harder runs.

How is the training going?

Training was going really well, I’d managed one 10.5 mile run and it felt good. Then Covid unfortunately hit Team Lui at the end of January. I’m feeling much better, but very tired still. I’ve been able to get out for a couple of short runs since, which have felt ok, and I’m just going to take it easy and see how I get on. It’s now just over a week to go, and I’m feeling a bit nervous but I’m very determined. The joy of running with the dogs is their enthusiasm for every run, no matter the weather, distance or time of day. It’s truly infectious, so I’m hoping they will give me the motivation I need to get back to it.

Can you share a memorable training run?

I did a Canicross event in September, it was a 7m run over in Salisbury and the first official event I’d ever done with the dogs. The weather was horrendous, freezing cold and the rain was so heavy I had to hold my glasses to have a chance of seeing anything!

The experience, however, was amazing. The boys absolutely loved it, especially overtaking people / other dogs, and as a result we finished at a really good pace. The event was really friendly and supportive, they even give medals to the dogs! At the end of it the sense of achievement was amazing. It was completing this run that really made my mind up about taking on a half marathon.

What do you listen to during your training runs?

All sorts of rubbish according to my husband! Recent additions to my running playlist have been “Why so Serious” by Alice Merton, “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran and “Hold On” by Wilson Philips. The playlist has grown over the years as I add songs I like from the radio or hear on tv shows /adverts and now sits at 67 songs (4hours and 1 minute) long – which should hopefully be far more than I need on the big day!!!

Where can people follow your training journey?

I have a JustGiving page (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamlui) and try to post every 2 weeks on my LinkedIn profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/gaylelui/) so feel free to check out either.

For more updates, follow Jessie May on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.