By Connor Cullen Kingsley. 

As a novice runner I set myself a challenge to do the Birmingham half marathon. After being severely ill over the last few years I finally received the all clear early 2016 but my fitness had completely gone so I was starting from scratch.

I started running in April and found it to be challenge and rewarding at the same time. I first noticed the Birmingham Swifts in May when they were running the Birmingham10k race, they truly inspired me. It took me a few months after that to build up the courage to run and join the group.

My first contact was with Tommy the chairman, he was very welcoming and understanding of my needs. I have found the group to be very friendly and have made some great friends that I now also socialise with away from running. One of the reasons for joining was I had just returned to Birmingham in July and didn’t know many people and find running with other people help with my motivation. Since joining the swifts in August my confidence in my ability is growing. The team as a whole is very encouraging even on the bad days when I know I’m rubbish.

With the encouragement of some swift members I entered the Bournville Leafy 10k, I was the last swift across the line but the encouragement at the finish line was both rewarding and satisfying they all cheered and waited for me.

The next challenge was the Birmingham half marathon. The weeks leading in to the half marathon I had not completed many individual runs with team members as my work schedule had been hectic. The team was very accommodating to my needs. The day of the race came around quickly, I woke up at 5am with the biggest fear and the rain wasn’t helping. We met the group at 9:30am and took group photos I was feeling positive and determined everyone here was the same as me and running for a purpose or reason. There were over 20,000 people running on the day. I had decided to run in memory of my Grandad and was raising money for Alzheimer’s UK. The sponsorship was a major trigger point for me as all those people had sponsored me so there was belief in my ability (raising over £1155 to date).

The start line was huge with 1000s of people, the race started and I kept my training speed. The swifts group started together and then we all split as people were faster etc. As I hit mile 9 through Cannon Hill Park and Edgbaston Cricket Ground my legs where getting extremely tired but the crowds were shouting my name which helped to push me along. By time I hit “The hill” I knew I was struggling, but the people around encouraged me and I saw the swifts banner and that spurred me on. I got to the finish line was extremely emotional as I had just completed the half marathon. It wasn’t the best time but it’s a starting point and next year I will be better because I am more determined than ever to get a better time lose weight and be a better runner. The motivation and family feel of the group will continue to make me work harder and enjoy running more because as a team anything is possible.

Swifts Ahoy


Birmingham Half Marathon 2016 Results.


Joshua Dowling – 01:34:57

Trey hall – 01:36:33

Paul Leonard – 01:38:19

Andrew Fergusson – 01:38:34

Tom Garlick – 01:38:48

Dean Haycock – 01:39:08

Jahedul Hussain – 01:40:06

Joshua Savage – 01:44:01

Tommy Hill – 01:44:11

Anton Turner – 01:53:13

Jay Martin-Lamb – 01:58:51

Wai-Ming Lee – 02:03:34

Peter Davis – 02:03:46

Steve Bedser – 02:06:12

Aaron Lloyd-McArthur -02:06:26  

Joe Green – 02:09:37

David Nash – 02:23:28

Christopher Bainbridge – 02:23:45

Andrew Thompson – 02:32:38

David Gillespie – 02:35:48

Chris Pratt – 02:35:06

Andy Hopkins – 02:41:05

Ujjayini Choudhury – 02:50:05


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