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Sat 20 Apr 2024

Runner Stories: Tina Gabb

It’s not the first time that Tina Gabb from Swansea will run the TCS London Marathon, but 2024 is a very special year for her. After running it two years ago, she vowed she would try it again when she turned 50, that was in March this year. 

“It was such a phenomenal experience and I want that again,” said Tina.

“The crowd support in London was intense. As you get nearer the end, and you get to some of the key landmarks, you are hit by a wall of sound.”

This year she’ll be running the TCS London Marathon with 11 other members of Gary Howells’ running club, Peak Performance Wales, to raise funds for Tenovus Cancer Care. It’s a charity very close to her heart.

There’s been a lot of cancer in my family. My mother-in-law passed away in 2003 from bowel cancer. My auntie had breast cancer and last year my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. She’s currently being supported by Tenovus Cancer Care.”

Tina works in finance but has always led a very physical life in her free time. She’s a swimmer and has run for years, but she’d never really thought of herself as a runner.

In 2018, she injured her ankle, and she was referred by her physiotherapist to Gary Howells. That’s when her running life really began to take off.

“It’s the best thing I ever did for my running. It’s structured, and you’re running with like-minded people, so they pull you along. I’ve achieved things that I never thought were possible.”

Tina had always wanted to run the TCS London Marathon and for 5 years she applied by ballot. At last, in 2020, she was accepted, just as the pandemic hit. Her entry got carried over to 2021, and she finally took part for the first time in October 2022.

Tina is fortunate to live on the Gower Peninsula, near Swansea. She’s able to run along some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the UK and has been out training most days. Recently, however, she’s been laid low by a virus.

“I’m not hitting the times that I was before, but London is about running it as a group. Many of us who are doing the marathon have been running together since 2018, when Gary set up his club. It’s brought us closer together.”

The group have been working hard to achieve their joint fundraising target of £24,000, now bypassed.

Tina’s already smashed her personal target of £2,000, and up to £2,500.

“There’s so many of us who have been hit by cancer, and it’s important to us that Tenovus Cancer Care has its roots in Wales.

Even though there’s 40,000 runners in the TCS London Marathon and tens of thousands of supporters, you still see the people in the crowd that you know.

It’s very emotional, and it’s going to be such an experience for my 50th year.”

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010