Published: 12 October 2023

A dad-of two took part in the Cardiff Half Marathon as a thank you to the Charity that helped save his life following a mountain bike accident. 

Jonathan Bainbridge joined thousands of runners in the capital on Sunday 1 October to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance, the Charity that came to his aid after he came off his bike at high speed and landed on a rock.

Jonathan, 44, was airlifted to hospital and not only lost his teeth but suffered facial injuries, a fractured jaw and was also hypothermic. He also required further surgery weeks after being discharged from hospital due to an open fracture in his mouth and he needed months of physiotherapy and acupuncture on his jaw. He also needed extensive dental treatment before he was back to full health.

The Senior Human Factors Consultant, who works on the design of new medical devices, said he has never forgotten the exceptional care he received by the Wales Air Ambulance and has been a supporter of the Charity since his accident in 2008.  

This year, he challenged himself to run the Cardiff Half Marathon in aid of the Charity and managed to cross the finishing line in 2 hours and four minutes despite never running a half marathon. 

Jonathan, who lives in Fairfield near Letchworth Garden City, Bedfordshire, said: “Until I started training, I've never really run, other than trying to complete the NHS couch to 5k program multiple times.

“Fitting in training around family life, childcare and working abroad for nearly three weeks before the race, was challenging at times. I tended to do most of my short runs early in the mornings before the kids woke or late at night once they were in bed. 

“While in the USA, I ran in the middle of the night or very early in the morning, as I was often awake early with jetlag.  But at least I saw sunrise which is always special.

“The furthest I had run in training was 11 miles, but that was two weeks before the event while on business in Dallas, Texas, and I ended up hurting my knee as I was running on concrete all that time”.

Jonathan said the race atmosphere in Cardiff was fantastic and his wife Charlotte and children Lucy, aged seven, and Tom, aged five, were there to cheer him on.

He said: “It took a while for my children to comprehend that daddy wasn't in the race to win it, far from it! It's a cliche, but it's the taking part and personal satisfaction that matters to me, which is an important life lesson for them to learn as well.

“I was a little apprehensive on the start line as I had some impressive levels of jetlag, which also made me nervous about my energy levels.  Once underway, the nerves were soon forgotten as the crowds and my goal spurred me on. The atmosphere was great and the whole event was much bigger than I expected.

“I managed to high-five my children soon after passing the start line, but the crowds were so big that I missed them at mile 13. They were very excited to see me finish.  It was also great to see so many children out supporting the runners too, shouting the names of runners and high-fiving them and handing out Haribo sweets!

“I liked the route and having never really visited Cardiff before, it was a great way to see some of the sights. I primarily chose to run the half marathon in Cardiff as I could support the Wales Air Ambulance, but it also helps that the course is predominantly flat, although even the slightest incline felt like a mountain after nine miles or so.” 

Jonathan has raised £1,400 for the Wales Air Ambulance so far and has now signed up to a full marathon.

He said: “I want to say thank you to everyone who has donated especially as financially, times are harder than ever for many people. I'm even more grateful so many people managed to dig deep to support the charity which is so close to my heart.

“I owe so much to the Wales Air Ambulance. I don't see this as a one off fundraising event for me, I plan like to continue to support WAA where I can. It's due to the talent and extraordinary care of the medics, the wonderful NHS, the kindness of strangers and my friends and family, that I was able to recover and continue to enjoy my life today.”

To support Jonathan please visit his Just Giving fundraising page here