10 Minutes with Bath Half Charity Director Kayley Waller

By Anita Jaynes on 11 July, 2018

Kayley is the Bath Half Marathon’s newest recruit joining the team in December 2017. Kayley was a friend of the Bath Half for a number of years before her appointment through her work with Macmillan Cancer Support and CLIC Sargent.

We met Kayley to find out more about the opportunities the Bath Half offers charities.


The Bath Half is the South West’s largest one-day charity event and a lifeline to many causes. What do you think makes the event so special?

We have around 130 charities on board which is a high number compared to similar events. We see the charities as partners, rather than just a third party buying into the event and work with them to get the most out of the race to raise awareness for them as well as vital funds.

How are you looking to make a difference to the 2019 race?

The previous charity director Mel left a real legacy having built the charity platform 20 years ago, when Running High Events took over the organisation of the Bath Half. My plan is to build on her tremendous work. There’s already a real buzz about the 2019 race on social media and it’s great to see.

We love the fact that people choose to run the Bath Half year in year out, but we are hoping to inspire more first time half runners to come and run the 2019 Bath Half than ever before. We are geared up to support them with training plans, fitness partners and with many of our local charities are offering free coaching sessions. We have more support for runners than we have ever had previously.

The 2019 charity partners have recently been announced. How do you decide who to support each year?

We look at various criteria including their past history with the Bath Half Marathon and how they’ve done, as well as current appeals we can align ourselves with. 

This year British Heart Foundation is the lead national charity. This link came from a close connection with Mel, our previous race director. Her father suffered with heart problems and therefore had an allegiance with the cause.

Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) is our chosen local charity. They were selected as we felt it was their time to shine. CHSW are really creative with the support they offer their runners and the way they cheer runners on during the route is brilliant. They go the extra mile to support their runners which is what we really like to see.

The Bath Half had to make a tough decision this year to cancel the race due to heavy snow and impacted ice. Despite its cancellation, we reported the race had still raised £1.2 million at the end of March. Have you now got a final figure? 

The figure has reached £1.4 million, which is amazing. The good will among the charity runners was incredible. Many of the runners went on to run the 13 miles in their own way.

Our goal was to refund all charity partners as we believe it was the morally correct thing to do to put them in the best financial position. Other big events were cancelled that weekend across the country and many didn’t do the same as us. We felt that issuing the refunds was the least we could do for all the hard work that is poured into race day.

We also had just under 300 runner who donated their refunds back to us. This made an additional £12,000 for the Bath Half grants programme which will directly benefit the local community.

The 2017 Bath Half made a record £2.25 million for charity, are you looking to beat this in 2019?

Definitely! It was an incredible result for us, but we’re always looking to increase our figures year on year. We have a plan in place and we can’t wait to make that happen now.

On average the Bath Half Marathon attracts 16,500 runners. What percentage of these run for charity?

Roughly 30% of the field which is a high number, our goal over the next two years is to increase this to 50%.

How does that percentage compare with other running events?

It’s super high! It puts us up there with massive events such as the Great North Run and Royal Parks Half Marathon.

Many runners take on the challenge for themselves to reach their personal best, but why not try and raise something for a good cause at the same time?

What would be your top five tips for fundraisers taking part in the Bath Half?

1)  Start early- The earlier you can start the better. Within the Bath Half entry form online, you can set up a Just Giving page as soon as you’ve signed up.

2)  Set a clear target- We partner with Just Giving and the average page value per person is £523, which is really high for our type of event. Those who do this raise 46% more on average. On top of that include training and photo updates. Those with a blog raise 14% more. It’s a great way of engaging with potential donors and getting them to know your cause.

3)  Be loud and proud- Share your challenge on social media. Don’t be afraid, people want to hear about the good things you are doing.

4)  Keep in touch with your chosen charity- They have a whole wealth of resources available to you to help you and your fundraising challenge.

5)  Have fun!

The Bath Half Marathon 2019 takes place on Sunday March 17. If you would like to run in support of Children’s Hospice South West visit: www.chws.org.uk/event/bath-half-marathon-2019 to sign up and for more about British Heart Foundation’s involvement in the race go to: www.bhf.org.uk/bathhalf

General entries to the event are now open and registration can be completed online at www.bathhalf.co.uk

Pictured above: Bath Half Marathon Charity Director Kayley Waller (centre) with the Children’s Hospice South West team.