A group of seven friends raised £1,744 for Wales Air Ambulance after completing the Conwy Half Marathon in memory of a much-loved friend who had ‘a heart of gold’.
Gareth Bowen, who was known as ‘Kimo’ to his friends, tragically lost his life in August 2023.
Gareth, who was well loved in Broughton, Flintshire, was ‘always there to help others’ and has been described by friends and family as ‘a truly beautiful and great man’.
His friends Amy Boyd, Rachael Wintle, Paul Johnson, Sarah Davies, Simon Quick, Jo Robinson and Laura Thrift set themselves the challenge of taking on the half marathon in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance after the Charity supported the RNLI rescue team to help with the search of Gareth.
Amy said: “We decided to pick the Conwy Half Marathon as we knew this would be a great challenge for us, however this is something Gareth would have achieved with ease. Gareth completed many half marathons as well as full marathons – with little training.”
The team named themselves ‘crazy diamonds’, which was a favourite song of Gareth’s and also very fitting to him as a person – he was ‘a true diamond’.
Jo Robinson, who trained for three months described the challenge as ‘brutal but brilliant’ and she loved the entire experience on the day.
Rachael Wintle, said: “I felt there were lots of signs of support from Gareth along the way spurring us on, a song at the beginning of the race and a rainbow appearing at the end. I trained for 16 weeks, 3 times a week and found it gruelling and challenging but remembering why we were doing it to support a charity who helps to save lives got us through.”
Wales Air Ambulance is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and, if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and early recovery.
It is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles.
Amy added: “The weather on the day was definitely out to challenge us, but we felt Gareth was there to cheer us on and keep us motivated. It was a very emotional experience, and we are all extremely proud of our achievement.
“We would definitely like to complete another challenge in the future in memory of Gareth.”
Deb Sima, Community Fundraiser for Wales Air Ambulance said: “A huge congratulations to the crazy diamonds team, for taking on the huge challenge in memory of Gareth. The half marathon fell on the weekend of what would’ve been Gareth’s birthday, making it an ever more poigniant day. It was a lovely way to remember him. We are honoured that the team wanted to fundraise for our Charity in Gareth’s memory, whilst raising an amazing £1,744.
“Gareth sounded like a wonderful man who is clearly missed. Your support will help us continue to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most. Thank you to everyone involved in the fundraiser.”