Heartache behind Kirkcaldy mum’s marathon quest

Cat Payne with her daughter Wren. Cat is running her first half marathon - the Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon next month.
Cat Payne with her daughter Wren. Cat is running her first half marathon - the Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon next month.

A Kirkcaldy mum of three has made it through a lot of heartache and incredible stress to take part in the town’s first long distance race in 30 years next month.

Cat Payne (40) said running has helped her to cope with her youngest daughter’s two surgeries.

Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon revised route map

Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon revised route map

The Fife Council environmental strategy officer has signed up for her first half marathon – the Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon on Sunday, August 25.

Before opting for this event, which has completely sold out, Cat had only taken part in a Couch to 5k programme before running the recent 10k in Glenrothes.

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Cat, who is a member of Kirkcaldy Wizards – a Fife Athletic Club adults’ running group open to all levels – said: “I used to run around 10 years ago and decided to start again in January/February. I saw a post on the Kirkcaldy Wizards Facebook page which said they were offering a free Couch to 5k programme with training from the coaches from Kirkcaldy Wizards.

“I missed my running and my kids were at an age where I could manage to get away for a couple of evenings a week.”

Cat managed to run 5k so she then set her sights on the 10k in Glenrothes, explaining: “A group of us did it – we called ourselves the Baby Wizards. After that I was hooked.”

But it wasn’t just the fitness aspect of running that Cat enjoyed, she also found it helped her cope at a difficult time.

“My daughter Wren was born in March 2018 but we found out at the 12-week scan that something wasn’t right,” she explained.

“She had a condition called Pentalogy of Cantrell which is basically a five-part heart defect. Her heart was in the wrong place and it also had a hole in it. She also had an overriding aorta, diaphragm hernia and she had an abdominal defect meaning her bowel was on the outside on her body.

“She had the heart surgery in July last year at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, which took around six or seven hours to perform. She’s so tough. Despite the fact they had to break her ribs to reach her heart she was home on day six and just on Calpol.

“She had her second surgery in March this year to correct the hernia and bowel and this time it was just a two-hour surgery.”

Cat continued: “We have had so much stress for months but running was a way to take my mind off it all. The Wizards have been a fantastic support group for me, and I’ve made some really good friends.”

She tries to make the Kirkcaldy parkrun in Beverage Park on a Saturday and one of the twice-weekly Wizards training sessions.

She added: “A lot of the last year has been about medical appointments so the half marathon is about doing something to celebrate life getting back to normal.”