Cardiff Connect, Healthcare Sciences, Our Alumni

My Cardiff is…. 13.1 miles of city streets

Dr Anne Rebafka (MSc 2010, DAHP 2016) Cancer survivor and #TeamCardiff runner at the 2017 Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon.

“To be honest, my first impressions of Cardiff weren’t great. A grey, rainy, somewhat deprived city: not the most enticing place to go running.

That was in 2009. I was starting a Professional Doctorate in Advanced Healthcare Practice. Cardiff had been a natural choice. I’d taken my Master’s degree through a Cardiff University outreach programme, based in Bavaria. It was a great experience:  each student received so much attention.  And I liked how ‘normal’ it was to study nursing in the UK. In Germany, where there is no such thing as a Professional Doctorate, people would have been asking, “Nursing? How can you study that?”. Cardiff University’s doctoral programme provided the guidance and structure I needed to undertake this new area of research.

Being in Cardiff also helped me rediscover my love of running. At the age of 21 I’d been diagnosed with advanced cancer, and because of my illness I hadn’t done any exercise for more than ten years. For me, running is both relaxing and stimulating. I can’t remember a single occasion when I didn’t come home from a run with a new idea. Lots of my doctorate was done on foot; I would take my phone with me, dictating all the bright (or not so bright!) thoughts I had for later.

And as I explored Cardiff, I came to love its diversity. It’s such a wonderful mix of Victorian arcades, modern architecture and green, sprawling parks; of languages, cultures and food. I love the way it can look so different, depending on your location and the time of day.

Taking on the half marathon as part of #TeamCardiff 2017 was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. It’s a brilliant combination of so many things that matter to me. As a survivor of cancer, I’ll always be grateful for the research which enabled me to receive treatment and survive.  As a researcher, I know how hard it can be to secure funding, so I’m proud to help. As a Cardiff alumna, I always look forward to meeting people in the School of Healthcare Sciences (and hopefully doing some work).

Running the Cardiff Half was a brilliant experience! We had perfect weather, clubbed with amazing spectators, and of course a fast and furious course – I even achieved a personal best of 1:53.12! I didn’t expect that. Not. At. All.”

To learn more about #TeamCardiff and the 2018 Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon, visit our website.