By Nikki Woodland

Let’s be honest I am not a natural runner but as with lots of things in my life what I lack in technique I make up for in enthusiasm!!

This time last year I was only just getting back on my feet and managing to complete a steady Parkrun, for me this was an achievement in itself. So when my parkrun buddie and work colleague Viv messaged asking if I fancied doing a marathon the gauntlet was down.

I have struggled with many elements of running and have on several occasions accused poor Shane of trying to kill me off! So with a 10 month training plan pinned to the fridge door our training started in the new year with the Tewksbury half our halfway target.

We had trained well and managed to get to race day intact in mind and body, it’s amazing what two women find to talk about each week – yes Phil I know less talking more running! I got up at 6.15 – Holly really wouldn’t let me lie down any longer. I had my 2 Weetabix and a banana with a cup of tea and wondered where Rachel Flinders puts all her pre-race food!!

The weather seemed perfect – blue skies and a little breeze and the race registration was well organised and the car parking easy. I waited nervously on the start line and looked around me at all the runners and before I knew it we were off and what a sight to see a sea of brightly coloured shirts streaming down the road ahead of us.

Now let me tell you the Tewksbury half is not flat no matter what they tell you in the blurb! Whilst the weather was good it was a bit hotter than I would have liked and the course had little shade to provide some respite but the drinks stations were just where I needed them and there was loads of encouragement along the course.

We tried really hard to stick to our pacing but in the early parts found ourselves going quicker than I would have liked but we fortunately evened this out over the race. But mile 8/9 I was ready to give up but with Viv just in front I just dug deep and kept going with Pringles the only thing going through my mind! That week’s training session is going to be remembered for along time.

We got to 10.8 miles and just had the Res to go but let me tell you that felt the longest 2.3 miles I have ever run. I was super chuffed that as we came up the high street we passed the fire fighters and before I knew it I could see Lee, Andy, Jo and Viv’s husband James and a few paces further on there were Chris and Michelle’s friendly faces.

We had done it and with an official time of 3 hours 6 mins and 08 secs we had achieved our goal and we were a bit quicker than we expected but this was never about the time, it has always been about celebrating life and showing that there is life after cancer.

None of this would have been achievable without all the support and encouragement I have had over the past year from everyone at CRC – so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The Abbey tea shop was a welcome pit stop as we walked back to the car – where we experienced the restorative properties of tea and cake. So feeling super proud and very thankful that I have been able to do this I am looking forward to couple of easy weeks before we start on our Marathon training.

Watch out Yorkshire here we come – hopefully!

Niki - Tewkesbury 2019
Niki – Tewkesbury 2019
Categories: Race Report

Joanna Rich

Race reporter and full time muppet fan

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