Chippenham 10 Miles by Vicky Henderson

I raced the above on Sunday 13th March, my first race since March 2020 so I was apprehensive as I’d no idea where I was in terms of speed.  During lockdown I’ve barely done anything as we got a rescue dog and I’ve concentrated on helping him settle in – though I have to say I reckon the dog walks have helped keep my fitness in relative check.

I have been marathon training the last few weeks as I was talked into doing Blackpool marathon in April, so I’ve been trying to play catchup.  My training runs have been a disappointment to me personally, I’ve struggled with most of them and have simply not enjoyed the training this time.

Unsurprisingly, I was very apprehensive ahead of the race but lined up between the 75 and 80-minute pacers, thinking I should manage that.  Mile one was a little congested and uphill but probably served me well, stopped me going off too fast.  Miles 2 to 5 were a dream, having overtaken the ladies around me and it being flat and relatively wind-free.  By mile 6 I knew I was racing and by mile 7 it was starting to get a bit hard.  The 75-minute pacer ran ahead and as we started to climb, I wasn’t able to stick with him.  Not only were we climbing but there was a headwind to deal with (which seemed to stay with me for the rest of the race, as I continued to race alone).  The 75-minute pacer was nowhere to be seen by this point.  I was running on my own and starting to struggle and died when I had to go up and over a railway bridge.  At the end of mile 9 was a muddy section not suited to road shoes but with no one around me, I was able to slow a little and stay upright.  Thereafter, it was downhill through a housing estate to a trail path and then round to the finish.  I did hear footsteps behind me but when I glanced it was a male and I was very thankful, as I didn’t have anything left to “race” to the finish had it been a female (having said that, my last mile was 7.02).  Anyway, I have no idea what the pacer was doing as I finished in 1.13.31 (he came in around 1.12), 6th lady and 3rd V50 (impressively the first two ladies were V50).  It’s nowhere near a PB but given the circumstances, I was very happy.

Vicky Henderson-nee-Cooper