Taking on the Winchester half marathon challenge

19 Jul 2018
Photo of muddytrainers

On 23 September, over 2000 keen runners will take on the Winchester half marathon, tackling a beautiful course of just over 13 miles which starts and ends in the centre of our historic city.

Ten students and members of staff at the University of Winchester - one of the official race partners - have been given complimentary passes to the race. In this blog post, some of the runners share their reasons for taking part and tell us how their training is going.

Stephen Cook, Helpdesk Technician

Stephen Cook posing in field with arms raised

For the past few years I have been working with several photography agencies to photograph a range of running events across the UK - and now I feel it's time to step in front of the camera.

This will be my first official run and I am hoping to run all of it - if not, at least half. I am signed up at the University Gym to train at least twice a week, but it is tricky when fitting in IT work, life and freelance photography work at evenings and weekends.

My previous experience of running has been participating in the Winchester Park Run, along with weekend running cross country in Winchester. Looking ahead, I have got myself some comfy running shoes, I'm set up with my running playlist and I'm ready to prove that I can conquer the hills of Winchester.

Joe Lloyd, BA (Hons) Business Management and Leadership

I have always been relatively active throughout my life through sports, but never just through running. A half marathon is something I have always wanted to tick off my list, so I decided to sign up to the Winchester half marathon as well as two others this summer!

This is all in an attempt to raise some money for a volunteering trip to Kenya where I will be helping out in local schools and orphanages. All the money raised will be donated whilst I am out there and even a few pounds will go a long way. My fundraising page is here

Training is going relatively smoothly so far and I'm slowly building up the miles week-by-week to put myself in the best position come race day.

Rachel Hanley, Executive Assistant to AVC Colette Fletcher and DVC Neil Marriott

Four women in pink tutu's running Winchester Half Marathon

I took up running a few years ago, when I was talked into doing Pretty Muddy - the muddier race for life! I became hooked on the buzz of crossing the finish line and have run various races since, including Tough Mudder and the Goodwood 10k, with Pretty Muddy being our annual 'fun run'.

The furthest I have run competitively is 10k, so this will be my first half marathon and the next stepping-stone for me. Though I'm slightly terrified... I have a very supportive group of people around me who have also signed up, which definitely helps when it comes to finding the motivation to train.

I currently run a few evenings a week and have definitely seen my fitness build up over the years - nothing beats the feeling of a new PB! Luckily, I live in a hillier area of Southampton, which will help when it comes to tackling those notorious Winchester hills.

I'm excited for the challenge and am looking forward to race day!

Rachel is far left in the photo above.

Sally Ley, MSc Forensic Psychology

This will be my tenth half marathon but my first one in Winchester.

My motivation for completing this run is to get fit and have fun. I'm not the fastest runner and I hate it at times, but I love the challenge a half marathon brings.

I have already started training and hope to complete the race in under two hours 30 minutes. The hills will be a challenge so I will definitely add more hill runs to my training plan.

Dr Sarah Bayless, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology

Sarah Bayless running shoes on ground

I have been running somewhat reluctantly for a few years now. I don't think I'm a natural runner, but I have really enjoyed being outdoors and having time to myself.

This will be my third half marathon, despite declaring I would never do another after each previous one. I prefer off road and muddy runs just because they are more interesting, but am starting to enjoy the challenge of long road runs.

I'm hoping to improve my time little bit, and have been more consistent with my training runs, even in the hot morning sun while away on holiday.

Ellie Oldcorn, BA (Hons) English Literature

This will be the first half marathon that I have run and I am really excited to compete! I used to do lots of running and sports before I left school and came to university.

However, since starting university, the business of life and change in schedules has meant that I have not been very proactive in prioritising sports or running. This is the main reason for my wanting to do the half marathon, as I thought that it would be a good reason to force me into running again and also to be able to see a bit more of the beautiful city and surrounding countryside which is now home.

So far training is going well. Sometimes my motivation lacks, however I am persevering and am running three to four times a week, every few weeks lengthening the distance that I run until I reach the full 13.1 miles.

I love running and so it has been great to remind myself of this passion as I build up my stamina and ability, looking forward to race day.

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