University Challenge


Today I completed the Oxford Half Marathon.

The day began with Dad picking me up from my Mum’s house at 6.45am and I left with a belly full of tea and two slices of toast. Some might say it’s the breakfast of champions.

Me and my bin bag. I think it’s a great look.

I knew it would be a pretty cold morning  and had packed a bin bag so when Dad left me on the start line and took away my jacket and phone, I started rocking the bin bag jacket look.

I would recommend this to other runners for cold race days as it keeps you warm and easily disposable just before you start.

At 9.35am it was kick off. The first 3 miles were great, really flat course and was running just under 9 min miles.

Around 4 miles (with a bit of an incline) was a wonderful band playing Mary Poppins songs and it was nice to run merrily along to.

Edging to 5 I came to the first Lucozade station. I didn’t need it as I carry my own bottle but I felt this was a really good place to put this as usually it comes around 8/9 and I feel by that point it is a bit too late for an energy hit. There was also another Lucozade point at 9 miles.

I saw Dad again at 5 miles. This was the third time I’d seen him already. It was a good spectator race because it looped back on itself quite a lot, which meant spectators didn’t have to go too far in between miles to see their runners again.

Hit 10km at 56min 27secs and was feeling like an absolute running legend…oh yeah. I had been averaging at 9 – 9.01 min miles and smug Siobhan was loving life.

After 7 miles, we came to a point in the race where runners had to move onto the pavement and it became busy. As much as I appreciate the difficulty to close all the roads it felt a little sad that we had to move along to a pavement here.

But then the joy came as there was a Jelly Baby station!

What a great idea. Everyone knows that Jelly Babies are runners gold and it’s the first race I’ve taken part in with an actual station. I didn’t take any this time but I think it something they could consider in the London Marathon.

For this race I was wearing my brand new Headway jersey – it’s bright yellow and makes it easy to spot me in a crowed.

I passed 8 and on the biggest incline so far, my thoughts were starting to get negative – this is where it became hard last week in the Cardiff Half.

But then a women ran past me and said “The charity you’re running for really helped my Dad, keep going!” My negative thoughts disappeared.

This is why I am running and training to help Headway to help more people. I powered along to 9, saw Dad again and now just 4 miles to go! Woo.

The last bit of the race took you back into the centre and at 11 miles I looked at my Garmin Forerunner and thought “I’m going to make under two hours here, YES!!”

At 12… (where, by the way, I threw my Lucozade towards a park bin, with cover and got it straight in SCORE!)… DISASTER struck. I needed a wee SO bad. 

I’m not sure whether you have ever tried to run really fast and hold a wee in at the same time but let me tell you it is not easy, so something had to give. My under 2hr dream faded away and I slowed it up to give effort to the other issue.

50 yards to go and my mind forgot about the toilet drama and finally I sprinted to finish in 2hrs 58seconds. Though not the finish I wanted I was proud to beat last week’s time by 7 minutes.

What better way to rewards yourself than a chunky medal, a vitality goodie bag, a hug from Dad and a bacon sandwich at the local cafe. Yum.

Overall it was a good race, great medal and nice finishers T-Shirt.

I think it is an excellent route for those attempting their first half marathon and runners after a PB, because like they advertised it was flat, fast and enjoyable.

A big thanks to the organisers, the volunteers, my number 1 fan Andy Sharp and the wonderful woman who made me remember it’s all worth while.

Thanks Oxford. Challenge complete!

I ran this in training for the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: 

You can pre-register for Oxford Half 2017 here. 




2 thoughts on “University Challenge

  1. I can’t believe you ran 2 half marathons in such close succession – very impressive! Looks like the marathon training is going well. And jelly baby stations should be a staple at all races I think!


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