Back in 2017, The Swindon Half Marathon was given a brand new route. A predominately ﬂat and fast course making it ideal for beginners and elites writes Cheryl Boulton.
I had lived in Swindon for 15 years and never entered the Swindon half marathon (due to the old route being so hilly). Now that I’ve lived in Devon for a while and conquered some proper hills, Peak Hill being one of them, I felt it was time to give Swindon a go. I then saw some recent reports on social media, which were suggesting that race directors were unable to make this event work financially and that his would be the last Swindon Half Marathon ever! That was it, the deciding factor, I entered immediately!
The event starts in the town centre of Swindon, with the new route passing various landmarks of the town, including the notorious Magic Roundabout, The County Ground, the Oasis, the Railways, the McArther Glenn Outlet Village as well as the Old Town before a downhill dash back into the Town Centre to finish line under the big screen of Wharf Green.
I started training on 4th August, with a 7 mile distance run once a week, increasing by a further mile every week with my last long run of 12 miles, being on the 8th of September.
Before the start, It was great to see so many runners from my previous running club, the Swindon Allstars. Even better was that one of them, Kim Tindskard Christensen, agreed to run with me throughout, but only after agreeing a target of 2:05-2:15. This would prove to be invaluable in helping me cross the line.
Within 2-3 minutes of setting off at 9.30am, heavy rain began to fall and continued for the duration of the run. Both of us were doing well achieving 6 miles in an hour until the 7.5 mile point where I stepped into a rain filled pot hole outside the Mc Arther Glenn shopping outlet. I twisted my left ankle, went flying and scraped my right arm on the ground as I slid. The pain was horrific but despite a Race Marshall calling for a medic, I managed to get up, wrap my handkerchief around my bleeding arm and continue with the remaining 5.5 miles. My friend was a great support carrying my water bottle, motivating me and encouraging me along (especially at mile 11 at Pipers way. Amazingly I finished in 2h:06m:17s. Resilience, perseverance, a friends encouragement and the wearing of a Mighty Green shirt got me round the remaining 5.5 miles. The question now is-will my ankle heal in time to run the Great West Run on 13th October?
Featured Image: Cheryl Boulton (left) with her friend and Swindon All Stars member Kim Tindskard Christensen after completing the Swindon half Marathon.