The University of Bristol Run Series is a community and wellbeing focused virtual event. Through this event we are encouraging staff, students, alumni and people of Bristol to re-connect with one another over a common goal – be that 5k, 10k a Half Marathon (or all three!) – with the aim of bettering our physical and mental health during a time of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.
Our ‘Faces of the Run Series’ blog posts will shine a light on individuals who have signed up to one, or more, of our virtual events and ask them to share what brought them to our virtual community this year! Through this blog series, we hope to introduce you to your fellow runners by putting a face to the Facebook profile, email address or Strava user we’ve only had the opportunity to ‘meet’ in 2D so far!
Name: Vicky Dickson
Job: Business Development Officer
Division: Sport Exercise and Health
Run Series Event: Whole Series!
What is your experience with running up until now?
I started running in May 2013 aged 38–years, using a Couch to 5K podcast.
A good friend had plans to run the London Marathon that year to raise awareness and funds for a charity she was working for – after never running previously nor describing herself as a regular exerciser – and she invited me to join her. From the start she loved road running – me not so much. I disliked being sweaty and out of breath, having to find additional time to shower and getting changed in and out of workout gear. And I never could find a matching pair of socks.
After Week 6 though things started to change and I started to see the benefits… I was less moody, sleeping better, and feeling less anxious.
I signed up for Cardiff half to coincide with my birthday at the beginning of October But unfortunately, I developed plantar fasciitis 2 weeks after completing the C25K and could not put my foot to the floor. After a physio appt with the University’s Sports Medicine Clinic I was able to choose a new training plan which incorporated stretching and other forms of exercise, such as cycling, to complement my running. I also started running on softer and flatter ground – I enjoyed routes around Blaise Castle and Clifton Downs and even round the Harbourside, as I built myself back up.
I completed the Stroud Half at the end of October that year and the buzz and sense of achievement as I crossed the finish line was amazing. I had also met so many new people both online and in person and it was these connections that motivated and inspired me to continue running.
Some of my biggest accomplishments between 2014-2016 include;
- Running/walking 5k every day for the full year of 2014
- Brighton Marathon
- 100k Thames Path Challenge
- Green Man challenge 46 miles trail running around Bristol.
- 83 miles in 24 hours to complete 117 miles of footpaths of the Mendip Ring.
- Hosting regular lunch runs for Staff and Postgraduate students as a University Run Leader.
- 40 miles for my 40th birthday!
In 2018 I stopped moving – I even stopped being outside on a regular basis and I hit a downward spiral of anxiety and was experiencing panic attacks. In 2019 I renewed my run leaders award.
In 2021 I signed up to the University of Bristol Run Series – it’s going to be a fun year!
What motivated you to sign up to the run series in 2021?
It is guaranteed to go ahead as all the events are virtual! I also love the fact that it is a series, which means that to get ½ Marathon ready I have to get outside and train regularly– 3 x per week for the best part of a year. And I get 3 interlocking medals to add to the collection!!
Top tip for getting out the door for your training runs?
If I have planned to run, I simply put on my sports socks on in the morning which is a visual reminder for me (and saves me trying to scrabble around later to find a pair).
What are you most looking forward to about taking part in the Run Series this year?
Connecting with others. I love seeing other people’s pictures, stories, and photos on Facebook and Strava and celebrating everyone’s efforts.
Your favourite pre-run snack?
Whole meal toast with peanut butter topped with sliced banana.