Headington staff take on virtual marathon

Two Headington staff are celebrating after completing the Virtual London Marathon around Bicester and surrounding areas.

Neither Assistant Head Mrs Rachel Bowen nor Studio Manager Mr Chris Humphries had originally signed up to take part in the event. However, when the race went virtual and a second opportunity was available to take part, the intrepid pair decided to give it a go.

While both Mrs Bowen and Mr Humphries had some running experience, having competed in 5k and 10k races, neither had covered close to the distance before so with just five weeks before race day on Sunday 4th October, they set realistic targets of combining walking with running, in Mrs Bowen’s case, and walking the full 26.2 miles for Mr Humphries.

Mrs Bowen, who completed the race in a very respectable 6:42:51, said she was “delighted” to finish well inside her goal of under eight hours, admitting she had never run more than 13.6km previously. Headington’s exams officer and PE teacher Miss Lynn Cockshott joined Mrs Bowen for parts of the run, while several members of staff turned out in pouring rain to see her finishing.

She said: “It was rainy all day so not the nicest conditions, and from mile 18 it really started to ache. Mentally, it was a battle but I managed to run the last few hundred metres!

“I was a bit achy the day after, walking slowly around school, but so pleased to have done it.”

Mr Humphries prepared for his attempt with two 15-mile training walks and decided to aim for a “deliberately leisurely” walking pace. His route on the day involved nearly four laps of Bicester ring road and he was accompanied by the soothing tones of Stephen Fry reading a Harry Potter audiobook. Towards the end of his epic walk, Theatre Manager John Welton joined him to help him get into the final lap – and not give into the temptation of his own front door as he passed it. His official time was 8:57:08.

He said: “It’s an odd sense of achievement as the whole thing was quite muted compared with the ‘event’ feeling of the London Marathon usually. But I will always have the knowledge that I have now done it, albeit in this very specific form!”

Huge congratulations to both!