Training for the Paris marathon in Oxfordshire
Accounts Supervisor Amy Read is training for the Paris Marathon in April 2015. Here, she tells us how she got into running and where she likes to run around Oxfordshire to do her training.
“Like most people, I did a bit of running at school, but it was my Dad who really got me into running when I was around 19. He was running at an event in London and told my brother and me that if he could do it, then so could we! I had the typical ‘blip’ through Uni where I lost interest a little, but when I was around 27 I started to do half marathons and then I did the London Marathon three years ago. Although people might think it is boring, I find running outside really enjoyable. Of course, it is harder in the winter months because it is dark and cold and wet….but it is wet in the summer quite a lot too!
I had always wanted to run a marathon and so I did London, which was great because there are spectators cheering you around the whole route. After London, I said I would never do another one, and even a few weeks before I signed up to the Paris Marathon I was telling a friend I would never do another marathon. But I saw an advert for it on my Facebook wall and before I knew it I had signed up!
I live in Wheatley, so one loop I run is up Ladder Hill and then through the lovely village of Garsington, home to Garsington Manor, which had been the setting for the Garsington Opera up until 2011. The manor house was built on land once owned by the son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, and at one time had the name ‘Chaucers’. I take the Oxford Road out of the village, which brings me out near the Business Park where I then run down the A40 and right round back to Wheatley.
A slightly shorter route would be to cut through Horspath, passing the The Horspath Cricket Club. The Club actually played its first game against Garsington in the mid 1890s, although the present pitch was created in 1924. It has also been the venue for our annual ‘Finders Keepers versus Contractors’ cricket match in July for the past few years.
Continuing along, I arrive at the BMW factory and then follow the A40 back to Wheatley. The A40 part isn’t quite as scenic as the lovely villages, but when it gets darker earlier this route is better lit than the country roads. If I want a slightly longer route, I would take in Holton village on the way back, passing Wheatley Park Secondary School, which includes the Georgian former HoltonPark – a deer park of the original manor house in the early 19th century when the manor house was demolished.
At the moment, my weekend (daylight) route takes me from Wheatley to Forest Hill, where the poet William Mickle lived and is buried, then up through Stanton St John, passing the Rectory Farm Pick Your Own and Farm Shop, which is unfortunately closed for the season! I then go up past Studley Wood Golf Club towards Horton-cum-Studley.
If I want to add extra miles, I’ll run down Woodperry Hill and along to Barton and the A40, otherwise I’ll head back through Forest Hill. The villages are great for hill training and it is so nice to be out in the countryside. The scenery is beautiful and it is very peaceful – great for clearing the mind! The views over the fields are great and from some spots you can see back towards Oxford too.”