31 October 2012
Jenny Wickham - Distance Runner of the Year
In just her second year competing in the adidas Athletics NSW winter program, Jenny Wickham (Sydney Striders) has claimed the prestigious Female Distance Runner of the year award. But she has overcome many challenges to reach this point.
Wickham had to wait until the last event to clinch the title. Going into the last race, the NSW marathon, she was lying in second place two points behind Lorraine Hince (Kembla Joggers) a former winner of this award. Wickham was unstoppable, winning the NSW marathon title, collecting 15 points and the award as the best all round distance runner of the year.
?There was no real thought of winning the title,? Wickham said.
?I started running the NSW Athletics winter events last year when three of my kids began competing in the cross country events for Sydney Striders juniors. I figured if they were running I could too.?
Wickham, a regular competitor in fun runs, half marathons and marathons over the last 10 to 15 years, enjoyed the change of running surfaces.
?I really enjoyed all the events, so entered them all again this year,? said Wickham who scored vital points in three cross country events, the state, short course and relays.
?I so enjoyed the Athletics NSW events as they were a little different to fun runs.?
However she is undecided which is her favourite terrain.
?I ran my first cross country events last year, except for a couple when I was at school. I really enjoyed the change from road running and I think I?d like to do a bit more cross country running in the years to some.
There was no doubt that Wickham would contest the final event in the adidas Athletics NSW series.
?The marathon is probably my favourite distance, so I couldn?t pass up the opportunity to run one in my hometown. I have run the Sydney marathon on five occasions and won the half marathon three times.
However track races are not on her agenda.
?I did a few track events a few years ago, but generally I liked having a break from competing over the summer. Life is so busy, that I like to have a few months of the year when I?m not training for anything, and just running for the enjoyment and relaxation, so I do that over summer.
Wickham runs for Sydney Striders following a program written by Sean Williams.
?I do all my training alone. This is because of how busy I am with my four kids and work. I train early in the mornings. I find that if I don?t run before the rest of the family rise, it is too hard to find the time. I need to be home from my run by about 6.30am to get the kids off to their different sports and then schools. All of my kids are very involved in lots of sports.
``So all my running is done in the early mornings close to home around Manly Beach and incorporates a bit of trail running around Manly Dam.??
Sport has always been a major part of Wickham?s life.
?At school I played every sport on offer then went on to study PE teaching. After finishing university and starting full time work, I found less time to fit in all the team sports I played, so I started to run each day to keep fit. A few years later I was badly injured in a car accident and was told I would probably not run competitively again. It was then that I realised how much running meant to me, so it sort of went from there.
``Running every morning is like my ?timeout? from the day. Every day is so busy, that running just gives me the time to put everything in perspective and think about everything. I can get out of bed and have things on my mind, and they are all sorted by the time I get home! I also love the positive influence that my running has had on my family. All of my kids share my love of sport and running which is great.??
For the last 10 years Wickham has taught physical education at Stella Maris College Manly
?I co-ordinate a number of sports including athletics and cross country.?
Previously she had taught at Monte Sant? Angelo College in North Sydney and had a huge impact on that school?s athletics program, Under Wickham?s guidance Monte regularly won the Catholic Girls Secondary Schools Sports Association (CGSSSA) athletics championship and finished third in the prestigious Independent Girls Schools Sports Associtaion Championship (IGSSA).
PROFILE: Jenny Wickham
CLUB: Sydney Striders
PBs: 10k 35:20 (2008), Half marathon 78:02 (2008), marathon 2:48.22 (2008)
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Jenny Wickham(courtesy of David Tarbotton