Racing advice from Rebekah Hicks: Know who to chase


Rebekah Hicks is tough. Anyone who needs proof should look no further than the 2017 Conquer the Cove 25K.

Around mile six, Rebekah tripped and injured her knee. It hurt – a lot.

“I wanted to just quit the race,” she recalled, “but it was a single-track trail with no way to get out.”

So, she kept going. For nine more miles.

She adjusted her stride to favor the knee – running with what she calls a “funny step” – and finished in 2:40:02. She placed 25thoverall and still won the women’s masters division of the race, which traverses the trails around Carvins Cove near Roanoke.

Her performance helped her win the overall Women’s Masters division for the Mountain Junkies’ RNUTS 2017 season, an award she called her most satisfying running accomplishment.

Rebekah Hicks (back) taking a break on a trail run with Gemma Grove (left) and Ginger Stewart

Rebekah Hicks

Hometown: Born in central Pennsylvania, but raised in Gambrills, Maryland, with a fair amount of moving around before landing in Floyd.

Age: 47

Occupation: Good question.  I was a biologist and had a short (10 year) career with the Army Corps of Engineers enforcing the Clean Water Act but I left that to be a full-time mom and homeschooling mom.  When my son was five my step granddaughter was born and I became a backup parent and homeschool teacher for her too. I’ve tried to go back to work in the last few years only to discover that people think you are crazy if you haven’t been paid for work for 18 years. I decided if I needed to find a new career I should follow my passion. I got certified as a personal trainer and running coach last year and now I am trying to kick that off.

When and why did you start running?  I ran in high school, but only started running as an adult three years ago when a trainer from Floyd Fitness asked me to run “Wazupwidis” as part of a team.  I hated that race (stairs) but rediscovered a love of running.

Most frustrating running experience?  My friend Nate was right behind me when I fell at Carvins Cove and he had to literally leap over me, scaring both of us.

Worst injury? Although I initially hurt my knee at Conquer the Cove, by running “funny”  to finish the race I pulled my adductor to the point that in the following week I sometimes couldn’t even walk. It took months to recover and many races deferred.

Tips for avoiding injury? I wish I had one.

Who inspires and/or motivates you? Trish Richardson, I think she is amazing.  I don’t know anyone who has mastered the negative split like her, and she is so nice, friendly and encouraging.

Advice for new runners? Have fun. Run with friends. I go out of my way to meet the people who finish slightly ahead of me, I like knowing who to chase.

Favorite race? Mill Mt. Mayhem (although I may skip it this year as it is one week before the Blue Ridge Marathon and I don’t want to risk falling with no recovery time)

Trails or roads? Trails

Suggestion for growing/improving our running community? I can’t imagine a better group. I would like to help create more running opportunities in Floyd County and hope others do so in their parts of the NRV, but I will always come back to Blacksburg. I am also hoping we (Blacksburg Striders) can kick off a “Kids run the New River Valley” program and I hope that I can play a large role in making that happen.

Fact many people don’t know about you? I can’t imagine, I’m a pretty open book.

Running goals for 2019? I would love to take masters at RNUTS again, but it will be hard, especially as more of my NRV friends start coming up to those races.

Rebekah Hicks (right) ran 5:58 in the 2018 Draper Mile to win first place in her age category.

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