Vicky is a great advert for local athletics

Vicky Lloyd - looking determined


Vicky Lloyd hails from Herbrandston and in her time as a very good athlete she is the proud possessor of no fewer than15 Welsh vests and another eight from her time in the Welsh Schools' athletics as an indoor pentathlete and outdoor heptathlete.

For the uninitiated, that means Vicky has to show determination, strength, judgement and high skill levels in five or seven events, with the 60-metre hurdles, long jump, shot putt, high jump and 800 metres for the pentathlon, normally held indoors during the Winter months, and with the addition of the 200 metres and javelin added outdoors - Phew!

The success that she achieved has been wonderful, and all the more praiseworthy because added alongside has been a key role in the pressure career of nursing, but more of that later.

Vicky in actionEarly start - at Sunday School!

Such a challenging competition demands total commitment and a range of running, throwing and jumping skills after Vicky set out in Sunday School at Herbrandston, where her teacher, Dorothy Walter, noticed her natural speed whilst they were running up and down the church hall and enjoying some fun time.

Now Dorothy was heavily involved with the old Cleddau Athletic Club and roped in Vicky to run at an athletics meeting at the Morfa Stadium - and after the excitement of the bus trip there was the thrill of winning the 75 metres for under 11s so her athletics involvement was literally up and running!

"I knew from the outset that I was a sprinter and not a distance runner," admitted Vicky, "because I absolutely hated Herbrandston School cross-country races!"

Great coaching - from inspiring coaches

After Cleddau Harriers amalgamated with their counterparts from Preseli to form the Pembrokeshire Harriers her natural sprinting skills saw her joining Sue Alvey to take up long jump and so began her conversion to multi-eventing with Sue, Liz and Nigel Rowlands, plus Huw Morgan.

By the time she was in the sixth form she was doing so well that she won the Welsh Long Jump title at Leckwith Stadium with a jump of 5 metres 60 centimetres.

Family matters . . .

It was fitting reward for an immense amount of work and Vicky would be the first to say that much of the credit goes to her parents, who ferried her everywhere without the hint of a complaint, and her grandmother, who never missed a race meet in her development years and was the first to receive a phone call from Vicky after schools' internationals to which she couldn't travel.

Vicky is proud mum to Iori (3) and Evie (1) and staying with family matters for a moment longer, she and her partner, Stuart MacDonald, are already looking forward to times when they will take the children in anything they want to do, sports-wise or not - but in the meanwhile they have already worked together in entering the Swansea Half Marathon.

"We ran it together and I can actually run further than 800 metres now - and although I was pleased with my final time I was a little sorry for Stuart because if he had gone ahead, as he could have, he would have had a time of under two hours!"

She has also taken part in other runs like the Dale 10K (twice!) and the Long Course 10K in Tenby.

Vicky gives it her allStuart has also enjoyed a sporting life

Stuart had a lengthy involvement with Milford Athletic before he joined Kristan Bennett in trying to fill the considerable boots of Gary Dawes as Hakin United manager and asked Stuart to join him.

After a good season both helped the seconds win the Third Division Cup and for Stuart it marked the fact that it was 25 years since he had previously won silverware with the Junior Vikings as a 12 year old.

"Then came the call to run the first team and we won the league title at our first attempt. We had a youngish side and the following year we won it again - and made it a double by beating Clarbeston Road in the Senior Cup.

"By the following season we had lost some talented key players but still reached the West Wales Cup Final but lost in a penalty shoot-out out with Merlins Bridge - and we both decided it was time to stand down after that. I still hope to help Justin Goffin with Herbie 2nds once football is back again, just to keep my hand in."

Vicky and Stuart


Vicky loved a range of other sports

In Vicky's case she took part in a range of other sports, starting with Gymnastics under the guidance of Andy Grey, which helped her with the foundations for athletics.

"I also swam with Milford Tigers and first met Stuart at poolside because he was a lifeguard there - and I played on the wing for Milford Ladies in hockey as we competed in the South Wales League.

"It was a good standard and since games were played from September to March it helped keep me fit in quiet athletic periods, alongside the camaraderie of being part of a smashing bunch of girls.”

It was perhaps appropriate that eventually Vicky's athletics and chosen career diverged because when she graduated with a B.Sc degree in nursing she began in ward 10 at Withybush Hospital but eventually got a job at Velindre Hospital in Cardiff and joined Cardiff Athletic Club, where she joined forces with a new coach in Mike Guest.

Meeting up with Mike

"Mike was the National Combined Events coach and had six others in his group that included another Pembrokeshire athlete in David Omoregie and I went training with him on a regular basis because I found it a great way to relax from the responsibilities of being a chemotherapy practitioner.

"He continued to develop me on the combined events path, with the shot, high jump and 800 metres joining my regular events of the sprint and long jump. To be honest I found the 800 metres the toughest but Mike helped me crack that and I carried on with those, plus the javelin and 400 metres hurdles (another tough one) in the longer version called the heptathlete.

Finished on a high note

"I finished in 2015 when the children came along and Mike was off to coach in New Zealand - and one of the undoubtedly best times came when I competed for the Welsh title, which was held in conjunction with the English competition in Sheffield, and was thrilled to come away with the gold medal.

"Then a few weeks later I entered the Scottish Open, held at the Chris Hoy Centre at Olympic Park in Glasgow, and won a silver medal there - which was a nice way to finish because the children arrived soon afterwards and I had returned to Withybush and am now a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care."

Nice touch from school

Sandwiched in between were those numerous Welsh titles and one of the more memorable ones camewhilst a Year 10 student at Milford Haven School and she competed against the other home countries at the University of Dublin in Ireland.

"The school had made a contribution to my costs and I still have the lovely letter of support from Mrs Margaret John, my head of year, because it meant so much."

And finally . . .

Ask Vicky about ambitions for the future and she says she is looking forward to seeing her children develop whatever interests they take up - and perhaps one day returning to the Pembrokeshire Harriers and helping to inspire youngsters to enjoy themselves as much as she has.

"Athletics taught me so much more than polishing skills, fitness and commitment because I developed life principles, setting targets and goals, as well as building structures - all of which have helped me in my work.

"I would really recommend children (or adults) to join Pembrokeshire Harriers because they do a wonderful job, all voluntarily, and can set you up for life with the qualities they encourage!"

Vicky and children