All posts by Sarah Holmes

Chilly Hilly

A surprisingly pleasant morning greeted the Roadrunners as they woke up bleary eyed after the previous nights Annual Awards Party. This hilly and not quite so chilly, 10 miler is a hard run by anyone’s standards, not withstanding that many on the startline had sore heads and sore feet! 

Beginning at the West Wight Sports Centre, the runners were given the off as they made their way into the woods an on to Freshwater Bay. From there they went and onto the most exposed clifftop on the Island, Tennyson. 

They all made it to the turn at the Needles Battery and a tiny bit of downhill respite before clambering up Headon Warren and onward to Totland where they followed the sea wall section at Colwell before making their way back to the Sports Centre for complimentary mince pies and mulled wine.

Stu Backhouse showed no sign of feeling worse for wear as he crossed the line in a fantastic 6th overall and just under 70 minutes giving him the top spot in the V45 category. Dean Pike was next to emerge across the sports field continuing his recent good form. Simon Riley was next followed by Andy MacArthur and Nick Kenney giving IWRR a 1st-4th clean sweep in the V45s.

For the ladies, it was Hayley Baxter that was the first home in 6th overall and 2nd V40.  The next ladies over the line in 95 minutes after running the course together were Charlotte Williams, Jenny Dewing and Sarah Ward. Lou Howell ditched last night’s elf hat to put in a great performance by completing the ladies top 5. 

Everyone made it home in one piece, all 32 of them. Having enjoyed the Winter sunshine and shaken off their hangovers. 

Stuart Backhouse – 1.09.46 – 6th overall – 1stV45

Dean Pike – 1.12.29

Simon Riley – 1.13.35 – 2ndV45

Andy MacArthur – 1.15.46 – 3rdV45

Nick Kenney – 1.16.05 – 4thV45 

David Blake – 1.17.37

Guy Mattinson – 1.19.27 – 5thV45

Gordon Mucklow – 1.20.19 – 4thV40

Paul Martin – 1.23.02

Hayley Baxter – 1.23.06. – 6th overall 2ndV40

Giorgio Marinelli – 1.25.36 

Richard Harvey – 1.29.15

Dave Wilcock – 1.33.58

Charlotte Williams – 1.35.01 5thV40

Jenny Dewing – 1.35.01 

Sarah Ward – 1.35.10 4thV45

Lou Howell – 1.36.36

Zoe Sherwin – 1.39.40 

Julie Salter – 1.42.59 4thV50

Ian Williams – 1.43.03

Julie Rasmussen – 1.44.24

Fiona Atwood – 1.47.31

Julia Parker – 1.49.20

Jane Andrew – 1.49.20 3rdV55

Fay Tosdevin – 1.54.01 4thV55

Keith Ruth – 1.54.24 

Julie Dixon – 1.55.21

Alison Butcher – 1.58.18

Gemma Fletcher – 1.58.28

Pete Dixon 1.59.00

Sam Grist – 1.59.00

Lucy Deville – 2.10.58

Lyn Snow – 2.20.08

Annual Awards Party

Saturday saw our runners ditch the Lycra and don their gladrags for this years annual awards presentation. 

The evening began with a video slideshow of all the race photographs from the entire year. A beautiful reminder of every single members achievements. With  David Bowie reminding the team that they are all Heroes. A great chance to reminisce about how far they’ve all come, how far they’ve all run and bringing a smile to every face in the room. A perfect opener to the evening. 

What a year it’s been for the Roadrunners! An anniversary  year no less! We’ve seen triumph and success in reams with support and encouragement knowing no bounds. It really has been a joy to see so much love and passion for the sport rewarded with personal goals being smashed and even a trophy being won here and there along the way.

Several awards were re-presented by Chairman Glen Jones and team captains Julie Ray and Darren Cole on Saturday. Giving the recipients their well deserved moment to shine in the presence of their peers. 

Winter Nominated Series – Dave Wilcock

Summer Nominated Series – Garry Sharp

IOW Half – 1st IWRR female – Holly Newton

IOW Half – 1st IWRR male – Cole Pearce

St.Georges 10 – 1st IWRR female – Trish Train

St.Georges 10 – 1st IWRR male – Cole Pearce 

Club 10k – 1st female – Trish Train 

Club 10k – 1st male – Paul Cameron 

Next up were the top 3 achievers in the Hampshire Road Racing League based on points scored totted up over the season. They were rewarded with vouchers for Love Running.

Men’s 

1st – Matt Fletcher

2nd – Ross Wilkes

3rd – Cole Pearce 

Ladies

1st – Zoe Sherwin

2nd – Jodie Wilmott 

3rd – Sarah Holmes

New for this year was the 5k series, a 3 part affair which saw our trusty Roadrunners strive to improve each time. Based on a scoring system according to times and bonuses for PBs, the inaugural winners were Trish Train and Paul Cameron. The most improved prize went to club stalwart Sue Hunter. 

Next up were the awards voted for by the Roadrunners themselves. With 2 awards to consider for men and ladies, every club member was asked to make their choice for Most Improved Runner and for Club Member of the year (an award which not only considers athletic achievement but also their overall contribution to the club, their inspiration to others and their team spirit)

Most Improved Female 

1st – Zoe Sherwin 

2nd – Jodie Wilmott, Sarah Ward, Abigail Keyte

“Winning this has given me such a sense of achievement, the recognition of so many people that I have been inspired by over the last couple of years has given me self belief. I’ve never felt more proud of anything I’ve ever achieved, it’s the best feeling ever!”

And proud she should be, she smashed PB after PB, scored one of the highest amount of points by a female in our own HRRL Grand Prix and ran her first ever marathon in a seemingly effortless sub 4 hours only to go even quicker at the IOW to finish in a triumphant 4th overall. 

The three way split for second demonstrates the immense effort that these 3 lionesses have put into their running all year. Jodie Wilmott has returned to form after a couple of years recovering from double knee operations. Consistently chipping away at her already tidy PB collection, culminating in her glorious performance at Flanders marathon. Sarah Ward has come a long way from the novice runner thst she was at the beginning of the year. Considering that the Newport to Ryde race was the furthest she’d ever run back in April she’s gone from strength to strength working her way up to half marathon distance and beyond. Last but not least is our super junior Abbie Keyte. This whippersnapper has been quietly gaining confidence and speed as the years progressed, bagging a phenomenal 10th junior place at this year’s Great South Run and completing her first half marathon just a couple of weeks later.

Most Improved Male 

1st – Ross Wilkes 

2nd – Dave Wilcock 

3rd – Richard Bezer

“I cannot express how shocked but grateful I am” said Ross “I try so hard during races and I’m truly grateful for the club’s support along the way, you are all legends!”

Ross has showed immeasurable determination all year. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a race report that he didn’t include the words Ross followed by the letters PB. He’s been key to the teams promotion in the HRRL, taking part in 10 out of the 12 races last season. He’s chipped away at all his times from 5 mile to marathon distance and he’s set himself crazy fundraising challenges to run around the Island and up and down the seafront as many times as he could in 12 hours (yes really!) A huge asset to the club, his enthusiasm is limitless.

Dave Wilcock (lovingly described on one voting form as a sex machine in yellow Lycra) was voted into second place in this category for his continued improvement over all distances and his inspirational weight loss journey whilst Richard Bezer was recognised in 3rd place for his huge improvement over all distances this season and positive attitude.

Club Member of the Year Female

1st – Tanya Clifford, Sarah Holmes

2nd – Hayley Baxter 

Unusually we found ourselves with a dead heat for the top spot this year.

“I am completely shocked” said Tanya “it’s so lovely that people thought I was worthy of their vote”

Very worthy in fact. Despite some serious health issues, not only has Tanya still managed to keep running she’s maintained a hugely active role on the committee all year, keeping the accounts in order, collecting money for a million different things and having nearly as many spreadsheets as Sharpie! She’s timekept when she couldn’t run and provided support and encouragement for members of the club, new and old. When she could run she’s managed to break her parkrun, 5 mile and half marathon PBs, demonstrating immense bravery, determination and guts. 

 “The club has kept me going at times” she told me later during the awards evening “It’s given me something to focus on”

Hugely deserved recognition for one brave lady.

On to our other joint winner… press officer and fancy dress enthusiast Sarah Holmes.

“I’m lost for words!” unusual for her as we know “The only thing I thought I’d be winning this year was some cheap plonk on the raffle! No seriously I am truly touched, my mojo and my confidence deserted me in the summer, I thought I’d never run again, but you beautiful lot lifted me up and helped me back”

Despite her misgivings the pint sized club paparazzi still managed a 10k PB and broke the club’s women’s distance record in a competitive race with her triumphant 2nd place at the Cider Frolic after clocking up 45 miles. Between running an additional 4 marathons during the year, she still spends hours every week collating results, researching races and finding photographs to give the club their race reports. Instrumental in helping to organise social events, races and a regular timekeeper, the pocket rocket is always tirelessly working away behind the scenes. 

Hayley Baxter was voted into second place after her victory at the Needles marathon, brilliant 2nd place at the IOW marathon and 1st iow lady overall at the Fell Series and fantastic PB at Gosport half. Always humble in her success, and determined in races Hayley always takes the time to congratulate others whilst always delivering 100% effort. Her infectious sense of humour is always evident, making her a hugely positive influence on others.

Club Member of the Year Male 

1st – Matt Fletcher 

2nd – Dave Wilcock

3rd – Darren Cole 

“I am shocked, pleased and honoured to receive this, especially when I looked at the names of the previous winners on it”  said Matt 

Matt has had a cracker of a year. Not only was he the only club member to complete all 12 Hampshire League Races, he’s also run 2 marathons, battling a double hernia along the way. The committee’s “go to” person for jobs that need doing, he works tirelessly behind the scenes keeping the wheels of the club turning. Who can forget his organisation of the infamous bus tour celebrating the club’s double promotion in the Hampshire League and without his hard work before during and after the event, St. Georges quite simply wouldn’t have happened -A true unsung hero of the club.

Dave Wilcock was once again recognised by his peers for his positivity, his enthusiasm and his ability to always raise a smile with his wordy wit whilst Darren Cole was voted into 3rd place for his outstanding contribution to Track nights come rain or shine to “train the troops”. He devised the new 5k series for all of us to enjoy this Summer and as race director for St Georges compiles a lot of the paperwork that arises. 

Occasionally the club will award a bespoke trophy. Made especially to award one members particular achievement, or non achievement may be more accurate. Yes that’s right the Epic Fail award was back this year! Hand crafted and presented by our own Darren Cole. This year’s award was presented to everyone’s favourite Marshall Tracy Houdoire. Tracy’s opening gambit to 2018s Races was the ever popular Stubbington 10k. Excitedly Tracy unpacked her bag to get changed before the race only to discover that despite popping 2 shoes in her bag the night before, she had managed to pick up 2 similar looking left feet.

Every year the committee vote for their Achievement Award. This goes to someone that they consider to have done something out of the ordinary, beyond the norm. This year’s recipient has shown immense courage over the cruellest of tragedies. Despite her heartache Jane Andrew has continued to attend club nights and represent the club at races. She’s taken on amazing challenges that have raised over £8500 for the Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital and the Organ Donor Network. She’s encouraged her daughters into the club and remained a pillar of strength and admiration for everyone.

Our trusty in house photography legend Peter Billington donated a special award of his own. The Best Photo Gimp Award recognises a dedication to race gooning and appreciation for creativity in this field. Unfortunately Peter was unwell this year so asked last year’s winner, Sarah Holmes to hand over the baton. This year’s winner has gurned and gimped her way around every race. From thumbs up to thumbs down and even a few two fingered salutes chucked in along the way her talent in this field has increased alongside her running abilities. The Best Gimp award went to the queen of silly faces Hayley Baxter. 

Unusually the Committee decided to award a Lifetime Honoury membership this year. There have only been a handful of these given out in the last 30 years. The committee make their nominations and then vote in secret. The winner of this great accolade was non other than Steve Hickman. 

“It was totally unexpected” the legend tells me “It’s an awesome feeling to think I am some sort of inspiration to their running in any small way”

He admits that the standing ovation brought a lump to his throat

“I’m humbled” 

In his speech Glen referenced Steve’s remarkable marathon running achievements in clocking up his landmark 150, his team spirit and ability to infuse all those that are lucky enough to be called his clubmates with his positivity and passion for running. Always wearing his IWRR with pride he has proved himself to be a fantastic ambassador for the club. A gentleman. A legend. An inspiration. 

After a break and some food came what arguably the most exciting part of the evening. The grand reveal of the winners of this year’s coveted London Marathon club places. For anyone that has ever entered the public ballot to gain entry to the worlds most iconic marathon, they will know that the odds of getting a place are slim at best. But as an Athletics Club, we are awarded 2 places every year to issue to members as we see fit. As a club we lay down criteria that entrants must satisfy to enter this club ballot… the rest is down to luck as a FA cup style draw randomly assigned each of the 8 qualifiers a number and a chair to sit on, upon which 8 golden envelopes were placed.

They then in turn opened their envelopes, each finding a different race entry inside. George Butler was first to open, finding a Needles Half place. Matt Fletcher was next revealing one of the 2 coveted London places

Glen Jones, (standing in for Ian Dyer), was next to open finding the other Needles Half place. Julie Ray and Ross Wilkes both found IOW marathon places p, with Bridget next revealing a place for St. George’s 10. Two envelopes left… one London place still available…. Mud lover Michael Coultrup was next to go….. St Georges…. leaving no doubt as to what was inside Sarah Sharps envelope! 

“I feel quite emotional about it. I can’t quite believe it” said the vice chair “This is a bucket list wish for me. I will be wearing my club vest with pride and will be eternally grateful for this” 

And so concluded the formalities for the evening. All that was left to do was get silly and dance the night away 

Victory 5 – #HRRL4

First run in 1946, with 29 entrants, this fast and flat 5 miler has come a long way. 72 runnings later,the 700ish runners eagerly awaited the off on the startline of this sold out Hampshire League race.

Lakeside North Harbour hosted the race for the City of Portsmouth AC. 2 laps around the lake made up the course to bring the Roadrunners home amid warm but blustery conditions.

Simon Pilcher was the first Roadrunner to grace the finish in a fantastic 28.40 seconds in dazzling debut over the distance. Not too far behind was PB king Ross Wilkes in, yes you’ve guessed it…. yet another PB! Bill Goozee continued his return to form by just missing the 30 minute mark in his debut 5 miler. Completing the men’s first team was Dean Pike, just 5 seconds later knocking a tidy 3 and a half minutes off his PB in the process.

The second men’s team home were Stu Backhouse, Pete Sexton, Steve Bennett and Garry Sharp. Stu taking 8th V45, Pete 5th V55, Steve 5th V60 (and a PB) and Garry doing what does best, running with 100% enthusiasm.

For the Ladies, it was Zoe Sherwin which brought the flag home in just over 38 mins and another Pb giving her the full set for the year and 10th V40. Sarah Holmes was under the finish arch next in 39 minutes with Sarah Sharp completing the ladies team in 43 minutes.

Team placings done, in the rest of the team came, one by one. All having run their socks off around that blustery lake. Tanya Clifford bagged the PB of the day by knocking a humongous 6 minutes off her previous time. 

“I’ve never run that fast – EVER!” beamed Tanya after the race

Giorgio Marinelli, Alison Butcher, Bianca Johnston and Caroline Curliss were all smiles as they ran their debuts over the distance and our second claim member Brian Harris taking 10th V70.

As a special treat, team IWRR had their own mobile coffee shop at the finishline in the shape of Matt Fletcher. He dished out well deserved  hot drinks to our awesome runners.

Simon Pilcher – 28.40

Ross Wilkes – 29.43 PB

Bill Goozee – 30.31

Dean Pike – 30.36 PB

Stuart Backhouse – 30.53

Pete Sexton – 32.24

Steve Bennett – 34.06 PB

Garry Sharp – 34.44 

Giorgio Marinelli – 37.01 

Kevin Rann – 37.16

Zoe Sherwin – 38.09 PB

Sarah Holmes – 39.08

Keith Ruth – 42.06

Sarah Sharp – 43.00

Alison Butcher – 43.24

Kevin Fry – 43.45

Julie Ray – 43.47

Bianca Johnston – 46.12

Tanya Clifford – 46.32 PB

Bridget Keyte – 47.49

Caroline Curliss – 47.50

Brian Harris – 52.35 

Festive Frolic

Situated in Staunton Country Park, this 6 hour challenge takes the runners into the neighbouring Forestry Commision’s Havant Thicket for as many laps of the 4.7 mile course as they can or want to in the allotted time.

Club legend Dave Cass and Ross Wilkes both took on the challenge. 

Starting in the beautiful grounds of the Country Park, the trusty pair set off into the thicket, negotiating a hill or 2 on the way round before returning to the Park and the well stocked aid station, offering all the goodies that keep the runners going on a challenge like this.

“There were loads of mince pies!” Said Ross

“It was a pretty course and wasn’t too muddy either. There were a few gradual inclines which were ok to start with but really chipped away at you in the later stages”

Ross decided to call it a day by ringing the bell signalling his intention to finish after 6 laps completing just over the marathon distance.

“I had to slow it right down for the last lap” said Ross “I felt a twinge in my leg at 21 miles going downhill. I am running a league race next week, so wanted to stay fresh for that, I pottered the last bit”

Ross managed his 27.6 miles in 4.25.33 to give him 15th place overall,whilst Dave ran his furthest distance in a long time due to a back injury to complete 5 laps of 23 miles in 4.07.20.

Downton Half Marathon

There was no Abbey in sight as Ian Dyer took a trip to Downton on Sunday. Ian packed up his camper van Dora and made his way to the Wiltshire side of the New Forest.

Taking in the quiet country lanes through this scenic area, this half marathon promises a few hills and with 1300 feet of elevation, it didn’t disappoint. 

Starting at The Borough, this well marshalled course took Ian and the across the bridges before tackling the first elevation in the shape of Hale Hill. He then continued past the Cricket Pitch before descending into the village of Woodgreen. A couple of left turns took Ian up the familiarly named Godshill followed by Castle Hill before returning through Woodgreen and back to Downtown.

Ian ran brilliantly, showing no fatigue from last weekend’s league race at Gosport. He conquered the hills and even managed a sprint finish to cross the line in a fantastic 1.48.10.

“It was a really nice, good old-fashioned race” he tells me “they gave out soup and a roll at the finish, it was great!”

Gosport Half Marathon – #HRRL3

Perfect conditions smiled on some 51 Roadrunners as they lined up on the startline outside Bay House School on this the 33rd running of this fast and flat Hampshire league race. Absent were the traditional hurricane force winds as a fairly still and not too fresh morning made for a pleasant start.

Starting from Browndown Road the crew in white red and blue set out on this 2 lap race along the Portsmouth Road continuing to Marine Parade before finding the samba band for a few mesmeric beats before finding the unusually packaged refreshments at the water station and continuing toward the only slight incline on the course before making the turn onto the Promenade for the return leg. 

The course feeling almost like an out and back, our fantastic team could see each other at different stages of the race, offering cheers and whoops of support as they passed. 

A sharp U-turn at the halfway point was a welcome sight made all the more joyful by the appearance of the IWRR support crew cheering their hearts out giving every single member a lift as they went. It was here that unfortunately Keith Ruth decided to pull out after struggling with his chest. It’s a hard decision to make, but sometimes its the right one.

Second lap, concentration . Keep moving, keep believing. Get past the Samba band once more, get to the turnpoint, then it’s only a Parkrun left. 

Sean Williams ran an absolute blinder, continuing his rise and rise over the longer distances. In only his 3rd half marathon, he managed to snatch another pb as he crossed the line in just over 83 minutes taking 8th V45 to boot. Just seconds behind him were Bill Goozee and Michael Douglas, who, like last year, ran in together, closely followed by Stuart Backhouse taking 10th V45 and bringing the first men’s team home within 32 seconds of each other. Great teamwork fellas.

For the ladies, it was our lioness Hayley Baxter that stormed it around in 98 minutes exactly to give herself a well earned PB. 

“I hated that today!” She tells me “I felt dreadful from mile 3 onwards” 

But she did what she does best. She dug deep and got the job done in true Baxter style taking 12th V40. Next in was Zoe Sherwin in yet another PB time and 15th V40, continuing what has been a remarkable year for her. Completing the First Ladies team was our fabulous junior Abigail Keyte, running her first half marathon in a cracking 1hr 50 minutes. 

“She ran the last 3 miles with a big smile on her face” says dad Tim “I’m so proud of her”

In they came, one by one and two by two. All taking advantage of the favourable conditions by running their hearts out. No fewer than 19 PBS were set, most notable being Nick Carter taking a whopping 36 minutes off his and Tanya Clifford & Jess Hill for knocking 8 minutes off theirs. Also big congratulations to Simon Paul and Eloise Radestock for running their first half marathons, to Gill Shaw for making her club debut and to Sue Hunter for placing 12th in her age category, Lucy Deville for taking 5th place in hers and our second claim member Brian Harris taking 13th in his.

Sean Williams – 1.23.03 PB

Bill Goozee – 1.23.25

Michael Douglas – 1.23.26

Stu Backhouse – 1.23.35

Ross Wilkes – 1.25.17 PB

Andrew MacArthur – 1.27.24 PB

David Blake – 1.31.36 PB

Richard Bezer – 1.34.29 PB

Hayley Baxter – 1.38.00 PB

Garry Sharp – 1.38.49

Paul Martin – 1.41.31

Zoe Sherwin – 1.42.13 PB

Glen Jones – 1.45.07 PB

Kevin Rann – 1.45.08

Simon Paul – 1.47.07

Giorgio Marinelli – 1.48.17 PB

Nick Carter – 1.50.00 PB

Abigail Keyte – 1.50.46

Sarah Ward – 1.50.54

James Shoulder – 1.51.08

George Butler – 1.51.09

Jess Hill – 1.51.29 PB

Dave Wilcock – 1.52.45 PB

Lisa Upstell – 1.54.19

Julie Rasmussen – 1.57.10 PB

Jane Andrew – 1.59.51

Sarah Sharp – 1.59.25

Julie Ray – 2.01.56

Ian Dyer – 2.01.57

Zoe Elliot – 2.02.02

Julie Salter – 2.02.03

Steve Hickman – 2.02.04

Julia Parker – 2.02.07 PB

Sally Trotman – 2.02.09

Margaret Niland-Murphy – 2.06.17

Alison Butcher – 2.06.29 PB

Sue Hunter- 2.11.11

Tanya Clifford – 2.14.25 PB

Caroline Curliss – 2.14.57

Tarnia Eldridge – 2.14.58

Bridget Keyte – 2.15.40

Steve Hunt – 2.22.15

Eloise Radestock – 2.27.19

Lucy DeVille – 2.27.40

Debbie Radestock – 2.29.52 PB

Brian Harris – 2.31.14

Gill Shaw – 2.40.08 PB

Tracey Houdoire – 2.49.37

Lyn Snow – 2.49.41 PB

Remembrance 10k

Run on closed roads, this memorial run visits the country lanes on the outskirts of Portsmouth before taking the runners along the top of a section of Portsdown Hill providing some stunning vista across the city, the Solent and beyond. 

Starting at Fort Nelson, near Fareham, club stalwart Lyn Snow lined up to take on the 10k course despite the stormy conditions. 

From the start at the Nelson Monument, Lyn made her way along Portsdown Hill Road before turning toward Southwick before traversing Boarhunt Common. An out and back section followed as she crossed the River Wallington twice before passing between Grub and Mill Coppices before embarking upon the biggest climb of the run taking her back to the Lord Nelson Monument and the welcome sight of the finish line. 

“It was quite tough” said Lyn “There were a few hills to contend with. I really missed the company of other road runners, but was rewarded at the end with a nice medal and lovely T-shirt” 

Lyn ran her heart out to clock 1.19.43. 


Poppy Half Marathon

Steve Hickman continued his recent spell of shorter races by taking on the Poppy Run this weekend.

Bexhill-on-Sea was the seaside location for this remembrance event. Starting at the iconic De La Warr Pavillion, this promenade event offers 3 distances, a 5k, 10k and a half marathon all selling out and raising money for the local Royal British Legion.

Steve entered the half marathon race with his son Rick.

“It’s blowing a bit!” Steve said on his arrival

He was right too! A tasty headwind remained from the storms the night before as he lined up with Ricky on Saturday. 

2 laps of an 8k circuit followed by a final loop of the 5k route made up the fairly flat course into the half marathon distance.

Steve finished in a fantastic 1.55.30 and 11th in the “old blokes” category as he calls it (that’s V55 to you and me). Unfortunately he got his ass kicked by his son… again! 

“I don’t mind at all” said Steve “I really enjoyed it though” 

Well done to both of them for running a great race and supporting a fantastic cause.

Scenic Seven

Billed as the most picturesque 7 mile race in Suffolk, this relatively flat race is hosted by the Stowmarket Striders and supports the Poppy Appeal by the Royal British Legion.

Sarah Morris lined up on a surprisingly bright morning to take on the 7 sunny miles. 

“Thankfully the rain stopped and the sun came out”

Starting at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket, the course took Sarah through Onehouse  before looping round Harleston for 3 miles before returning along the same route back to the Leisure Centre. 

Sarah ran brilliantly to finish in 1.09.43. 

Dark Valley

The Moors Valley Country Park just outside of Ringwood was the setting for the this White Star Running event The Dark Valley. With 2 distances on offer the event is hugely popular.

10 roadrunners picked up their numbers as the sun started to droop down below the horizon on Saturday. It had rained heavily all day so they were relieved to find only a light drizzle falling as they donned their mandatory illuminations and took their spots on the startline.

The 10k set off first. Pete and Jodie Wilmott returned for the second year in a row alongside Jane Andrew and Claire Howard. The single lap course took them into the depths of the forest, lit only by the runners themselves with their headtorches (or fairy lights in some cases) Gravel track, sandy paths, muddy trails and some huge puddles were interspersed with a few short, sharp inclines.

Half an hour later the half runners set off following the same route as the 10k runners before them (just slightly more churned up by now). Two slightly different laps faced them in the darkness. 

The infamous White Star Lovestation was placed 3.5 miles along the course. Serving cider, raspberry vodka and water alongside sweets, crisps and Jaffa cake gherkin sandwiches (yes really!)

“Honestly! They’re Greeeeeeaaaaatttttt!” Dan Williams tells me. Thanks Dan, but I’ll take your word on that one… not sure I need to find out for myself!

Pete crossed the line first in a fantastic 3rd place overall in the 10k and 1st V50

“Last step on the podium! I’m really pleased!”

Jodie was next in, pleased to finish having suffered from a knee injury for the past few weeks. Jane and Claire ran together to return to the finish area to take  4th and 5th V55s.

“There were so many fairy lights!” said Jane “it was so well organised”

In the half, they were approaching their 2nd lap. Underfoot it was very muddy by now as 500 runners had trudged through the wet forest … twice! And to make it worse, the rain really started to hammer down. 

“It was torrential” said Ian Williams 

Dan Williams was the first of the Roadrunners to finish. He went out hard for the first few miles and found himself in the leading pack.

“I’m still not feeling 100% so I pulled it right back. I just enjoyed the second lap, chatting at the Lovestation and stuff”

Gordon Mucklow, Jenny Dewing and Charlotte Williams made it back next 

“It was a brilliant fun” said Charlotte “It was just a bit damp!”

Lisa Upstell and Julie Rasmussen were only footsteps behind as they too crossed the line to pick up their beautiful medals, biscuits and bespoke buff. Lisa 5th in her age category and Julie 6th in hers. Last but by no means least was Ian Williams, soggy but triumphant. 

10k

Pete Wilmott- 48.26 

Jodie Wilmott- 1.08.48

Claire Howard- 1.12.40 

Jane Andrew- 1.12.41

Half 

Daniel Williams-1.50.20

Gordon Mucklow- 2.08.03

Jenny Dewing- 2.08.03

Charlotte Williams- 2.08.08

Lisa Upstell-2.08.58 5th v35

Julie Rasmussen- 2.09.45 

Ian Williams- 2.17.52