All posts by Sarah Holmes

Salisbury 10 #HRRL8

The banks of the River Avon were the backdrop of the eighth Hampshire Road Race League race. Starting in the City of Salisbury Athletics track, some 12 Roadrunners made trip across the Solent to compete in the 10 mile race. 

Winding North from the city, the runners made their way along the undulating course to the Woodford Valley and then returning with the Cathedral spires in view to finish back on the track.

Ross Wilkes made it 3 in a row as he scored himself yet another magnificent PB, despite only running Manchester marathon 7 days ago. He finished 33rd overall and 16th in his age category. David Blake continues his great form by also scoring himself a PB, whilst Garry Sharp also pulled his best time out the bag completing the first men’s team and giving himself the 17th V50 spot.

For the ladies it was Jodie Wilmott that returned back to the track first in a PB of 71 minutes having run the whole way with husband Peter, taking 20th overall and 9th V35. Zoe Sherwin wasn’t too far behind in a yet another PB for her 

“I wasn’t going for a time really” she chimes “That was my last league race for a while so it’s nice to go out on a high”

Tanya Clifford completed the First Ladies team, also in a PB in her last race before the London Marathon. 

Great performances by everyone.

Ross Wilkes – 1.02.14

David Blake – 1.07.37

Garry Sharp – 1.09.38

Peter Wilmott – 1.11.15

Jodie Wilmott – 1.11.15

Matt Fletcher – 1.12.57

Kevin Rann – 1.17.57

Zoe Sherwin – 1.17.59

Nick Scott-Denness – 1.32.55

Tanya Clifford – 1.40.25

Bridget Keyte – 1.41.39

Sarah Sharp – 1.41.40

Boston Half Marathon

Run on the same day as the more famous US marathon the Boston races have a very appealing factor… not only is why weather a lot better on this side of the Atlantic, they are the flattest marathon and half marathon courses in the country… FACT.

This year is only the 4th running of these events, but given the lack of elevation, the entry for them is set to grow and grow.

For the second year in a row, Lyn Snow made the 170 mile journey northbound to Lincolnshire. Nestled between Kings Lynn and Skegness on the East Coast lies the port of Boston and the home of this relatively new race.

Starting at the towns Market area the course meanders to Freistin and then Butterwick. It is here that the course splits as the marathoners head northerly along The Wash toward Wrangle, but our Lyn continued her journey out to RSPB reserve near the coast before returning to the finish at Boston College. 

She finished in 2.49.41, knocking another whopping 9 minutes off her PB – well done Lyn 

Brighton Marathon and 10k

With its backdrop of sun sea and sand, it’s bustling town and its reputation as the one of the fastest course in the country its easy to see over 20000 Runners flock to the Seaside resort of Brighton to take part in the 10th anniversary of the running festival there. 

Callie Wareham, Alison Batchelor and Briony Andrew took on the 10k whilst 11 Roadrunners took on the full marathon, one of them having run this event since it’s inaugural running in 2010. 

“I had a special number and everything” said Steve Hickman 

Special indeed, he was one of only 102 that have participated in all of them. Phil Mannall returned for his first marathon for a little while despite nursing an IT injury. Simon Weeks and Sam Grist returned for the second year in a row whilst besties Jane Andrew and Claire Howard accompanied Janes daughter Louise Clark on her 26.2 mile journey. They weren’t the only family connections making the journey over to West Sussex. Taking on this epic distance for the first time were cousins Gary & Robbie McFarlane, raising money for the Wight Brainy Bunch whilst Sarah Morris was accompanied on her debut by her dad, and long time runner Steve on her first. 

9am and the 10k runners were off. Shooting down from the start at Preston Park, they did a circuit of The Gran Parade, passing St Peters Church before returning to pass the iconic Royal Pavilion to emerge opposite the equally famous Pier. They turned left for an out and back section along Kingsway before returning to pass the pier and head to the finishing arch on Madeira Drive.

Briony was first of the girls home in a cracking 52 minutes. Callie Wareham was just 3 minutes behind her and Alison Batchelor just 90 seconds later

“I really enjoyed that” Ali tells me “it was great to finish and then cheer on the marathoners” 

45 minutes later and the marathoners were off. Starting also at a Preston Park, the course snakes its way through the city, before heading out to Ovingdean. The runners then made their way back towards the pier knowing that the next time they see it, they’ll be at mile 26.

Continuing along the seafront they reach the halfway point before throwing a right turn into Hove. After about 4 miles they emerge back onto the seafront and out to the dreaded power station at Southwick. 

From there the welcome sight of Hove lawns take the runners back along the Kingsway with the mirage of the never approaching Pier (and the finish line) dangling in front of them like a carrot. 

The conditions were perfect as they made their way around the course. They all smashed their way around the first half of the distance, passing the pier, knowing that the next time they see it, they’ll be at mile 26. 

Phil Mannall was the first roadrunner back in a fantastic 3hrs 41 minutes, 

“I ran a good pace in the first half, but my niggly IT band started playing up. It was never going to be pretty, but I got round”

Next in was Simon, taking 3 minutes off his Pb.

“I really enjoyed that” he tells me “Ithink it helped having run it the previous year. The last 10k was tough with the headwind. Still, I am pleased to get a PB… I’m heading in the right direction”

Not too far behind was 10/10 runner Steve, pulling out a corking time having claimed he was going to take it easy due to a cold.

“I really pleased with that” he beams later “I got a special medal and T shirt for doing all 10. That’s marathon 156 done”

First back for the girls was Louise, having run the race in memory of her dad Darren. She also played a blinder taking 24 off her Pb.

“That was definitely my last marathon” she says later on Facebook. But as any marathoner will know, we all say that….. so Louise…. we’ll see!

Mum Jane and Claire crossed the line on Madeira Drive next having run the whole way together with their usual smiles and positivity.

Sam graced the finishing arch next having fought his demons and won.

“I had an idea that I wouldn’t be able to finish, but what you can push yourself to do is scary. I’m so pleased with my result considering”

The MacFarlanes dug deep to finish together, showing real grit and determination to get the job done.

“The last few miles were hell” Gary exclaimed “I wouldn’t have made it without Robbie” 

Last but by no means least were Sarah and her Dad. Having struggled with knee pain in the second half, it was hard going. But she was rewarded at the end by crossing the line with her dad. What a beautiful, emotional experience to share.

10k

Briony Andrew – 52.26

Callie Wareham – 55.38

Alison Batchelor – 57.02

Marathon

Phil Mannall – 3.41.35

Simon Weeks – 4.08.40

Stephen Hickman – 4.11.53

Louise Clark – 4.35.20

Jane Andrew – 4.41.49

Claire Howard – 4.41.49

Sam Grist – 5.17.35

Gary McFarlane – 5.23.55

Robbie McFarlane – 5.23.56

Steve Morris – 5.28.40

Sarah Morris – 5.28.40 

Manchester Marathon

The flattest marathon course in the UK tempted 4 road runners into entering the Greater Manchester Marathon on Sunday. Just 180ft of elevation across the entire course makes this a perfect opportunity to run a PB.

James Shoulder and Ross Wilkes made the 250 mile journey in the quest for a PB, whilst tracksters Darren Cole and Abigail Farwell both picked this one as their debut 26.2 mile journey.

Organised by the Salford Harriers, it was first run in 1909, this marathon has had several periods of absence and accompanying course variations. In 2012 the marathon was revived and brought back to Trafford, the heart of sport in the city.

It was nippy but dry as they nervously lined up amongst the 20 000 strong field outside Old Trafford for the early 9am start. James stood side by side with his twin brother George who was there to pace him to crack the 4 hour mark.

9am came and went and they were set off in their coloured waves. Taking on the first 10k at their planned paces to leafy Sale. The streets were well supported and well marshalled, with plenty of entertainment on route. From blues bands to choirs, the local community really get behind this fantastically organised event. 

“There was a brilliant choir outside Sale Town Hall at mile 6” said James’s Dad, David “They kept us entertained whilst we waited for James and George. They were very smiley as they came through”

Winding through Timperly, Brooklands and Altrincham , the course takes the Runners on a tour of Manchester’s suburbs.

“I stuck to my race plan” said Abi “I felt really good as the miles ticked by. I was  high fiving the kids, dancing to the music and enjoying the support of the thousands of people shouting encouragement. I caught a glimpse of a IWRR vest at one point, it was James. I cheered him as I passed by”

Onward they went toward Aston upon Mersey and the 18 mile mark. Darren had been flying along until this point, maintaining a speedy pace on course for his target sub3 hour time. However a niggle he had been nursing reared it’s ugly head and his muscles started to tie up. 

“Effort wise I felt comfortable, it was just my legs. I made the decision to ease right back and wait for my fellow club mates”

No niggles for Ross though as he kept up his target pace. He caught up with Darren at the 20 mile mark

“I was just starting to lag a bit when I spotted him and he ran with me next couple of miles. That bit of support from a club mate went a long way”

Riss continued his journey back to the finishing line at Salford, dipping under the 3 and a half hour mark and taking a remarkable 17 minutes off his PB”

“That has been a long road of hard work” he chirps 

What an amazing achievement for rocket Ross. Back out on the course, Abi and James were still plugging away, the smiles faded now as the hurt started kicking in. At mile 22, Abi caught up with Darren

“I was in pretty bad shape by then, my aches had turned to pains. I saw Darren. I thought he’d finished and jogged back to find me. I had no idea that he’d had issues and hadn’t finished yet! He decided to wait for me and run me to the finish. It was emotional having him at my side and the support of the crowd. He really kept me going. We got to the finishing straight and Darren said  “once round the track to go!” She fought through the pain to give it everything for the last 400m. They crossed the line together.

“Spurring Abi on was amazing” said Darren, beaming with pride “I would rather have shared that with her than carried on on my own. It was a special experience”

Speaking of running together, James was still out there with his twin. George doing a fantastic job of keeping him on pace the whole way, always a few steps in front, leading him, pushing him, putting up with his grumbling and the occasional swear word. He came into the sight of his dad and sister Victoria with just 200m to go. The crowds thick, the atmosphere carnival like. The clock was ticking down and James was battling to get under the 4 hour mark. It was going to be close! He crossed the line, he’d done it! With 12 seconds to spare! On the sidelines there were tears in his dads eyes, watching his two boys share this beautiful moment. 

Ross Wilkes – 3.27.39

Abigail Farwell- 3.46.48

James Shoulder – 3.59.47

Darren Cole – 3.59.50

Combe Gibbet to Overton

6 Roadrunners took on the rolling countryside between Berkshire and Hampshire borders in this off road point to point race.

After collecting their numbers at the finish line at Overton Primary School, Simon Riley, Michael Coultrup, Judy McCabe, Steve Bennett, Julie Rasmussen and Sarah Holmes were transported via bus over to the highground at Inkpen Long Barrow and the site of the huge Gibbet.

The gibbet was erected on the later named Gallows Down in 1676. Despite being replaced several times over the past 342 years, it only ever served its purpose for 2 souls over that time. Serving only as a local landmark now, Our runners shivered in the mist swirling around it as they waited for the 2 o’clock start.

Heading out, the undulation was steady with equal amounts of ups and downs as they made their way through Eastwick, along the Wayfarers Walk before skirting the Highclere Estate, (that’s Downtown Abbey from the telly box)

They descended through Woodcott Down before straddling a tiny part of the A34. It was here that the most sapping part of the course revealed itself. A 2 mile climb took them past ancient Tumuli up on to the famously named Watership Down. 

Without a bunny rabbit in sight, they then began the long descent into Overton and the welcome sight of the school.

Simon was back first in just under 2 hours, 8th in his age category and 27th overall.

“That was by far the hardest trail race I’ve competed in”

Michael was home 10 minutes later, finishing 10th in his age category.

“That was brilliant! I enjoyed every step” 

Steve and Judy were next, giving Steve 6th in his age category and Judy 10th in hers. They ran the whole course together as always. It was Judy’s longest run in a while, so a special well done to her.

Holmsie was in 5 minutes later, having picked up the pace considerably in the last 5k to take 11th V40

“What a beautiful route! Shame it was so hazy as the views were amazing!”

Julie brought the teams bidding to a close, having run a strong and steady pace all the way taking 9th in her category.

Simon Riley – 1.59.00

Michael Coultrup – 2.09.41

Steve Bennett – 2.41.19

Judy McCabe – 2.41.19

Sarah Holmes – 2.46.20

Julie Rasmussen – 2.49.55

Wickham 20

Julie Rasmussen travelled up solo for the inaugural running of the Wickham 20. Set in the beautiful Meon Valley, just North of the village of Wickham in Hampshire, famous for its horse fair.

With 3 distances on offer Julie opted for the 3 lap, 20 mile option as part of her preparations for the London Marathon. She lined up nervously at the start.

The 10k loops were on closed country roads taking Julie from Wickham out in to the undulating countryside into Mislingford before heading toward Swanmore. A South turn took Julie on a little lap around Shirrell Heath before returning her to Wickham to repeat the circuit.

“I really enjoyed the first 2 laps” she tells me afterwards “It’s a lovely course, but it was hilly”

Julie kept going into her 3rd and final lap, the hills starting to take their toll a little bit.

“I really wanted to practise my marathon pacing, but it was just too hilly”

She dug deep and persevered to complete the final lap bringing her over the finishline line in 3.28.52 giving her a fantastic 2nd place in her age category and 29th female overall.

Dave Dellar 5 and Winter Series Winner

The Dave Dellar 5 always signals the start of the Summer. The clocks are about to change, the evenings are getting lighter and we celebrate the end of the Winter series. 

Dave Dellar and his wife Iris were founding members of the Isle of Wight Road Runners back in 1988 when there was only a handful of members. He has sadly passed away, but would be beaming with pride if he could see how his tiny little running club has grown into the biggest club on the Island.

So as a nominated race, speed is not the essence to winning the coveted trophies for this race. Runners must accurately guess how long they think it will take them to complete the 5 mile course. This leaves the competition wide open to every single entrant and an exciting reveal during the presentation.

Runners started out from the Riverside Centre and made their way toward the College before ducking through the underpass and turning onto Forest Road. They then made their way into Gunville before turning off at Argos and down Fieldfare Road. They snaked their way through the estate before emerging At Sainsbury’s zipping past the petrol station, under the dual carriageway making their way back to the Riverside Centre via the “Bargemans Path” where the time keepers were frantically scribbling down everyone’s times. 

First over the line were…..

For the boys

1st Ross Wilkes

2nd Michael Douglas

3rd Simon Pilcher

And for the ladies….

1st Trish Train

2nd Jodie Wilmott 

3rd Polly Segar 

But as already mentioned, the bling winners were not those out in front, but those that paced themselves accurately.

Male 

1st – Simon Riley

2nd – Simon Weeks 

3rd – Pete Sexton

Female

1st Lisa Upstell

2nd Tanya Clifford

3rd Lou Howell

Well done to all the winners. 

Last but by no means least the winners of the Winter Series were announced. This is a calendar of 12 nominated races (again, runners guessing their times most accurately) spanning 4 to 7 miles. Each week, each nomination will score points correlating with the runners estimated time. 

This years winners are….

1st  Garry Sharp

2nd   Steve Bennett 

3rd  Richard Whittington 

Massive congratulations to Garry, who incidentally was also the winner of the Summer series trophy.

All that was left to do was devour the complimentary chip butties and enjoy a drink or two.

London Landmarks Half Marathon

In only its second year, The London Landmarks Half is already so popular that places are balloted. But that was no barrier to 5 lucky Roadrunners as Bridget Keyte, Giorgio Marinelli, Caroline Curliss, Andrew Tapsell and Emma Ford secured their places to line up on Pall Mall alongside 10000 other runners on Sunday morning.

Taking in some huge landmarks along the way this route certainly lives upto it’s name. Nelsons Column, St.Pauls Cathedral, The Gherkin, The Tower, The Shard, The London Eye and Big Ben… and that’s not considering all the little quirky ones too! Passing the houses of Guy Fawkes, Dick Whittington and Shakespeare, Harry Potter’s Bank, The real Bank of London, (with its 400,000 gold bars in the cellar), Britain’s smallest Police Station, the Monument to the Great Fire of London and an 11 foot grasshopper to name just a few, our quintet didn’t know where to look as they make there way around the 13.1 mile course 

From Pall Mall our fab five made their way through Trafalgar Square and past the Oscar Wilde memorial on The Strand before doing a little tour around Aldwych passing Australia House, (more commonly recognised as Gringotts Bank from Harry Potter) before behaving themselves as they passed the Royal Courts of Justice before taking a u turn back down The Strand with The Shard reaching up into the clouds on South Bank. A quick nip over Waterloo Bridge in both directions then guided our runners East along the leafy Embankment before winding their way past St.Pauls, up Cheapside and on toward the halfway point at Holborn Viaduct.

Onward they went, turning onto Fleet Street and then onto Chancery Lane and then High Holborn, back down Cheapside passing the famous “Bow Bells”. They swung a left to pass the 7000 seater Roman Amphitheatre and looping around the Bank of England to emerge on Threadneedle Street passing the giant grasshopper on top of the Royal Exchange. Onward to Monument, the site of the origin of the Great Fire of London. A little wiggle on and around Cannon Street before passing Dick Whittington’s house and continuing on past Billingsgate before doing a u turn in front of the iconic Tower of London and Tower Bridge. 10 miles in by now, that was the turn for home. 5k of embankment in front of them. The London Eye getting closer with every footstep. 

With Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in sight on the South Bank, they passed Blackfriars Pier, Kings College and Cleopatras Needle to the turn at Westminster Pier and of course arguably the most famous landmark of them all – Big Ben. Past Whitehall Palace, for the last blast down Whitehall sprinting past Horse Guards and over the finishline outside Downing Street, with some rather fabulous medal givers.

Andrew “Tappers” Tapsell was the first road runner home, having run it with some work colleagues for charity Children with Cancer.

“The last couple of miles hurt” he quips “I won’t be running any more halves for a while!”

Giorgio was next home in just over 2 hours. A phenomenal achievement considering he broke his foot only a few weeks ago.

“Boooom” he messaged me soon after “not a bad comeback!”

Bridget and Caroline were next having run the whole race together, seemingly smiling their whole way around

“I loved that” said Bridget “It was a tad warm, but the support on the course was great. It was a twisty, turny Route, but it was really enjoyable. Brilliantly organised and great fun”

Only a minute or so later Emma made it to Downing Street having accompanied her daughter Lily all the way on her first ever Half Marathon.

“She ran the whole way… I’m so damn proud of her” Emma said later on Facebook

Sounds like great fun was had by all…. ballots open already for 2020

Andrew Tapsell – 1.55.35

Giorgio Marinelli- 2.00.20

Caroline Curliss – 2.26.40

Bridget Keyte – 2.26.40

Emma Ford – 2.28.08

Lentemarathon

Based in the suburban areas south of the city of Amsterdam centre, this is a picturesque marathon covering banksides, forests and the streets of Amstelveen.

Ian Dyer somehow managed to make it over The Channel this weekend after forgetting his wallet and his pre paid tickets… luckily he remembered his passport.

“It’s going to be an expensive weekend for my mate haha” he chirps after realising his mistake. 

Ian’s bad luck didn’t stop there. The tram system that operates in the area was not working on the morning of the race.

“I had to walk and got lost. I was walking around for 40 minutes and only saw one other runner”

Ian found his way the start eventually at Startbaan Athletics Track in time for the off.

After a lap around the track, the course winds its way through the surrounding streets of Keizer Karelpark before emerging alongside De Poel for a trot around its banks. Ian then disappeared in to Amsterdam Forest for a quite a while as 12 more beautiful km ticked by.

“It was pancake flat. It was so hard to not go out too fast”

As he left the forest behind him, the halfway point beckoned at Bovenkerk. Ian turned south following the Bovenkerkerpolder as he made his way toward Uithoorn.

“That bit was tough because you could just see open ground for miles and miles around”

Ian eventually found himself on the banks of the River Amstel. The flat course beginning to taking its toll on his calves.He followed the rivers course for about  5 miles before embarking on the last 5k through the commercial district and the welcome sight of the finish at Stadshart Amstelveen.

“I crossed the line and looked at my time… I’d been training with the hope of achieving a sub 4 hour time… my unofficial time said 4 hours and 5 SECONDS! I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry!”

But after a short wait the times were finalised … 3 hours 59 minutes and 49 seconds! He’d done it!

As a footnote the other runner that Ian saw that had got lost before the race did ok too……. he won! 

The Rog Run 2019

The fifth running of The Rog Run in glorious sunshine took place on Sunday. Celebrating the life of Isle of Wight Road Runners long time member Roger Walker-Reed and acknowledging his massive contribution to the club.

The late and great Roger Walker-Reed

Roger’s family have kindly donated some of the running legends old trophies, and boy they are worth winning! they really are some amazing bling!  

Those who can guess most accurately how long it will take them to complete the course, (nomination), are those which emerge victorious. Thus making the race wide open. 

Following one of Roger’s favourite training routes, the 7ish mile loop strarted on Ventnor seafront, the runners made their way past the the iconic paddling pool and onto the cliff path before embarking upon the routes only climb. Starting at Castle Road, then Gills Cliff Road, the runners made their way up all 800 feet of ascent to the crest of the formidable St Boniface Down where the runners were treated, for their hard work, with 360 degree, resplendent, panoramic views taking in Culver, Tennyson, Portsmouth and beyond. As if that wasn’t reward enough, there was also an aid station full of sweeties and Bucks Fizz!

After a mile or so along the ridge of the high ground they began their descent with gusto. Flying down Cowleaze Hill to the hairpin bend sending them hurtling down Bonchurch Shute. Past the ancient church of St.Boniface, the duck pond and onto the seafront where they dodged the dog walkers and rare cuckoo spotters to return to the point where they started. 

First home this year was Simon Riley in a nifty 52 minutes, followed by Trever McAlister a few seconds later to take second and Craig Wilson in 3rd. For the ladies it was Phillipa Daley that returned 1st with Julie King in 2nd Lou Howell and Jenny Dewing to arriving back in unison to take joint 3rd.

However as previously mentioned, the trophy lifters aren’t the first past the post, but those closest to their guestimated times. This year’s winners were

1st man: Simon Riley (12 seconds out)

2nd man: Paul Cameron (25 seconds out)

3rd man: Ian Williams (36 seconds)

1st lady: Margaret Niland-Murphy (3 seconds out)

2nd lady: Lou Howell (20 seconds out)

3rd lady: Alison Butcher (22 seconds out)

Entrants also made up self titled teams of 4 for the final trophy for a combined nominated time. 

1st team: Age Concerned – Simon Riley, Paul Cameron, Matt Fletcher, Steve Bennett.

2nd team: The New Descenders – Tracey Dillon, Stephen Lee, Sally Roberts, Brian Warren.

3rd team: Slogging Crocks – Alison Butcher, Fay Tosdevin, Denise Hayley, Chani Jones.

Most importantly, the event is a fundraiser for 2 charities in Roger’s name. Macmillan and SSAFA (providers of lifelong support for our forces and their families) 

In total the runners raised nearly £500