All posts by Sarah Holmes

New York Marathon

New York, New York! Land of the Skyscraper and home of the American Dream. 5 boroughs and 8.5 million people….. All watched over by the glorious Lady Liberty. Its bigger, bolder and brasher than you can possibly imagine. 

It’s little wonder that it has become host to the world’s biggest, brashest marathon too.

Founded in 1970 by Fred Lebrow, just 55 runners embarked upon the course which took them around and around Central Park costing just a dollar to enter. It wasn’t until 1976 and the US bicentenary celebrations that they decided to take the course through all 5 boroughs of the city as a one off parade. Over a million people lined the street that year making it an unforgettable spectacle that the city had to adopt. It’s remained the same ever since. 

Steve Hunt was lucky enough to get a place on the public ballot

“I applied through the ballot on the off chance thinking I wouldn’t get in. I’d only ever wanted to do London which I was already doing this year, so I really didn’t think I’d get in”

Jane Andrew made the Tranatlantic trip to run with son in law Richard Clark in memory of her sorely missed late husband and fellow IWRR Darren.

“It was the one marathon that Darren really, really wanted to do”

Jane, her family and many of Darren’s friends have been embarking on all sorts of sporting challenges raising a phenomenal £13,000 to date for the ICU unit at St Mary’s and raising awareness for the importance of organ donation. Rich had taken one of Darren’s club vests to wear on race day as a beautiful tribute to his memory.

They all arrived a couple of days early so they could explore the city and excitedly collect their numbers.

Steve’s first port of call after getting his number was the 9/11 museum, paying his respects to those who died in the city that fateful day, before he started having fun

Race day arrived and they excitedly made their way to the start.

“They has free tea at the start” said Jane

And we all know how much our Jane loves her tea! 

A clear blue sky shone above them as they lined up in their start corrals in Fort Wandsworth on Staten Island. The course goes straight over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in what can only be described as one of the greatest sporting sights known to man.

“The Verrazano Bridge looked daunting” said Steve “but there was so much energy in the air that you didn’t really notice the climb. Once you stepped off into Brooklyn you were hit by a wall of noise”

Once over the bridge the runners enter the second borough of Brooklyn. Known for its creativity and entrepreneurship, this borough is the most populated. Through the neighbourhoods of Bay Bridge, Sunset Park, Williamsburg and Greenpoint they ran, cheered on by some of the 2 million spectators that now line the route. 

They all tried to settle into a steady rythmn and not get swept up in the excitement of the occasion… or in Steve’s case trip over and manholes! 

“I couldn’t believe it. I was 2 years ago exactly to the day that I fell over and broke my nose on the Hayling 10!”

But he got up, dusted himself off and carried on

Halfway point. And the runners cross the Polanski Bridge into Queens. Despite being the largest borough, the course only takes in 2 and a half miles of it as it soon reaches the Queensboro Bridge. Briony and Charlotte caught sight of Jane, Rich and friend Paul but despite their screams the trio didn’t hear them amidst the noise. 

“The support was amazing” Jane tells me “The Police and the Fire departments were all out in force cheering, the entertainment, the gospel choirs, it was all just fantastic” 

And then…… Silence…. The Queensboro Bridge. Taking them over the East River, crossing over the top of Roosevelt Island with only sound the metronomic sound of trainers hitting tarmac and the swirling wind. 

“That was a real uphill struggle” said Jane “It seemed to go on forever”

“I hated it too” said Steve “but I knew my wife was just on the the other side, that kept me going”

On the other side they emerge into the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the 16 mile mark. This is where Steve indeed managed to find his wife Donna in the crowd. 

1st Avenue took them north through the Upper East Side before crossing the Willis Avenue Bridge into The Bronx, ticking off the final borough. 

After only a mile and a half they made the turn for home as they crossed the Madison Avenue Bridge and the 21 mile mark. 

Only 5 and a bit to go…. 

Through Harlem they went. At last the sight of Central Park looms before them but they are by no means out of the woods. Just under 4 miles are still left to go. 

After a mile on the periphery they entered this iconic park at 23.5 miles. The ups and downs of the park taking their toll but softened by the huge level of support from the crowd. Jane spotted the girls this time and Steve randomly high fived Santa before they finally reached Colombus Circle and the 385 yards to the finishline outside the famous Tavern in the Green.  

Jane Andrew – 5.03.16

Steve Hunt – 5.12.43

Dedicated to the memory of Darren Andrew 

23.05.1965 – 09.01.2018

Hayling 10 – #HRRL3

Returning to the HRRL calendar, Havant AC were the hosts for the Hayling 10 mile race.

On the Southern tip of Hayling Island, the Roadrunners fielded two full teams to take on this fast and flat 10 mile course. The conditions were surprisingly good after the record 109 mph winds and torrential rain of the previous day. 

Starting on Bacon Lane they went through West Town before heading on to a particularly fast out and back section of the course along the Old Hayling Billy Railway Line which was littered with debris and huge puddles from the now dissipated storm. 

Returning back onto the roads they passed the Ferry Boat Pub and then onto another out and back on the seafront at Eaststoke. 

“It was great seeing other runners going the other way” said Vice Chair Sarah Sharp “It gave me a lift on tired legs” 

Finally they returned to Bacon Lane and the welcome sight of the finish. Ross Wilkes took 28th overall giving him…. yes you’ve guessed it….YET ANOTHER PB!! Garry Sharp also had a cracking run who finished a few seconds quicker than his recent Great South Run. 

Polly Segar was the next IWRR to make it back in a tidy 77 minutes and 5th V35 – a very welcome return to racing for this little rocket – well done Polly! 

Ian Dyer also ran well to finish next in 81 minutes with James Shoulder battling a cold getting his medal next. Steve Rackett, (making his club debut alongside his sister Sue Hunter), finished next followed by the the rest of the ladies team as Sarah, Sue and Lyn as they all ran steadily to complete the course with smiles on their faces. Sue took 11th her age catagory – great running Sue! 

Ross Wilkes – 1.01.35

Garry Sharp – 1.11.20

Polly Segar – 1.17.25

Ian Dyer – 1.21.33

James Shoulder – 1.26.09

Steve Rackett – 1.28.23

Sarah Sharp – 1.31.46

Sue Hunter – 1.38.41

Lyn Snow – 2.03.10

Gosport Half Marathon #HRRL4

It was all smiles as 27 Roadrunners lined up amidst a 2000 strong field outside Bay House School on the 34th running of this fast and flat Hampshire league race. Despite heavy rain the previous day, the sky was clear and pleasantly warm and not a hint of the seemingly traditional hurricane force winds that generally plague this race. 

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 sent them away on to their second lap, still glimpsing their teammates at the many vantage points along the way. 

Simon Pilcher was the first IWRR over the line taking a magnificent 24th overall in another PB super speedy time for him. Bill Goozee was next home with Stuart Backhouse not too far behind taking 12th in his age category. Jamie Brenchley took his medal next completing the first men’s team. 

For the ladies it was Jodie Wilmott that headed them home in yet another cracking PB taking 31st female and 11th in her age category. Petya Torodova made her official club debut in style as she smiled her way around the course. Margaret Niland-Murphy saw a welcome return to form as she completed the first ladies team in a tidy PB, taking 4th in her age category in the process. 

In they came, one by one and two by two. All taking advantage of the favourable conditions by running their hearts out. A special mention to Lucy Deville for placing 5th in her age catagory and to Glen Jones, Andy Tickner, Gill Bushell, Julia Parker, Alison Butcher and Carolyn Littleton for running themselves PB times, especially Gill as she not only took a whopping 35 minutes off her time but also took partner and chairman Kev Winchcombe’s scalp along the way. 

“That was the fastest I’ve ever run… and I beat Kev!! I loved it!” She beams on Facebook 

“I’m so proud of her” said Kev, taking it in his stride 

Well done team

Simon Pilcher – 1.16.44 PB

Bill Goozee – 1.22.51 

Stuart Backhouse – 1.26.11

Jodie Wilmott – 1.32.30 PB 

Jamie Brenchley – 1.32.45

Glen Jones – 1.41.01 PB 

Petya Torodova – 1.43.17

Margaret Niland-Murphy – 1.45.56 PB 

Kevin Rann – 1.47.14

Andy Tickner – 1.52.00 PB 

Ivan Ward – 1.53.43

Gill Bushell – 1.55.34 PB 

Dave Wilcock – 1.56.00

James Shoulder – 1.56.13

Chani Jones – 2.00.03

Lisa Upstell – 2.00.14

Julia Parker – 2.01.03 PB

Alison Butcher – 2.02.52 PB

Kevin Winchcombe – 2.03.00

Carolyn Littleton – 2.03.33 PB

Briony Andrew – 2.09.02

Sue Hunter – 2.11.17

Steve Hunt – 2.21.16

Lucy Deville – 2.22.43

Gillian Shaw – 2.38.16

Beverly James – 2.40.55

Lyn Snow – 2.56.52

Cannock Chase Half

Sarah Ward and husband Ivan Ward took advantage of a trip to her hometown of Stafford by taking part in the inaugural running of this event nearby in the forests of Cannock Chase.

“Cannock has a special place in our hearts as we used to walk our dog Max there” says Sarah 

With 2 distances on offer, (also a 10k), the event sold out quickly with some 700 runners keen to explore the trails in full Autumnal bloom.

Despite some pretty apocalyptic weather causing travel chaos the day before, the sky was blue as team Ward lined up just in the nick of time for the kick off.

“There were loads of road closures due to flooding in the area. We only just made it!”

They set out from Penkridge Road on their 2 lap journey into the muddy, leafy, enclaves of the Forest. The single track made the first few miles hard going especially with the 10k runners setting off at the same time, but as the field stretched out a bit, team Ward got into their stride.

The course was challenging with copious undulation and treacherous conditions underfoot. However the glorious display of Autumn colour more than made up for it as the trees shone resplendently in the sunshine.

“I felt better in the 2nd lap” said Sarah “although you did know that the hills were coming” 

They did brilliantly in the conditions with Sarah completing in 2.08.32, taking 3rd in her age category and Ivan not too far behind in 2.16.02. 

Abbott Dash to the Finish

The marathon was not the only race being held in New York last weekend. Taking full advantage of the trip over the Atlantic to watch their mum take on the marathon on Sunday, Bryony Andrew and sister Charlotte hit the city streets and Central Park paths that make the last 5k of the marathon in the morning.

Starting outside the United Nations building, over 10000 runners tear through midtown Manhattan. Passing the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station and Bryant’s Park, they then turned up 6th Avenue passing the world famous Radio City Music Hall.

They then emerged into Central Park. Bryony and Charlotte wound their way through the park, passing the City Zoo before snaking their way along to the finishline outside the famous Tavern on the Green. 

Bryony finished first in 26.14 with her trademark smile

“That was brilliant!” She chirps “The weather, the crowds… coming through Central Park was amazing”

Charlotte wasn’t far behind in 33 minutes. 

Dark Valley

The Moors Valley Country Park just outside of Ringwood was the setting for White Star Running’s Dark Valley event. With 2 distances on offer it is a popular event that sells out fast every year. 

Despite record breaking wind speeds of 109.5 mph, 3 roadrunners managed to negotiate the swirling Solent and make their way to the New Forest. 

As the sun went down the wind had died down and the rain abated. Alison Butcher, Chani Jones and Louise Morris picked up their numbers and switched on their mandatory illuminations and took their spots on the startline.

Ali and Chani set out first on the half marathon. The course was 2 slightly different laps into the depths of the forest, lit only by the runners illuminating the paths with their headtorches and fairy lights. Gravel track, sandy paths, muddy trails and some sizeable puddles were interspersed with a few short, sharp inclines.

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

True to form in a White Star event, there was the infamous Lovestation placed 3.5 miles along the course. Serving the usual jelly sweets and water alongside schnapps and cider.

Louise made her way around in the darkness to collect her beautiful medal

“I was worried about not having my headphones, but I really enjoyed it”

Ali and Chani got back to race HQ and collected their medals, a little muddy, but pleased to have finished 

“The last few miles were a bit of a plod, I’m not sure that schnapps at the Lovestation was such a good idea after all” said Ali

10k

Louise Morris – 1.05.16

Half 

Alison Butcher – 2.47.58

Chani Jones – 2.48.00

Frankfurt Marathon

Germany’s fifth largest city played host to the country’s oldest road marathon last weekend.

First held in 1981, the race has increased in popularity year on year with some 27000 signing up thus far, making it the second largest race in Germany. It boasts a varied course mixing modern skyscrapers and historic facades culminating in an atmospheric “Ironman” style finish down the red carpet inside the city’s concert venue the Festhalle. 

The most likely draw however for so many of the participants is that it’s the 3rd fastest marathon course in the world… it’s flat… pancake flat.

Margaret Niland-Murphy took the trip over with partner Harry Vernon to make her marathon debut

“I’ve been thinking of doing a marathon for a while” she said “Harry’s sister lives in Frankfurt so we decided to visit her and run the marathon whilst we were there”

They were not the only ones to travel over to Hesse to utilise the flat course, Ladies Captain Jodie Wilmott also jumped in Gus the Bus with husband Pete to #runtheskyline (to coin their motto) there.

Race day and the conditions were good. Overcast and a bit chilly, perfect in fact. 

“On the startline I felt really ready for the challenge” said Margaret “I was excited to spend my first marathon experience with Harry. Wearing my club vest with pride, I couldn’t wait to get the race underway”

Jodie was also raring to go after stringently training hard all year.

Starting on Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage next to the iconic Messeturm, the huge field ran a circuit of the Taunusanlage before wiggling their way through the city streets in almost a figure of eight pattern. This took them to Altstadt and across the River Main via Alt Brücke. 

“I felt strong” said Margaret “the first few miles past really quickly”

“The crowds were great” said Harry “they were cheering and ringing cowbells”

On the south bank now, the crowds were more sparse through the suburban Sachsenhausen, but there were lots of bands dotting along the way to give the runners a boost with their pumping bass, samba drums and African beats. All three keeping good pace and going according to plan.

By mile 12 Margaret’s knee started to hurt, so she decided to slow slightly and let Harry go ahead as he was feeling good, whilst she swapped to the other side of the road to balance the camber. Her plan worked and her pain eased enough to keep her moving.

Jodie however was going great guns. Her pacing sitting as perfectly even throughout as the elevation. She and Mags & Harry re-crossed the River back onto the Northside and into the business end of the race. 

Harry unfortunately paid for his injection of pace in the middle section of the race. The girls paced it more evenly however as Jodie continued to rocket her way through Griesham and Gallus before revisiting the winding streets through the city past the Alter Oper and through the Platz dear Republik. Finally the end was in sight as she entered the Festhalle to take her turn to run down the red carpet and under the finishing arch. She finished in a massive 23 minute PB of 3.16.35 

“That’s a brilliant end to a shedload of training” she says on Facebook “I have sore toes” 

Harry managed to achieve his goal of running under 4 hours to finish in 3.56.56

“The 3.59 pacemaker caught up with me at mile 25. There was no way I was letting him pass me, I had to summon everything I had left”

Margaret maintained her nerve to keep pushing in the final stages. When running a marathon for the first time, nothing can really prepare you for just how hard those last couple of miles can be. But she gave all she had to pick up her pace as much as she could.

“Those last 2 miles were HARD!” she exclaims

But the digging deep paid off as she finished in 4.12.52 and a fantastic 4th in her age category.

“I did it!!!!!”””

Good day at the German office team IWRR

Great South Run

Despite the heavy rain that had blighted the south coast all week, the sky cleared to a crisp azure blue as some 20000 runners lined up in their stay-warm bin bags outside the Pyramids centre in Southsea for the 30th Anniversary of the Great South Run. 

Held in Southampton in its inaugural year, this IAAF Gold Standard event has become the biggest 10 mile race on the planet. Fast and pancake flat it’s a firm favourite amongst runners of all abilities. From the elites, to the speed snakes, to the charity fund raisers to the first race rookies, it is a joy to run.

Starting and finishing on Clarence Esplanade in Southsea, the 3 start pens started to fill as did the air with the scent of anticipation that big events like this  generate. The mass warm up started and they were off with a legendary TV star from the 1990s.

“I managed to high five Mallet’s Mallet!” chirps Alison Butcher “I did have to jump to reach it though haha!”

The course takes the runners firstly along the seafront to Clarence Pier before turning inland slightly toward Gunwharf Quays. Into the historic dockyard they pass Nelson’s HMS Victory and Henry IIIV Mary Rose… Heroes to inspire every runners journey. From the dockyard the runners emerge and back their way out back into the city. 

Winston Churchill Avenue saw them get getting into a rhythm and enjoying the crowds as this fantastically supported course. The locals really get behind this race, lining the streets in their thousands, handing out high fives and jelly babies, cheering and shouting encouragement to every runner that passes by.

Past the famous Queens Hotel and onward toward the common, where the runners get a glimpse of the front runners as they pass South Parade Pier in their last half mile of the race. However for the masses they have not long past the 10k marker. 

Onward toward Eastney and the almost notorious atmosphere along Henderson Road with the residents standing in their gardens and music pumping giving the runners that last little boost before they make the turn at 8 miles and back onto the seafront.

It’s a long straight, seemingly endless battle to the finish, but at least they didn’t have the usual headwind to deal with today. Passing the Yomper Statue and then the pier as they finally enter the little zig zag in the road which signifies 400m to go. 

Mustering all they had left after giving it their all, the roadrunners gave it one last push as they crossed the finishline.

Brilliant performances from each and every roadrunner and sprinkling of PBs as they ran their hearts out. A special mention to Steve Bennett for taking 4th place in his age category.

Simon Pilcher – 57.44 PB

Ross Wilkes – 1.02.37

Steve Rumsey – 1.04.35

Matt Fletcher – 1.06.28 

Steve Apsey – 1.07.06

Steve Bennett – 1.10.58

Garry Sharp – 1.11.26

Guy Mattinson – 1.12.01 PB

Tim Keyte – 1.12.57 PB

Simon Paul – 1.13.36 PB

Charlotte Williams – 1.25.20

Alison Butcher – 1.31.45 PB

Carolyn Littleton – 1.32.05 PB

Bridget Keyte – 1.36.47 PB

Sarah Sharp – 1.36.48

Ian Williams- 1.37.08

Steve Hunt – 1.41.55

Gill Shaw – 1.55.20

Jo Randall – 1.55.21

Lyn Snow – 1.59.17

Beverly James – 2.01.30

Bedford Festival of Running

It was a return to the racing circuit in more ways than one for Glen Jones as he embarked on his 10th marathon of his 12 in 12 months challenge.

After enjoying his laps around Goodwood motor circuit in September, Glen was at Bedford Autodrome this time to notch up not only another marathon but to hopefully notch up another sub 4 hour time.

“I felt good after running IOW a couple of weeks ago, so was hopeful I could scrape under 4 hours again” 

His summer knee injury now firmly behind him, his confidence was restored as he lined up in the glorious Autumn sunshine.

Despite there being 5 distances on offer, the starts are staggered with the marathoners going off first having the 3 mile course to themselves for a few laps. Gradually they are joined by the 20 milers, the half marathoners, the 10kers and finally the 5k runners.

Glen started off brilliantly, spending some of the early stages running with a friend which helped keep him on pace. He got to the halfway stage in a tidy 1.51  so he new his goal time was looking pretty good.

After a little pit stop, he kept his pace reasonably steady.

“I got to mile 21 and realised I could be on for not just a sub 4 but a PB! All I had to do was hold it together”

The last few miles were tough but Glen kept plugging away, willing his pace to not stray too far over 9 minute miles. His efforts were rewarded as hold on he did to knock 4 minutes off his time to finish in 3.52.17

“I was a bit surprised, but I’m very chuffed”

And so he should be…. 10 down… 2 to go ….

The 63rd Isle of Wight Marathon

In an historic week for women’s athletics, with Dina Asher-Smith being the first woman to win a world championship sprint and Katerina Johnson-Thompson breaking the British record in the heptathlon, it seemed fitting that this years IOW Marathon be dedicated to one such inspirational woman. Renegade, rebel and pioneer Dale Greig who sadly passed in May this year aged 81. Back in 1964, despite women not being allowed to compete in the marathon, trailblazer Greig defied the rules and ran a world record time right here on the Isle of Wight, the first record to be officially recognised by the IAAF and stood as the British record for 11 years.

“It was a tough and hilly course” she recounted later in the press.

Here on holiday, Dale celebrated by dancing the night away afterwards at the Royal York Hotel in Ryde. 

That’s not the only aspect that makes this race unique. Having first been held in 1957, this is the longest continuous running marathon in the UK. 

63 years and a couple of course changes later, and hoping to blaze trails of their own, 27 brave IWRR soldiers in white red and blue embraced this infamous 26.2 mile journey.

There was the usual air of trepidation, anticipation, excitement and good old fashioned fear as each roadrunner arrived one by one to collect their numbers and make their last minute preparations. A wealth of different levels of experience in the registration area, from people running their first marathon to those running their 160th. Some nervous, some relaxed, some just raring to go.

11.30 came and they set off from the sports field at the IOW Community Club in Cowes.

Starting with a nice downhill mile to Gurnard, it wasn’t long before the famous undulation began as they started on the rollercoaster trip out to Porchfield and Shalfleet. 

Onward they ran toward Cranmore before they arrived on the outskirts of Yarmouth. A bit of respite from the ups and downs of the course for a little while as they swung a right onto the cycle path and a hugely warm reception from the supporters cheering and screaming encouragement on the old railway platform outside Off The Rails Cafe.

At the end of the track is the Causeway and the all important halfway point. Time to take stock of time and grab a drink from the water station.

First timer Callie Hatcher hit a mental blip at this point. 

“I shed some tears. I didn’t feel good, everything ached and I’d planted the seed in my head that I couldn’t do it”

It’s tough going when that happens… the misery miles I call them. When you’ve come so far but you’ve still got so far to go. It takes real determination to find the mental energy to keep going. Callie had her boyfriend Kelvin by her side and together they carried on.

Turn left, turn left and turn right…. the turn for home! Thorley and Wellow. It should be the “easy bit” As the flattest part of the course on paper it should be, but strangely where many of field start to mentally unravel. By now the field is pretty stretched out, the support is thinner and most of the runners find themselves locked in a lonely battle between their legs, their minds and their hearts. 

It was here that David Blake decided enough was enough. Having felt strong and relaxed at halfway, he suddenly felt achy and sick. 

“My vision went blurry… I couldn’t even walk the rest to settle it. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to pull out of a race”

The marathon is a different beast to all the other distances. There are so many variables, so many things that can go oh so right or oh so very wrong. The weather, not enough sleep, not eating enough the day before, misjudging pace, over hydration, under hydration, not enough fuel on board in the early miles …. the list goes on.

Past Shalfleet Garage and the 20 mile point. The road back to Porchfield and more importantly, the road home. They say the marathon race starts at 20 miles and that’s no truer than on this course. In any marathon it’s the point when the body is waning. The glycogen stored in the body has all but been depleted. The legs are tired, the heart has to take over to get the runners home. All the hills they’d attacked with gusto a few hours before were being revisited as they retraced their steps through Porchfield and Thorness, culminating in a crescendo of climb at mile 24/25 as they tackled Pallance Road. 

Having run together for the most part, it was Bill Goozee that went ahead in the final stages to take 5th place with Stuart Backhouse not too far behind taking 6th and 1st V45. 

“I’m happy with that” said Bill “it’s my first marathon for ages and it felt good”

The next roadrunner home was a show stealer. Rosie Sexton. No training, no experience…. no problem!! The pocket rocket only went and won it!!! 

“I just got up and decided to run it on a whim” 

Wow! What a whim that was! Even her biggest cheerleaders, (parents and fellow IWRR Pete and Yvonne Sexton), didn’t know she was running it! 

“My girls first marathon and she won it! I can’t believe I missed it… especially to go and watch the footy!” Said Yvonne in the pub later “And we lost!”

Hayley Baxter was next to cross the line just seconds over her PB but chuffed to take 2nd lady, 15th overall and 1st V40

Another marathon debutant was next to make it across the finish line. Jamie Brenchley has smashed it out the park with an amazing sub 3.30 time, made all the more phenomenal because, like Rosie he hadn’t trained either!! 

“That was so emotional finishing! I really enjoyed the first 20 miles, then spent the last 6 miles wishing is trained properly haha!”

Meanwhile back out on the course, the rest of the team were battling their way around. The last miles really starting to hurt for some, not so much for others.  Some having some rather personal motivation to keep them going. Debbie Radestock took up running in memory of her older brother Richard, a keen member of Headington Road Runners. He died shortly after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, so Deb, with the encouragement of her other brother Andy took up running to raise funds for Macmillan. Daughter Eloise took up running when she went to university as a way of connecting with her mum. Their determination to see this challenge through was furthermore family fuelled as Debs elderly parents live on on the marathon route and would be looking out for their inspirational girls. 

“There was no way I could turn down the chance to run this with Mum” Eloise tells me “Knowing her history with her brothers I wanted to be alongside her every step of the way”

The miles ticked by the rest of the runners began to tackle the dreaded final 6 miles and the accompanying hills, the marathon and all its challenge really started to kick in. 

“I weirdly love getting to 20” said Sarah Holmes “I usually start speeding up as I know the worst is behind me”

She’s not the only one who woke up a bit. Callie got her second wind too, as she gleefully high fived every mile marker from that point onward.

Bunts Hill into Thorness into Rolls Hill into Pallance Road. Brutally draining what energy they had left, these last 4 miles were chewing runners up and spitting them out left right and centre. But as they each began to conquer that final Hill and with 1 mile left to go, they rallied to pick up pace and the will to finish kicked in to bring them home strong. 

“I got goosebumps crossing the line” said Callie

“I managed it!!!! Me!!!” beams Eloise

They’d done it! Marathoners, achievers, warriors, lionesses, heroes. Last word on this report goes to Debbie

“I’m immensely proud of my Ellie….. It’s a memory to cherish”

As always big thanks to the fellow IWRR that take the time to come out and cheer the runners … your support is immeasurable

Bill Goozee – 3.10.20 – 5th – 3rd SM

Stuart Backhouse – 3.13.54 – 6th 1stV45

Rosanna Sexton – 3.26.25 – 14th – 1stF – 1st SF

Hayley Baxter – 3.27.57 3.36.07 – 15th – 2ndF – 1st V40

Jamie Brenchley – 3.28.40

Simon Randall – 3.32.14 – 4th V45

Ross Wilkes – 3.38.41

Rob Hunter – 3.49.05

Simon Riley – 3.52.25

Richard Bezer – 4.03.12

Petya Torodova – 4.08.54 – 5th SF

Glen Jones – 4.11.50

Noel Finn – 4.17.33

Zoe Elliot – 4.22.12 – 5thV40

Steve Hickman – 4.28.28 – 3rdV60

Neill McCall 4.31.31

Julie Ray – 4.32.52 – 2nd V50

Tim Keyte – 4.32.52

Karen Phillips – 4.33.47 – 3rd V45

James Shoulder – 4.35.50

Sarah Holmes – 5.32.40

Tarnia Butler – 5.32.41

Kelvin Mansfield – 6.11.55

Callie Hatcher – 6.11.55

Deb Radestock – 6.16.12

Eloise Radestock – 6.16.14

Teams

Men’s

2nd Goozee, Backhouse, Brenchley

3rd Randall, Wilkes, Hunter

4th Riley, Bezer, Jones

6th Finn, Hickman, Keyte 

Ladies

1st Sexton, Baxter, Elliott 

2nd Ray, Phillips, Holmes 

4th Butler, Hatcher, Radestock 

Dedicated to the late and great Dale Greig 15.05.1937-12.05.2019