All posts by Sarah Holmes

Bramley 20

Popular as a good Spring marathon training race, this 2 lap 20 miler winds its way through the country lanes and forest tracks of the beautiful village of Bramley. A relatively flat and fast course, it is great for testing race pace with a good possibility of setting a 20 mile pb.

That’s exactly what husband and wife Julie & Peter Dixon were hoping to do as they prepare for their marathons in April. Julie running London and Pete running Brighton.

The conditions were dry but cold as they made their way around the course, navigating the winding country lanes and routes through the forest.

“My first half went well” Julie tells me “but I struggled to maintain my pace after about 16 miles. It was freezing cold and the headwind was biting”

Despite this Julie still smashed her pb from last year taking off 11 minutes, to come across the line in 2.48.15. Husband Peter also obliterated his goal time of 3 hours 10 mins to cross the finish in an awesome 3.02.49. A brilliant performance in his official debut over the distance.

“I am proper happy with that trot” he remarked on Facebook later in the afternoon “The run went to plan, better than the plan!”

Brilliant running #teamdixon

Run for Cover 100k

Our little speedster took on somewhat of a different challenge this weekend as he tackled the Islands coastal path to raise funds to help the YMCA St Mary’s Pre School build an outdoor shelter for their woodland garden. Ross is the head of outdoor learning there, so it’s a cause close to his heart.

63 miles of rugged multi terrain paths faced our brave soul as the wind, hail and Baltic temperatures battered our little diamond idyll over the course of the day, but that didn’t deter our little dynamo as he set out at the unearthly hour of 5am from Ryde on this solo mission.

The first leg proved tricky as the stretch between St. Helens and Seaview was boggy along the footpaths, made all the more treacherous by the fact that the sun had yet to arise.

However by sunrise he had made it around to Culver to capture this beautiful view.

Along the cliff paths and through the land slip at Bonchurch, Ross made it through to Ventnor in good time before negotiating the tricky paths to Blackgang and eventually Chale.

“Now for the difficult bit” he updated on his Justgiving page when he arrived at Chale.

Laying before him were 13 miles of exposed cliff paths and 528m of elevation and with a bitter head wind making the going even more daunting.

“It was windy as hell” he tells me “It was a battle to run against the whole way ….. and then it chucked it down with hailstones! I was glad when I got to Freshwater Bay”

Ross made it to the Needles Battery without getting blown away, where he made the welcome turn, knowing that he was over halfway there. Some welcome respite along this stretch, by far the flattest of the 4 legs. However this section was not without its challenges. The forest at Bouldner was sodden from the previous day’s persistent rain, which then led into some of the hillier sections of the IOW Marathon route through Shalfleet and Porchfield. Couple that with the pressure of needing to get to Gurnard before sunset and poor Ross was exhausted.

“By the time I got to Cowes I had no energy left and my ankles were killing me. Luckily my family were there with supplies which really kept me going”

But the gutsy hero set off for the last leg of the journey, a nice flat tarmac trip down the cycle track to Newport and Ross had turned for Ryde and the final furlong of this epic adventure.

“The Hills on the way back to Ryde were awful. But I just put the last bit of energy I had into it. All the Pre School staff were waiting for me at the finish line to congratulate me which was amazing”

What an amazing feat! 16 hours and 15 minutes of running and the circuit was complete. Brilliant, Brave and somewhat Bonkers let’s face it! But our boy battled the elements, battled the hills and battled himself…. and won!
Great effort Ross, hope the children can enjoy their garden all year round.

Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon

Four Road Runners braved the bracing conditions to tackle the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon. Despite there being a big league race being held locally, the 4 ladies crossed the Solent to take on this infamous race.

With a bitter headwind facing them the ladies lined up at the start at the Pyramid Centre. The multi terrain course is exposed almost all the way around so there would be no respite from the challenging conditions. However, it was clear and sunny so for the first 4 miles of the course our girls were treated to fantastic views across the Solent as they ran along Southsea Seafront and South Parade Pier.
The off road section then took our ladies along Milton Foreshore and up to Portsmouth Watersports Centre, looping down to Milton Common and back along the infamous “Muddy Beach section”

They then entered the home straight with a nice 3 miles back along the seafront to the finish.

“That was a very enjoyable run” Julie Rasmussen tells me later in the day “The wind was a challenge but that’s to be expected on a coastal run in February. It was nice in the sun though. I would highly recommend it as a training run for those running Spring Marathons next year”

Particular mention to Debbie Radestock and Suzannah Lovett who made her debut appearances for our wonderful club.

J.Rasmussen- 2.01.13
J.Randall- 2.34.18
D. Radestock- 2.35.16
S.Lovett- 2.51.03
L.Snow- 2.58.36


Ryde 10 #HRRL7

The islands only county league race saw another sold out field of 500 take on this famously undulating race. With the usual Baltic breeze blowing a hoolly across the start area, the 55 white red and blue road runners shivered in the freezing gusts as the cream of the county joined them in the bitter wind.

A twist on the route this year saw the much of the old route turned back to front with the addition of a brand new cheeky hill slap bang in the middle.

Despite the chilly start, conditions were unbelievably good out on the course, with blue skies and copious sunshine making the more sheltered areas perfect in temperature.

The new route saw the runners disappear up Westhill Road and along past Appley Manor and down past the Wishing Well and along to Nettlestone. They then went down to the Duver at St Helens for a quick blast from the coastal “breeze” before embarking on the steepest climb of the race through Nodes Point Holiday Park. They continued along to Seaview before a nasty trip up Puckpool Hill at Mile 9 the Runners could then gain pace with a welcome downhill finish to the boating lake.

Michael Douglas was the first Road runner home in 62.35 finishing 23rd overall with Harry Rann close behind him breaking the Junior record. Simon Pilcher was next in just over 63 minutes giving himself a tidy PB, with Pete Wilmott completing the first men’s team and bagging himself the 5th V50 spot.

For the ladies, Trish Train continued her road back from injury with a tidy 70 minute run, securing herself 10th female overall, 1st Island Female and the V50 winners trophy, with Holly Newton next in 15th place, 4th Senior lady in just under 73 minutes. Judy McCabe completed the team in 76 minutes, securing herself 7th place V40 & giving the ladies the 3rd place overall team position.

There were a smattering of PBs over the race with Dean Pike, David Blake, George Butler, Richard Bezer, Jenny Dewing, Calvin Wright, Zoe Sherwin and Dave Wilcock all giving it their all to achieve their fastest times over the distance. There were also some epic battles along the finishing straight.

Also particular mentions for Matt Fletcher for finishing 8th in his age category, Steve Bennett was 5th V60, Lizzie Pilcher for running her debut over the distance and taking 10th Senior lady, Jodie Wilmott was 10th V35, Hayley Baxter was 8th V40, Jenny Dewing was 9th V40, Julie Salter was 5th V50, Jane Andrew was 8th V55 and Lucy Deville was 4th V65.

Michael Douglas- 1.02.35
Harry Rann- 1.02.59
Simon Pilcher- 1.03.09
Peter Wilmott- 1.06.01
Ross Wilkes-1.06.38
Dean Pike- 1.06.39
Matt Fletcher- 1.06.59
Nick Kenney- 1.09.37
David Blake- 1.10.26
Trish Train- 1.10.54
Holly Newton- 1.12.52
Tom Forster- 1.12.54
Michael Coultrup- 1.14.15
Gordon Mucklow- 1.14.24
Mike Kimber- 1.14.34
Richard Bezer- 1.15.02
George Butler- 1.15.06
Judy McCabe- 1.16.41
Steve Bennett- 1.16.42
Elizabeth Pilcher- 1.16.50
Jodie Wilmott- 1.17.02
Hayley Baxter- 1.17.10
Tim Keyte- 1.17.44
Glen Jones- 1.17.52
Kevin Rann- 1.18.06
Jenny Dewing- 1.19.54
Garry Sharp- 1.20.53
Calvin Wright- 1.21.48
Sarah Holmes- 1.22.13
Keith Ruth- 1.22.59
Julie Salter-1.24.25
Zoe Sherwin- 1.24.52
Ian Dyer- 1.24.55
James Shoulder- 1.25.42
Lisa Upstell- 1.26.26
Charlotte Williams- 1.27.11
Kevin Winchcombe- 1.28.14
Kelly Forster- 1.29.40
Peter Dixon- 1.29.48
Dave Wilcock- 1.30.14
Julie Ray- 1.31.10
Sarah Sharp- 1.31.18
Claire Harvey- 1.32.00
Steve Hickman- 1.32.41
Karen Phillips- 1.34.17
Jane Andrew- 1.34.50
Lou Dover- 1.34.50
Laura Holme- 1.35.28
Ian Williams- 1.36.48
Sue Meredith- 1.39.32
Fiona Attwood- 1.39.36
Sally Trotman- 1.40.54
Bridget Keyte- 1.42.57
Lucy Deville- 1.55.53
Tanya Clifford- 1.56.33

Great performance by the entire team, roll on next year.


Canterbury 10

Hosted by Invicta East Kent Athletics Club, this 10 mile race visits the quiet lanes south of the city.

The route is undulating but picturesque, heading out from the sports centre at the Christchurch University, toward Patrixbourne before returning via Belesbourne and back to the sports centre.

Our Marathon supremo Steve Hickman, was on the start line, continuing his spate of shorter races before delving deep into his multi marathon racing, to help raise money for a cause very dear to his heart.

The worst of the Wintery weather literally rained down on our Steve as the showers turned to snow up on the East Peninsula.

“That was cold, wet and snowy” he tells me on Sunday evening

Steve ran a great race finishing in 1.28.07

“There were 2 major hills at miles 4 and 7. I ran this one a little quicker than the flat ones I ran in December! So quite pleased with my time at my age!” He quips

And so he should be! After a significant period of injury affecting his pace, it seems that this mega marathoner is back on the up.

“I’m still enjoying the short stuff, but I’ll be back to Marathons at beginning of March. If I stay injury free I’ll be running my 150th at the same place I ran my 100th”

In case you didn’t know… that’ll be right here …. on the IOW.

Ryde Harriers Cross Country Championships

The first in a series of three races, the Roadrunners were on the startline despite not being eligible to place in the race itself. The Ryde Harriers Championship saw wet and muddy conditions as drizzle prevailed throughout the morning, making a dull and cold January morning feel all the more Wintery.

With 5 miles ahead of the girls and 7 for boys, the course was waterlogged and muddy. But this didn’t deter the hardy Runners despite the persistent precipitation.

Breaking with tradition, a couple of the girls chose to run the “men’s” distance.

5 miles
Holly Newton – 50.43
Claire Mucklow – 57.39
Zoe Elliott- 1.05.29
Sally Trotman – 1.05.30
Lynn Snow – 1.31.31

7 miles
Nick Kenney – 59.29
Mike Kimber – 1.03.23
Richard Bezer – 1.03.51
Michael Coultrup – 1.08.02
Jodie Wilmott- 1.08.15
Garry Sharp – 1.08.57
Matt Fletcher – 1.09.01
Kevin Rann – 1.10.46
Joe Winchcombe – 1.16.15
Nick Scott-Denness – 1.18.29
Kev Winchcombe – 1.24.32
Lisa Upstell- 1.24.32

”That was great fun in the mud” said club ‘national treasure’ Lyn Snow


Stubbington 10k #HRRL6

Perfect conditions kicked off the racing calendar for 2018 as the road runners traversed the Solent to reach Stubbington, just outside of Fareham.
An early start faced the gang as they embarked the ferry to travel across the water and made their way to the south coast village.

A fast and flat course and the favourable conditions promised some good performances, coupled with the determination to give it 100% in memory of our dear friend and clubmate Darren Andrew who passed away suddenly this week.

Beginning in the heart of the village, the looped course took in quiet country lanes through the local copses before emerging onto a stretch of the coastline of Portsmouth Harbour before returning back to the centre of the village for the finish.

Darren Cole stormed through the 6.2 miles to make himself the first Roadrunner home in 37 mins straight, bagging himself a huge 2 minutes off his already speedy PB.

Ross Wilkes was next home, just 30 seconds later, in his debut over the distance. Matt Fletcher continued his flurry of PBs to come in next knocking 90 seconds off his previous best, with Pete Wilmott completing the 1st men’s team in just under 39 minutes and 9th in his V50 age category.

For the ladies, Trish Train returned to racing after the previous season being dogged by injury. Not quite back to her full fitness she still powered home in just over 42 minutes and 2nd in her V50 category. Judy McCabe was next home in just under 44 minutes with Jodie Wilmott continuing her journey back to fitness across the line next with a pb to complete the ladies 1st team.

“That’s broken my PB from 2015! Not bad considering what I’ve been through!” Jodie tells me later that day.

The rest of the gang came in thick and fast, taking advantage of the favourable conditions. All running their hearts out and giving this race 100%. Men’s Vice Captain Steve Bennett ran a fantastic race coming 7th in his V60 category and Julie Salter ran herself to 10th place in hers. PBs were achieved by Glen Jones, Sarah Holmes, Dave Wilcock and Bridget Keyte, but most notable perhaps were those achieved by Kevin Rann, who broke his first PB in 4 years and Mike Kimber who somehow took 44 minutes off his previous time. One last performance to mention is that of Tim Keyte, although not breaking his own personal record, ran with his daughter Abi, giving her a massive pb of over 8 minutes and into the 3rd junior female top spot.

D.Cole – 37.00
R.Wilkes – 37.30
M.Fletcher – 38.46
P.Wilmott – 38.57
N.Kenney – 40.19
G.Sharp – 41.50
M.Kimber – 41.41
T.Train – 42.18
S.Bennett – 43.18
M.Coultrup – 43.40
J.McCabe – 43.56
K.Rann – 44.31
J.Wilmott – 44.56
G.Jones – 45.28
A.Farwell – 45.32
S.Holmes – 46.19
J.Shoulder – 48.38
J.Salter – 49.49
K.Phillips – 50.31
T.Keyte – 50.44
D.Wilcock – 51.08
L.Upstell – 51.14
J.Ray – 52.00
S.Sharp – 55.10
K.Fry – 55.23
S.Trotman – 56.39
S.Hunt – 58.12
B.Keyte – 58.18
N.Stilwell – 1.05.11
T.Clifford – 1.05.33
S.Morgan – 1.11.08
T.Houdoire – 1.11.09
L.Snow – 1.19.59

Good to see that this year’s Epic Fail Award has an early entry for contention as club legend and head race Marshall Tracey Houdoire made a crucial error when preparing her kit bag for today’s race. Tracey managed to pack two very similar looking shoes…unfortunately they were both right feet. Luckily for Tracey, there was a footwear stand and she managed to buy a left and a right.

“They’re my go faster shoes!” She beamed after the race

Winter Cross Ultra

Whilst most of us were curled up under our duvets, finishing off the leftover Turkey and Quality Street, one Roadrunner was on the startline of a rather unusual event across the water in Meonstoke. Unusual for its unorthodox cut off time and its course layout, this technically challenging event was the perfect way to burn off those roast spuds for our distance doyen Dan Williams.

The cross shaped course consists of 4 out and back legs of varying distances and varying difficulty all to be completed between sunrise and sunset on one of the shortest days of the year. 2 distances were on offer, 45 miles taking in all 4 branches of the course and a 50k using 3.

7.30 am and Dan set off on his journey. Travelling North on the first leg of the race, it should have been a fast and flat start as it was 9k along the old railway line. However temperatures had plunged overnight freezing everything sight, making the path precariously icy. Eastward next and this 21k leg is the toughest of the race with 2 huge climbs as Dan made his way onto the South Downs Way.

“The views were fantastic” he tells me “It was pleasant running when in the open with the sun on me”

And what views they were. Vistas over the Solent and across our diamond  utopia. However the immense climbs were followed by some chalky descents, made even more hazardous by the icy conditions.

The West leg was next which took Dan through the picturesque villages of Exton and Meonstoke.

“The country roads were that icy that it was best to find a muddy frozen verge, it was quicker and safer”

Despite the conditions Dan ran a blinding race, completing all 31 miles in 4.53.10 and finishing 9th overall.

“The race had a handful of real quick runners (2:30 marathon types), so I am really pleased with my result, especially with the awful underfoot conditions”

And so he should be…. what a fantastic result! Well done Dan!


Abominable Snowman

4 years it’s taken for this race to live up to its tag line “wet, muddy, step and cold”, but this year it delivered on all fronts in abundance.

This week’s storms and heavy downpours conjured up some phenomenal mud from start to finish. The wet was provided by some natural obstacles on the course… one in particular was sponsored by our favourite officially unofficial club.

“There’s no running around it this year” said off road king and founder of GHM Michael Coultrup

Steep… well it’s always been steep… geography takes care of that…

And cold…. although not as frosty as only a few days previously, a bitter wind was prevalent, cooling the sodden Runners.

A choice of 2 distances didn’t give the runners an easy option as both were plagued with copious elevation.

The 10 Mile Runners set out first, over 150 of them, further churning up the course underfoot ready for the 10k entrants who set out an hour later.

In the 10 mile, Harry Rann showed no sign of Christmas excess as he stormed home in a phenomenal 4th place also bagging himself 3rd spot in the senior men’s age category. Andy MacArthur was the next Roadrunner home in 14th overall, overcoming a recent foot injury to finish 5th in the V40 category. Peter Wilmott was next over the line in 18th to take 7th V40

The girls were next to start coming in with Holly Newton continuing her recent good form to finish 3rd Female, 29th overall and 2nd senior female. Jodie Wilmott also ran a cracker to finish 4th female and grab 3rd spot on the podium for the senior ladies. Jenny Dewing was the third one of ours girls back also grabbing a podium spot for being the 3rd V40 and 5th overall.

The rest of the hardy Roadrunners came in having given that last “hill” their all. Declaring that despite the courses difficulty that it had indeed been a lot of fun.

“Honestly that was so much fun” said Lisa Upstell on Facebook the next day.

The Roadrunners fared rather well in the 10k race too. Super speedster Michael Douglas took on a bit of family rivalry as his brother Ben was also on the startline. Michael gave his brother a run for his money, but eventually had to settle for 2nd place as his brother pulled ahead.

Simon Pilcher also ran a blinder to finish in 4th overall with second claim member Sean Williams crossing the line in 5th and the 1st placed V40. Also placing well were Dean Pike, Simon Riley and Darren Andrew in 6th, 8th and 11th respectively.

First home for the ladies was Lizzie Pilcher, in a fantastic 30th overall, 5th lady and 4th senior female.

Again the rest of the team came in, laughing their heads off at the sheer ridiculousness of the course. None more so than the very best of friends Matt Fletcher and Nick Scott-Denness. This cheeky pair have taken to running this race every year in fancy dress and this year’s costumes certainly turned a few heads.

A great way to blow out those Christmas cobwebs and a fantastic end to the Roadrunners year of sport.

10 miles

Harry Rann – 1.20.52
Andy MacArthur – 1.29.47
Peter Wilmott – 1.32.01
Holly Newton – 1.40.45
Gordon Mucklow – 1.42.21
Jodie Wilmott – 1.43.50
Richard Bezer – 1.45.01
Ian Russell – 1.45.29
Michael Coultrup – 1.46.11
Jenny Dewing – 1.52.37
Steve Webb – 2.01.40
Calvin Wright – 2.01.42
Sara Truckel – 2.07.34
Keith Ruth -2.09.33
Lisa Upstell – 2.12.59
Zoe Sherwin – 2.15.08
Elaine Harris – 2.15.42
Julie Rasmussen – 2.16.35
Steve Hickman – 2.17.24
Karen Phillips – 2.21.04
Dave Wilcock – 2.23.57
Sue Hunter – 2.23.59
Laura Holme – 2.27.57
Emma Ford – 2.27.57
Julie Salter – 2.36.53
Alison Butcher- 2.36.53
Ian Williams – 2.41.22


Michael Douglas – 54.03
Simon Pilcher – 59.25
Sean Williams – 1.01.09
Dean Pike – 1.03.54
Simon Riley – 1.04.57
Darren Andrew – 1.13.07
Kevin Rann – 1.18.52
Lizzie Pilcher – 1.20.06
Mike Kimber – 1.25.13
Katie Mackenzie – 1.32.02
Julia Parker – 1.35.12
Fay Tosdevin – 1.35.43
Claire Howard – 1.36.53
Jane Andrew – 1.36.53
Matt Fletcher – 1.38.58
Nick Scott-Denness – 1.38.58
Jess Hill – 1.40.28
Charlotte Williams – 1.41.52
Sarah Sharp – 1.41.54
Karen Buck – 1.47.55
Peter Dixon – 1.53.08
Tanya Clifford – 2.06.19
Claire Jasper – 2.07.25
Rachel Dempsey – 2.10.09
Lynn Snow – 2.23.51
Shannon Brennen – 2.28.02


Bovington Marathon

Marketed as “Hilly,muddy, cold and wet” this infamous course was an instant draw for off road magnates Michael Coultrup and Dan Williams.

The impossibly early start saw our 2 boys on a cold and frosty startline at Bovington’s Tank Museum. Despite a beautiful clear blue sky, a bitter northwesterly wind making sure the wind chill factor was keeping the temperature below freezing. The pair set off, along with friend Julian Trout, into the mud.

Set on a M.o.D tank training ground, it’s safe to say that it delivered on all 4 of its promises. Tank tracks churning up the ground into a sticky mess, interspersed with flooded paths and some tasty elevation. As for the cold… it’s December right?

Unfortunately for both of our boys, it wasn’t their day. Michael had been battling flu all week as well as nursing a couple of injuries.

“At mile 4 I came to the realisation that my illness and lack of fitness due to injury was going to make for a hard time. However, I was there and so must knuckle down and get on with it. A challenging route coupled with awful conditions underfoot made it even more difficult”

It didn’t help that he fell and ended up completely submerged in a chalky muddy puddle. As for poor Dan, he started brilliantly but took a wrong at 12 miles.

“I lost my mojo after that. I really struggled and I began to feel ill. The pain really set in and I ended up having to walk”

They both mustered the strength to finish. Michael in 4.24.46 56th overall and 6th in his age category. Dan finished in 4.42.38

“I can say that this run was the most unenjoyable marathon I have done for a good while” said Michael later in the day “If it is held next year I have to return…. I have a score to settle…..”

Sounds like fighting talk to me…..