All posts by Sarah Holmes

Eastleigh 10k – HRRL #11

Perfect conditions greeted runners for the 34th Eastleigh 10k race on Sunday. A million degrees away from the 6 inches of snow that postponed this race from its original date back in March, a cool breeze and cloudy sky gave our team a comfortable temperature to run their socks off in. This sold out race is number 11 of 12 on the Hampshire Road Race League. With only 1 more race left in the league, the jostling for positions is really hotting up as the runners muster everything they’ve got to finish as high as they can for themselves and for their team. Known to be a fast and furious course, Eastleigh attracts nearly 3000 runners, making it the largest 10k in the South. 

Starting at the unthinkably early 9am at the Fleming Park Leisure Centre, the course flips a right on Shakespeare Road, loops around bringing the runners into the long and straight Woodside Avenue. A couple more little twists and turns and they head for home along Chestnut Avenue. 

Ross Wilkes was the first roadrunner to make it back to the Sports Centre in a nifty 37 minutes, with Cole Pearce not too far behind him. Pete Sexton was next under the finishing arch in just over 39 minutes bagging him 9th V50. Sneaking under the 40 minute mark was Matt Fletcher, completing the first men’s team.

For the ladies, golden girl Trish Train proved that her injury is well and truly behind her to take the V50 top spot in 41.22, finishing a massive 3and a half minutes between her and the next woman in her category. Jodie Wilmott continued her march back to form with her second 10k Pb in 72 hours.

“I still felt I could have pushed a bit more” she tells me on the ferry home “I sort of wish I was in the country for the final race of the season. I feel like there is a bit more in the tank”

Lizzie Pilcher was the 3rd lady across the finish line, bagging herself a 30 second Pb and shimmying under 46 minutes, whilst Zoe Sherwin continued her fantastic season with another Pb to complete the First Ladies team.

Every roadrunner out on the course ran brilliantly, wearing their vests with pride, representing our gorgeous diamond island with smiles in their faces. Notably both Gemma Fletcher and Ivan Ward made their official debuts over the distance whilst Sarah Ward took a huge 5 minutes off her previous Pb. 

“I ran all the way, even up the hill!” said Lyn Snow after the race looking very pleased with herself.

Great running team IWRR! 

Ross Wilkes- 37.02

Cole Pearce- 37.43

Pete Sexton- 39.07 

Matt Fletcher- 39.45

Trish Train- 41.22

Garry Sharp- 42.46

Michael Coultrup- 44.13

Jodie Wilmott- 44.19

Kev Rann- 45.51

Lizzie Pilcher- 45.58

Zoe Sherwin- 47.47

Ivan Ward- 47.58

Sarah Ward- 48.17

Sarah Holmes- 49.24

Dave Wilcock- 54.38

Gemma Fletcher- 55.34

Sarah Sharp- 58.07

Steve Hunt- 1.00.12

Lyn Snow- 1.22.00

Isle of Wight Roadrunners Club 10k Championship

Was it the allure of Chip butties and Mrs.Rays raffle that drew so many contenders out on this sunny Summers evening? Or the fact that it was a nominated race also, meaning that there was a chance of winning even if you didn’t actually win the race, (make sense??……Good!)

Excitement was building as the roadrunners congregated along with invited guests from other Island clubs to collect their numbers for the annual 10k championship. Nominated times had been submitted the previous week, largely by guesswork and many on the conservative side as many competitors had the upcoming league race on Sunday in the back of their minds.

The runners assembled excitedly outside the Riverside Centre, all feeling naked without their trusty watches. On the stroke of 7pm they were given the off. Running toward the Quay Arts Centre, they swung a right up Little London and continued along the cycle track before embarking upon the long drag up Stag Lane.

They emerged huffing and puffing onto Horsebridge Hill for a welcome downhill section before hitting the second incline in the shape of Clissold Road. The runners were greeted here by the joyful sight of the water station manned by our very own Simon and Jo Randall, giving everyone plenty of encouragement as they went past. The runners then hurtled down Standen Avenue before being ushered safely across the road for the home leg. A right turn down Hunnyhill gave the roadrunners the final bit of momentum to keeping pushing on to the finish back at The Riverside Centre.

Paul Cameron was the first runner back showing his road to recovery is a path he’s at the end of and what a joy it is to see him getting back to his best.

“My legs hurt!” He jokes on Facebook the next day “I was actually really surprised with my time. I’m pleased”

And so he should be, he was so quick that Jacob, our photographer for the night, missed him! Michael Douglas was next to cross the newly laid bridge across the Medina to take 2nd place. Ross Wilkes continued his spate of brilliant performances to come home 3rd, with Stu Backhouse in 4th and Steve Rumsey in 5th.

For the ladies, it was Trish Train who took the top spot, with Jodie Wilmott running herself an unofficial Pb to land herself in 2nd. Polly Segar ran herself into 3rd position with Sarah Holmes delighted to come in 4th place and Lou Howell in 5th.

In they came, one by one and two by two, all having run themselves proud.

But the real winners of the night were those who guessed their times the most accurately. The runners all got themselves a congratulatory chip butty and a drink from the bar as they gathered around for the grand reveal.

Sally Trotman was 18 seconds outside her estimated time to take third position. Jane Andrew repeated her nomination success from The Rog Run to guess within 8 seconds of her time. The outright winner of the night was relative newcomer Giorgio Marinelli who was only 4 seconds out from his predicted time.

“What a massive surprise!” He beams “What a cool event”

As the winner, he got to choose where this year’s charity donation went, (£1 from each entry). He opted to donate the kitty to The Wessex Cancer Trust. 

The night was rounded off with a rendition of Happy Birthday and a huge chocolate cake to celebrate our Chairman’s birthday, (luckily he escaped “The Bumps”)

Paul Cameron – 33.47

Michael Douglas – 35.31

Ross Wilkes – 38.02

Stuart Backhouse – 38.35

Steve Rumsey – 38.56

Pete Sexton – 39.08

Matt Fletcher – 40.18

David Blake – 41.56

Trish Train – 42.21

Steve Bennett – 43.12

Tim Howell – 43.28

Garry Sharp – 44.04

Jodie Wilmott – 44.27

Brian Canning – 45.27

Tim Keyte – 45.58

Kev Rann – 46.01

Dave Cass – 47.09

Kev Winchcombe – 47.13

Polly Segar – 47.16

Sarah Holmes – 48.13

Giorgio Marinelli – 48.56

Nick Dover – 48.56

Ivan Ward – 49.31

Lou Howell – 49.31

James Shoulder – 49.59

Nick Scott-Denness – 50.55

Sarah Ward – 51.05

Charlotte Williams – 52.35

Lisa Upstell – 52.35

Claire Howard – 53.22

Abigail Keyte – 53.22

Jane Andrew – 53.28

Clare Foster – 53.38

Claire Harvey – 53.54

Andrew Cooper – 53.58

Matt Wade – 54.45

Gill Bushell – 55.04

Sally Trotman – 56.19

Julie Rasmussen – 56.30

Sarah Sharp – 56.31

Fiona Attwood – 56.40

Alison Butcher – 57.04

Gemma Fletcher – 57.07

Dave Wilcock – 57.10

Caroline Curliss – 59.37

Bridget Keyte – 59.39

Ian Williams – 1.01.23

Belinda Rockall – 1.01.23

Tanya Clifford – 1.06.28

Shelley Harris – 1.07.39

Eloise Radestock – 1.07.40

Debbie Radestock – 1.07.53

Lyn Snow – 1.21.53

Round the Island Relay

7.30am Cowes floating bridge.

5 teams are poised to embark on a 70 mile round trip. That will see 80 runners change their self selected batons 50 times, clock up over 560 miles and take just shy of a million steps between them. Quite a feat of organisation considering it’s an officially unofficial, unmarshalled self navigating event. 

“It’s not a race! It’s just for fun” Cherry Owen reminds all the starters as they line up grasping their “batons” (i.e. rubber chickens, squeaky mobile phones etc) After all it was all her idea. To run the perimeter of our sunny island along the coastal path in a relay, with set changeover points dividing the journey into 10 legs, until it reaches its conclusion on the other side of the floating bridge in East Cowes. 

And off they went. Teams from West Wight Roadrunners, Ryde Harriers, Isle of Wight Road Runners and the RS division of the off road group Godshill Massive (or GHM as its more affectionately known), which is made up of members from all the other clubs and unattached runners. IWRR had decided that one of their teams would run at their own pace whilst the other would stick with “RS” for company and safety, as did the Harriers and West Wight teams. Not requiring any company however were 3 of our IWRR distance specialists. Dan Williams, Michael Coultrup and Bill Goozee all set out to run the entire distance.

Dan and Bill set out an hour earlier than the rest, with Michael embarking on his journey at the same time as the other teams.

Despite feeling chilly on the startline, the sun started to peek through as soon as they set off on the first 6 mile leg toward the seafront and onward to Gurnard, Thorness and eventually their handover at Porchfield. Running for IWRR on this leg  were Glen Jones and Tanya Clifford, with Julia Parker appearing for GHM. 

First to hand over was chairman Glen for IWRR determined to give his team a good start.

Glen continued on here running a second leg but switched over to the other IWRR team which ran with the RS Runners. Taking on the helm for the other team IWRR were Kev Winchcombe and Gill Bushell. This leg was complicated with its twists and turns, through the nature reserve. But it wasn’t this factor which proved difficult for Kev. 

“Leg two was lovely. We ran together until about 7.5 miles when I pushed on from Gill to hand over the baton sooner. However at the top of the hill I missed the turning and went down Hampstead Road putting an extra 2.5 Miles on my route. Gill went the right way and beat me there and sent Jane on her way”

Gill handed over to Jane Andrew, whilst Glen handed his squeaky mobile phone to Matt Wade, with Tracey Houdoire running for RS, continued on to Totland.

“I loved that” said Tracey “we stopped for lunch at the beach afterwards”

At Totland, the next runners were eagerly awaiting their team mates arrival. IWRR were still changing over first, with Danny Faulkner taking charge of proceedings for the faster paced team and Vice Chair Sarah Sharp for the other. Jess Hill and Ali Butcher were the purple representatives on this tough leg taking them up and over Headon Warren and Tennyson Down.

“I loved running over Tennyson, it’s one of my favourite places” said Sharpie 

Danny handed over to Andy MacArthur whilst waiting at Freshwater Bay for Sarah was her husband Garry for the IWRR team and Stuart Backhouse and Giorgio Marinelli who ran the 10 miles of cliff paths down to Whale Chine.

The thermometers had levelled out as cloud cover started to creep over, giving our amazing runners a comfortable air temperature given the time of year.

Still out in front IWRR Andy handed over to Rich Whittington, who had been driving around as support crew for most of the day as he set out on one of the trickier legs with the most elevation from Whale Chine through to Ventnor. For the other IWRR team Garry handed over to Zoe Elliott who ran with Fay Tosdevin, Caroline Curliss and Bridget Keyte for GHM. Stuart decided that 10 miles wasn’t quite enough for him and accompanied Zoe and the girls in purple to Ventnor. 

Rich passed over to Elaine Harris and Zoe to Lisa Upstell and the GHM ladies to Nick Carter as they continued to take the batons from The Spyglass through The Landslip and along the seafronts at Shanklin and Sandown to change at Yaverland. Lisa Upstell used the flatter sections to pull away from GHM at this stage putting the team into 4th.

“I’d forgotten how many steps there were through The Landslip” said Nick “it was so tempting to stop for cake at the tearoom! I could see Michael Coultrup in front of me. He was 50+ miles into his run and I still never caught him. What an inspiration!”

By now the teams were in the final quarter of the challenge. The leg from Yaverland through to St.Helens saw Hayley Baxter take the baton for the IWRR team in front, Callie Hatcher for GHM and Emma Ford handling the squeaky mobile phone for the other IWRR team, taking friend Aaron for navigational purposes.

“I would have got lost at least four times without him” she tells me “The views from Culver were amazing, we had such fun!”

They all successfully navigated themselves around to Tim Keyte, Sarah Holmes for IWRR and Pat Harris and Shannon Brennen for GHM waiting at the Duver. 

“I have absolutely no idea where I am going” exclaimed Holmsie “This could take a while” 

But she didn’t get lost and neither did any of the others as they made their way to Ryde and then past Quarr Abbey to Fishbourne and the final change over.

Steve Bennett took the baton for the team in front with Ian Dyer doing the honours for the other team. Abi Keyte & Kim Hulacka closed the bidding for the GHMers. 

Steve Bennett was the first runner home.

“It was funny coming first as no one was there at the finish yet!” He said “We must have all run it too quick haha! Luckily my partner Chris was there with the dogs to greet me”

Dan Williams was the next one in having run the entire course in just under 12 and a half hours.

“I’ve earnt a beer I think!” He said afterwards. 

In they came, in ones, twos and threes, all with big smiles on their faces. Lots of fun and laughter along the way. Teamwork and cameraderie the order of the day and a fantastic turn out of Roadrunners spread across the 5 teams.

The biggest cheer of the day was saved for Michael Coultrup, who was the final person to make it to the finish having run the entire event solo and self supported. 14 hours of running behind him.

“Who’s up for a run in the morning?” He quipped 

Massive thank you to Cherry Owens, Glen Jones & Pat Harris for their time organising this logistical endeavour. See ya next year!

Scores on the doors 

1- ISLE OF WIGHT ROADRUNNERS 

2- RYDE HARRIERS 

3- WEST WIGHT ROADRUNNERS 

4- ISLE OF WIGHT ROADRUNNERS 

5- GHM RS 

Isle of Wight Festival of Running – Day 1

Fun filled and family oriented, this weekend had something for everyone. From a junior fun run to a triathlon, to a full on (and this is full on!) marathon, there was an event to suit everyone. 

Kicking off the events at West Wight Sports Centre was the 5 and 10k races. Both courses twisting and turning around the footpaths of the Freshwater countryside. 

Beautiful blue skies prevailed as the first of our eager runners lined up in their club vests to tackle the Farringford 5k race, started by MP Bob Seeley.

Dave Cass was the 1st teammate home in a fabulous 4th place (improving on lasts years 6th) and claiming top spot in his age category. Next home was Nick Carter in 20th overall and 2nd V50 closely followed, one second later by Alison Butcher, taking 7th lady and 3rd in her age group. Kiley White made her welcome return to racing after a period away, with Sam Grist just behind her to complete our team.

An hour later and more white, red and blue vests were on the startline this time for the Tapnell 10k.

Steve Rumsey powered ahead to gain a hefty lead over the rest of the field. Bringing him across the line as the top dog and a minute and a half in front of the 2nd place runner.

Calvin Wright continued his good form with a stonking 7th place overall and 2nd in his age category. Next in were the first of the girls with Jodie Wilmott taking 2nd lady and Holly Newton in 3rd (and 9th and 10th respectively overall)

Gordon Mucklow was the next to cross the line to take 3rd V40 with Jenny Dewing not too far behind to take 3rd place in her age category too. Charlotte and Ian Williams were home next followed by Fay Tosdevin and Nick Carter. Tanya Clifford was under the finishing arch next followed by Emma Ford. 

Last but by no means least was Claire Jasper and her magnificent 20 week baby bump accompanied by the wonderful Tracey Houdoire. 

5k 

Dave Cass – 22.58

Nick Carter – 28.24

Alison Butcher – 28.25

Kiley White – 34.28

Sam Grist – 34.28

10k

Steve Rumsey – 42.25

Calvin Wright – 46.42

Jodie Wilmott – 47.06

Holly Newton – 47.48

Gordon Mucklow – 48.01

Jenny Dewing – 51.58

Charlotte Williams – 52.39

Ian Williams – 1.01.57

Fay Tosdevin – 1.02.52

Nick Carter – 1.06.56

Tanya Clifford – 1.09.34

Emma Ford – 1.09.52

Tracey Houdoire – 1.19.27

Claire Jasper – 1.19.27

Isle of Wight Festival of Running – Day 2

After the warm temperatures of the previous days, could the runners be really unlucky and face one of the hottest days of the year so far. Of course they could! From the get go, the sun was shining full blast with not a wisp of a cloud to be seen. 

Famously tough, the Needles half marathon course is just about as multi terrain as you can get. Tarmac, footpath, grass and sand all feature as this course winds its way around the 13.1 miles from the West Wight Sports Centre and back again. The full marathon following approximately 12 miles of the half course before disappearing into the surrounding countryside and it’s rolling hills.

9am came and the small field of marathoners were off….. out into the already blinding sunshine and heat. 

The course took them off toward Norton and then along the beach at Totland before beginning the series of climbs at The Needles, Headon Warren and Tennyson Down. With some 362m of elevation between them it is really tough going.

After peeling off at Freshwater Bay, they embarked on their 2nd half of the journey. They continued onward toward Mottistone, Brighstone Forest and back toward Chessell another 425m  of elevation facing them.

It was around this time that the Half Runners were given the off.

The sun was getting fiercer as midday approached making our runners uncomfortable despite the welcome breeze up on the high ground. 

The half Runners quickly got stretched out in the first disturbingly flat 5 miles, before they started making their way up, then up, then up. 

Hill upon hill upon hill piled on the pressure, but one by one they made their way around the course and to the final stages of each race.

They pushed through the pain and the heat until they emerged on to the field back at the West Wight Sports Centre and over the finish line.

In the marathon Stuart Backhouse smashed it. Despite having run a major marathon just the previous Sunday, placing 9th against some top class runners within it AND competing in the South Downs Relay the day before, Stu displayed his strength, his resilience and his class as an athlete to power his way around crossing the line in a triumphant 2nd place overall and 1st V40.

“My legs felt pretty good considering I’ve run 4 marathons in 6 weeks as well as the South Downs relay. The new route had more acsent then last year and therefore made it a harder course but I’m pleased l got 1st Islander home. That won me a voucher for a new pair of trainers from Love Running”

Dan Williams was next home to take 3rd despite battling cramp from 20 miles onward. Andy MacArthur also stormed it placing 4th. Like Stu, he had also run Dorchester Marathon in a stonking time just 7 day’s prior. Between the 2 of them the rest of the V40 trophies were swept up.

The next of the marathoners to cross underneath the welcome golden arch of the finish was young Ross Wilkes who finished in 8th overall and 3rd in his age category.

“Never, ever again!” He declared on Facebook later in the afternoon. 

But let’s face it, that’s what all us marathoners say…. until the next time.

Hill lover Michael Coultrup was the next home, happy that he didn’t get lost this year and to take 2nd V50.

But the next runner to cross the line kind of stole the show….. Hayley Baxter. Despite having only run over 11 miles only once since October, she excelled herself to repeat her fantastic performance in last year’s IOW Marathon to emerge victorious. Yes that’s right! She only went and flipping won it!! AGAIN!!! A reigning double champion!

“I loved that today” she beams “I just felt so strong all the way around”

Harry, Ian, Lou, Tim and Steve all made it home safe….. some a little more worse for wear than others after the heat had taken its toll… but they made it.

Last but by no means least was club legend Sue Hunter, who ran brilliantly, completing the course in under 6 hours winning her age category.

In the half, Paul Cameron continued his recent return to form fly round the course to finish in a marvellous 2nd place and 1st V40.

Steve Rumsey was fresh from his victory in the 10k yesterday to finish 16th overall and 3rd V50. 

In they came, one by one and two by two, all 36 of the white, blue and red vests. All having run their hearts out on those hills.

Particular mention goes to Steve Bennett who finished 2nd in his V60 category, Sarah Ward who was the 1st lady IWRR across the line, despite it being her first half marathon, and Nick Carter who competed in the maximum possible of 3 races over the weekend 

“That was hot and tough” he tells me “but the support of the IWRR family was amazing”

Finally…a big well done to all the Roadrunners who gave up their weekend to volunteer. From marshalling, to giving out cold sponges, to backmarking, the Roadrunners gave up their time to support not only the event itself, but their fellow club mates, giving them the vital boost they need on a challenging run such as this. That is why we are quite simply the #bestrunningclubintheworld

Marathon 

Stuart Backhouse – 3.33.12

Dan Williams – 3.40.13

Andy MacArthur – 3.45.50

Ross Wilkes – 4.10.04

Michael Coultrup – 4.11.30

Hayley Baxter – 4.13.47

Harry Rann – 4.15.47

Ian Russell – 4.19.18

Lou Howell – 4.51.11

Tim Cordery – 5.01.12

Steve Hickman – 5.11.00

Sue Hunter – 5.57.28

Half 

Paul Cameron – 1.27.22

Steve Rumsey – 1.38.03

Nick Kenney – 1.40.56

Dean Pike – 1.41.22 

Richard Harvey – 1.44.02

Steve Bennett – 1.50.28

Tim Keyte – 1.54.46

Noel Finn – 1.55.05

Darren Dollery – 1.56.14

Glen Jones – 2.00.16

Kevin Rann – 2.00.25

Ivan Ward – 2.04.02

Dallas Price – 2.05.39

Bill Goozee – 2.05.50

Sarah Ward – 2.09.59

Nick Dover – 2.14.30

Giorgio Marinelli – 2.14.30

Keith Ruth – 2.14.30

Jess Hill – 2.15.58

Julia Parker – 2.21.59

Kim Hulacka – 2.25.13

Clare Foster – 2.26.01

Fiona Attwood – 2.28.59

Nick Carter – 2.32.56

Sue Meredith – 2.32.58

Fay Tosdevin – 2.33.29

Peter Dixon – 2.35.56

Dave Wilcock – 2.46.28

Caroline Curliss – 2.47.53

Bridget Keyte – 2.47.53

Alison Butcher – 2.47.54

Sam Grist – 2.49.04

Pat Harris – 2.54.00

Callie Hatcher – 3.00.12

Suzannah Lovett – 3.12.59

Debbie Radestock – 3.13.04

Lyn Snow – 3.30.12 

Dorchester Marathon and Casterbridge Half

Dorchester. A little cluster of historic buildings, poets, authors, martyrs and legends. All enveloped by rolling hills, chocolate box cottages, Piddle (that’s a river btw), puddles, forests and enough fiddley-diddley-dee to last you a lifetime. 

In only its second year, White Star Running’s only road race is fast growing, with over 2000 competitors taking the trip down West to take on the undulating courses and the much talked about Barn Dance after party.

Arriving early and making the most of the camping experience, most of our team pitched up in the sunshine with one eye on their weather apps as thunderstorms and flash flooding were forecast. 

“I was more worried about my tent leaking than running the race haha” quips camping newbie Sarah Holmes 

With heavy downpours during the night, the Roadrunners woke up to more rain which continued right upto about 15 minutes before the off.  But right on queue, as the race briefing began, the clouds parted like the Red Sea and the sun dried off its hat and popped it straight on, burning away the clouds and raising the humidity despite the early 8.30 start.

Not too many nerves on the startline as our awesome foursome have run this iconic distance many a time between them. It was more a case of careful race planning to account for the unrelenting undulation and the heat.

After being given the off from the Towncryer, they, along with over 700 others, began their 26.2 mile journey. White Star Running is also famous for it’s love of hills, not slopes, not graceful increases in gradient, hills…. proper hills. It wasn’t long before our 4 marathoners were making their way up their first one, (before they even reached mile 1 to be more precise), as they made their way through the historic town centre before they began their journeys into the lush green countryside and toward West Stafford and Tincleton.

Meanwhile our half runners, Michael Douglas, Sarah Sharp, Caroline Curliss and Giorgio Marinelli lined up on the banks of the River Frome with a huge field of over 1200 other runners for the Casterbridge Half Marathon. Again set off by the towncryer, they embarked on a different route cutting through Puddletown Forest, before joining the marathon route at around  7 miles.

Picturesque cottages were a plenty, along with pockets of locals sitting on drives and front lawns in their camping chairs. Clapping and cheering and offering varying goodies to the intrepid runners. Welcoming they certainly were,  embracing the event, seemingly making a day of it as the sun baked the Runners and spectators alike.

Perhaps the most welcome sight for both our teams was our very own Dan Williams who came along to help on the first water station.

“I’ve never done anything like that before” he tells me “it was great to see a race from a different perspective. It was much busier than I thought though. Proper hectic at one stage! We couldn’t keep up with getting the cups filled up” 

Onward the marathoners went through the leafy shade of Oakerswood, but the undulation wasn’t letting up and neither was the heat as the temperature hit 27c. For every down there was another up, coupled with the increasing humidity, the runners began to flag.  Themed aid stations along the way made fuelling more fun.

”They were playing some great tunes along the way” said Holmsie “It really picked me up in the second half”

Continuing forever up and down, up and down, past the 15th century Manor at Athlehampton, past the famous Tolpuddle Martyr Museum.

On to Mile 20 (mile 7 for the half) and the famous White Star Lovestation. Located in a real barn, complete with hay bales and stinky cows, a resident bevy of lovelies were there giving out ice cold wet cuddles, coke, sweets, cake and BEER!!

It was fair to say that our Half runners were in a more fit state to indulge themselves than the marathoners.

No hanging about at the Lovestation for our dynamo Douglas though.

The Lovestation provides a big mental marker for all of them as it signifies that there is only 10k left to run. At this point the courses converge and they run the rest of the route together. Up and down the most challenging part of the course.

The course saves the best hills for last, with a never ending rollercoaster of elevation, the runners tired legs start to slow as the Big Dipper at 24/11 miles does its damage. In the half, Michael Douglas held tight, pushing, pushing, pushing all the way up those final hills to smash his way into a magnificent 3rd place overall.

“I really enjoyed the route. It was a struggle with the heat toward the end, but I am over the moon to have come 3rd” Michael beams 

Giorgio Marinelli was the next Roadrunner to return to Cokers Farm. In only his 2nd proper half marathon, he ran well.

“I probably could have finished quicker. I spent far too much time enjoying the Lovestation tucking into to all the goodies there. Somehow though, I missed the beer! How did I manage that!” 

Next across the finish line was the first of our marathon quartet, Stuart Backhouse who ran a blinder of a race to arrive home in a fantastic 9th overall and 4th V45. No mean feat as the field had some top class athletes amongst them. Andy MacArthur was just 10 minutes behind him in 21st and 10th V45 as he also pitched it perfectly gaining ground in the second half of the race. 

The half girls were home next having had the most fun out of everyone.

“We just chatted the whole way, it was lovely” said Caroline, who, like Giorgio was completing only her second proper half. 

“We made the most of the Lovestation” said vice chair Sarah Sharp “It was great”

Next across the line was Michael Coultrup to claim 11th in his age category.

“I took it easy, chatting to people along the way. I really enjoyed it, despite my sunburn”

Last but by no means least was Sarah Holmes who was ecstatic to take 9th in her age category. Like Michael, she had run the inaugural event last year so she knew what to expect.

“I just wanted to beat last year’s time” she said. Mission accomplished, she took 11 minutes off last year’s time. “I am really pleased that I managed to run every step of the way as I had to walk lots last year. I was determined to not give in this time” 

All home in one piece.

Time for a bit of R&R in the campsite before scurrying off to get changed for what they considered the main event….. The Barn Dance. Now there is only one thing that us roadrunners take more seriously than our running and that’s our fancy dress. It’s fair to say, had there been a prize for fancy dress, we would’ve rocked it! (Well to be fair we were the only ones in fancy dress but that’s a minor detail) 

A prize for dancing… not so much!! 

Fantastic weekend was had by all. We’ll be back next year without a doubt. 

Marathon

Stuart Backhouse – 3.12.22

Andy MacArthur – 3.22.06

Michael Coultrup – 3.46.16

Sarah Holmes – 4.15.38

Half

Michael Douglas – 1.27.15

Giorgio Marinelli – 2.10.30

Caroline Curliss – 2.31.18

Sarah Sharp – 2.31.18

Thanks to DorsetBays Photography for their fantastic photos

Buckingham Half Marathon

Fresh from his high octane performance at the MK Rocket 5k, our junior Harry Rann was back in his white blue and red vest this time in Buckingham.

Starting at Maids Moreton Playing Fields, this scenic, undulating single lap winds it’s way around the glorious countryside of the county, visiting the towns and villiages of Leckhampstead, Wicker and Akeley along the way.

Temperatures rose sharply as Harry got off to a blistering start.

“It was so hot” said our superstar junior. “I was chucking water over my head at all the water stations”

Undeterred, Harry powered his way around the course, crossing the line back at the playing fields in 1.31.05 and a stonking 16th overall and 7th in his age category. 

“It was much hillier than the Island half and the heat was insane. I had a bit of a wobble when I’d finished. I think it was a bit of dehydration”

But after a bit of sugar and a drink, out amazing junior lives to fight another day.

Well done Harry.

Night Runner

Running around in the dark, with nothing but a map to guide you? Sound appealing?

Well it was just that for 8 Roadrunners on Saturday night. 

Starting at Cheverton Farm, this fundraiser for The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was well supported. With a good choice of distances on offer there was something for everyone, (well unless you’re scared of the dark!) and a party afterwards…. what’s not to like about this event? 

From the 5k, 10k, 20k and 35k on offer , Isle of Wight Road Runners had entries in the 10k (Laura Holme and Nick Stilwell), in the 20k (Sarah and Ivan Ward & Nick Carter) and in the 35k (Paul Cameron and Charlotte & Ian Williams)  

Setting off at dusk, this non timed event relies on the runners self navigating to a number of designated checkpoints along the way, (what can possibly go wrong right?)

The courses cover chalky trails, farm tracks, bridleways and grassland. The routes between them take in parts of the Tennyson Trail, Limerstone, Mottistone and Brook Downs, Yarmouth Cycle path, Thorley, Wellow, Shalcombe and Brighstone Forest. The 35k in particular covering some 462m (that’s 1515 feet in old money) of elevation along the way, so they are by no means a walk in the park.

As the clock tick ticked it’s way to 7.30pm the 3 Roadrunners (in fact the only 3 runners full stop) set off for the 35k. 

“It was beautiful running over to Freshwater with the sunset” Charlotte Williams tells me.

An hour later the rest of the Runners donned their head torches and set of on the 10 and 20k runs.

“That hill at Brighstone was as horrible as I remember” said Nick Stillwell afterwards. He should know that by now he’s competed in this event 3 years on the bounce. 

Sarah and Ivan had an interesting night out in the darkness. 

“We got lost!” They exclaim “maybe we should have paid more attention to the map, but the Marshalls sent us in the wrong direction!”

They ended up finding the finish too soon after their misdirection and only ran 11k out of the 20 

“It was a laugh, and it’s still 11k more than we would’ve run on Saturday night as we only decided to rock up last minute” Sarah tells me

In the 35k Paul Cameron was smashing it. Despite having to walk one of the nastier hills toward the end of the route, he still managed to beat some of the 50k cyclists home!

Charlotte and Ian ran the entire course together, with Ian stealing all of Charlottes water 

“I’m buying him his own rucksack next time” she laughs “It was really nice having all the bikes racing past us in the last 5 miles or so”

Sounds like a good time was had by all.

Riga Marathon Festival

The Latvian City of Riga.

An unlikely venue for a running festival…. or not as the case turned out as 2 or our intrepid trotting tourists Ian Dyer and Danny Faulkner found out.

“It was brilliantly organised with loads of different races on” Ian informs me 

After flying out on Thursday, the pair spent a couple of days exploring this historic city and collecting their numbers from the expo.

Set on the estuary of the River Daugava as it meets the Baltic Sea, this former European city of culture has a rich heritage. Famous for its 19th century wooden buildings, art nouveau architecture and medieval old town, it’s easy to see why this city played host to 1.4 million visitors last year. 

4243 of which have travelled there from 78 different nations to take part in the weekend’s racing.This bronze standard IAAF event is relatively new, but is growing year on year. 

With a variety of distances on offer this event is truly inclusive. From a kiddies race to the more grown up 6k, 10k, half marathon and a full 26.2, there are a real family festival atmosphere. Ian opted for the marathon whilst Danny went for the half. The unearthly start time of 8.30 didn’t sound too unappealing until they realised the 2 hour time difference

“I am not thrilled to be running at this time in the morning, but hey ho!” Danny quips on Facebook just before the race.

Unperturbed, they unusually started off at the same time in the heart of Old Riga. Following largely the same course, both the marathon and half straddle both sides of the Daugava River, crossing all three of its bridges at some point in the race inbetween touring the Pardaugava, the Hanseatic Old Town, Kipsala Island and Art Nouveau District, with the marathon taking a few extra out and back sections too. This virtually flat course also enjoys the luxury of traffic free roads. Add in bands, choirs, folk dancers and “flag avenue” and you can see why this event is on the path to becoming one of the greatest events in Europe.

Danny made it back to the embankment finishline in a fantastic 1.30.20. 

“The temperature was baking in places” he said 

It didn’t seem to affect his performance however as he finished in an amazing 43rd out of some 7000 competitors. 

Ian was still out there on the course, with the temperature going up and up.

“The atmosphere was brilliant” he said later in the day.

He enjoyed the race and practically danced down the finishing straight, waving his arms in the air and raising a cheer from the crowds with a big smile on his face to cross the line in 4.18.41. Watch his great finish here…..

230A1688-DEF1-477C-8940-2928ABFA0A23

“I’m pleased with my time considering my injury” he beams

And so he should be. 

Time for a beer …. Priekā

Netley 10k – HRRL #10

The 10th race of the HRRL season took place just across the water in Southampton. The Royal Victoria Country Park was the venue for Southampton Athletic Clubs 10k race. 

Adjoining Netley Police College and close to the Hamble River, this race was sold out early, as runners scramble to improve their positions in the league in the last few races.

The runners blasted their way around the winding 3 laps of the Country Park to then muster all they have left for a last 600m dash to the finish line adjacent to the historic chapel.

Cole Pearce was the first Road runner back in a magnificent 36 minutes and 10th overall. Ross Wilkes wasn’t too far behind him in 20th place with Simon Pilcher hot on his heels in 21st. Both lads getting themselves PBs to boot.

“I’m so damn pleased” said Ross “I’ve finally broken the 6 minute mile barrier”

They also managed to take 3rd place men’s team between them, giving themselves a real chance of league promotion with only 2 races left to run. 

Stu Backhouse was next home in under 38 minutes grabbing 3rd V45, with Matt Fletcher still managing to defy his double hernia to arrive over the line in just under 40 minutes and Nick Kenney a minute later. Next was a tussle between the self proclaimed Punk rock King of awesomeness Dean Pike and George Butler, who took a staggering 4 minutes off his PB as he just pipped Dean on the line.

Trish lead the girls home to a a victory in the V50 category, with Jodie only a couple of minutes behind. Great running from these two ladies as they are finding their form once more after injury. Lizzie Pilcher was the next lady home (with a tidy PB), to complete the ladies team, giving them a fantastic 5th place overall.

Darren Dollery also secured himself a PB. In his first trip away with the club, he was pleased as punch. Tarnia Eldridge also continued her return to form with a fantastically paced race, followed by Sarah Holmes and 1 second later Zoe Sherwin. 

Ladies Captain was next home with a very smiley finish followed by Sarah Sharp and Bridget Keyte. Caroline Curliss finished strongly down the final straight with Claire Jasper and her 18 week baby bump looking fantastic as she crossed the line outside the Chapel.

Great running team 

 

Cole Pearce-36.09

Ross Wilkes- 36.53

Simon Pilcher-37.01

Stu Backhouse-37.40

Matt Fletcher-39.54

Nick Kenney-40.52

George Butler-41.13

Dean Pike- 41.14

Trish Train-42.28

Jodie Wilmott-44.58

Darren Dollery-45.36

Lizzie Pilcher-46.30

Tarnia Eldridge-48.15

Sarah Holmes-48.55

Zoe Sherwin-48.56

Julie Ray-52.27

Sarah Sharp-55.07

Bridget Keyte-1.01.04

Caroline Curliss-1.01.17

Claire Jasper-1.10.28