All posts by Sarah Holmes

Isle of Wight Half Marathon

The runners woke up to torrential downpours on Sunday as they were donning their white vests and lacing up their trainers to make the journey over to Ryde for the Isle of Wight Half Marathon.

Luckily the rain cleared up just in time as they lined up on the startline outside the Rowing Club at Appley. Famously undulating, the course meanders from the park along Calthorpe Road and along Bullen Road before turning into Attrills Lane and then toward Nettlestone and then up Pondwell Hill. 

It then turned back up Bullen Road for the second time before turning onto Beeper Shute before turning onto a welcome bit of downhill in the shape of Carpenters Road and onto St.Helens. 

They then turned back onto Attrills Lane, Bullen Road and Calthorpe Road for the equally undulating return journey before they finally reached the finish back at Appley Park.

Stuart Backhouse was the first IWRR across the line taking 13th overall and 2nd V45. Michael Douglas was next in, taking 18th place. 

“It’s great to be racing again after my recent foot injury”

Scott Bradley put in a cracking performance to finish in under 90 minutes to secure his place in the 3rd place men’s team. Richard Harvey, Simon Randall and Jamie Brenchley all came in with a couple of minutes of each other taking the 4th place men’s team.

For the ladies Jodie Wilmott took 5th Female overall, 1st V35 and the 1st IOW Female trophy. Hayley Baxter was only 2 places behind to take 7th female and 1st V40. Margaret Niland-Murphy showed she is returning to form by taking 16th female, 2nd V50 and earning team IWRR the first place team medal. Sarah Ward, Chani Jones and Carolyn Littleton ran themselves into the 4th place team position.

A hard run for everyone, team IWRR gave it their all.

Particular mention goes to Lucy Deville for takes the top of the podium in the V65 category, Sarah Ward for taking 3rd V50 and Chani Jones, Gill Shaw & Carolyn Littleton for securing 4th places in their categories.

 Lyn Snow also deserves a mention for completing her first race after breaking her shoulder during the Round the Island Relay a few weeks ago.

Stuart Backhouse – 1.25.51

Michael Douglas – 1.26.26

Scott Bradley – 1.29.49

Richard Harvey – 1.30.57

Simon Randall – 1.32.39

Jamie Brenchley – 1.33.02

Jodie Wilmott – 1.38.05

Matt Fletcher – 1.41.04

Tim Keyte – 1.41.34

Hayley Baxter – 1.42.54

Simon Paul – 1.45.50

Garry Sharp – 1.48.12

Richard Clark – 1.50.45

Margaret Niland-Murphy- 1.54.27

Andy Tickner – 1.58.49

Sarah Ward – 2.00.33

Chani Jones – 2.01.54

Dave Wilcock – 2.06.08 

Carolyn Littleton – 2.20.19

David Blake – 2.24.48

Louise Morris – 2.24.48

Kelvin Mansfield – 2.25.28

Lucy Deville – 2.33.42

Debbie Radestock – 2.38.10

Gill Shaw – 2.39.48

Jo Randall – 2.41.41

Eloise Radestock – 2.42.52

Callie Hatcher – 2.49.07

Lyn Snow – 3.00.47

Two Tunnels Marathon

The Two Tunnels Marathon in Bath. This beautiful marathon not only takes in the finest sights of this glorious Georgian city but it also offers the unique experience of 4km of underground running as the course takes in the converted railway tunnels that pass beneath the city.

Ross Wilkes made the trip over the historic city to take on his 8th marathon. 

Starting at Brickfields Park, this 2 loop marathon course went straight into the shorter Devonshire Tunnel followed by the significantly longer Combe Down Tunnel emerging on the top of Tucking Mill Viaduct. 

“Running through the tunnels was nice and cool, although they were playing classical music in there which was bizarre”

Ross snaked his way through the winding lanes following the National Cycle Network signs to the picturesque village of Monkton Combe and then onto the old track bed of the Bristol & North Somerset Railway.

Ross then found himself running alongside the Somerset Coal Canal and then at the beautiful Dundas Aquaduct merging with the Kennet & Avon canal.  Ross then continued through the Limpley Stoke Valley passing the Warleigh Weir, Sham Castle and Browns Folly before making the return to the start pastCleveland House, Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey.

He ran his first lap brilliantly, using his experience and keeping a good pace. 

“I started to drop off a bit at mile 17. I accidentally drank some really strong electrolyte drink at the aid station instead of water. By mile 20 I had awful acid reflux. I was in pain and felt so nauseous that I had to run/walk the last 5k”

And to make matters worse there were traffic light crossings, steps and lots of people milling around the Abbey area. Despite this, Ross still crossed the line in a cracking 3 hours and 54 minutes.

Great going rocket Ross!

Midnight Marathon

Yes they were back! The original goon squad were back at their favourite race for their legendary “boys night out” at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park over the water. 

Never run without some sort of drama, this year didn’t disappoint as Dan Williams, Ian Russell, Michael Coultrup and Bill Goozee lined up alongside new recruit Simon Riley for an evening of fun.

An out and back race, the course takes on the South Downs Way. Starting at 9pm the boys had half an hour of daylight before it dipped below the horizon and the real test started. Following the public footpath signs it can be easy to miss a turning in daylight, let alone in darkness.

They all started off well, making the most of the flatter initial miles around the country park section before beginning the chalky climb on to the ancient ridges, nearly 4000ft of ascent laying before them. 

The rain of the previous days made the course slippery in places as the boys negotiated their way along. Dan and Bill ran together, leaving the front pack to go slightly ahead. Micheal, Ian and Simon running comfortably within themselves.

Heading toward Buriton, Ditcham and South Harting, they reached the halfway turning point at Cocking for the return on this out and back. Bill and Dan working their way along nicely until both of their stomachs took a south turn… literally!

“We both had the same sandwiches on the ferry… can’t be a coincidence surely” laughs Dan 

After a pit stop or 2 (or 7 unbelievably!) and several pieces of kit lighter they somehow still managed to find themselves in 3rd and 4th place. Bill stacked it at around 24 miles and Dan went ahead. 

They crossed the line retaining their positions somewhat minus their dignity. Dan taking 2nd V40 and Bill 2nd SM. Ian wasn’t too far behind taking 14th overall and 7th V40. 

“I started slower this year so I would feel stronger in the second half. It definitely worked as I was passing people left, right and centre in the last 10k” said Ian “and no… I didn’t get lost!… for once !”

Michael was next across the line taking 3rd V50. The biggest cheer has to go to Simon who despite having only run 18 miles in training smashed out his first marathon in over 20 years.

“I stuck to my nutrition plan and still felt good at 20 miles. I was worried about getting lost on the return leg but found a little group to stick with. It was the hardest run I’ve ever done.. I’ve never seen so many hills! It was a physical and mental challenge but I’m happy to say I survived!”

Dan Williams – 3.53.35

Bill Goozee – 3.54.05

Ian Russell – 4.16.10

Michael Coultrup – 4.35.15

Simon Riley – 4.53.53

Twilight Chase

The Rye Harbour in East Sussex. A glorious nature reserve. Home to an astonishing 4500 species of plants of animals, some 300 of them rare and endangered.  It is one of the countries most important and largest wildlife sites. 

This exceptional area of wetland and coastal landscape was the setting for the Twilight Chase. A 6 hour timed event to run as many 4.4 mile loops around this pancake flat corner of the uk. What an idyllic way to spend a balmy August evening for our super experienced Mr.Marathon man, Steve Hickman……what could possibly go wrong?

“How hard could it be?” Steve said on Facebook 

75mph winds…. that’s what could go wrong. 

“It couldn’t have been any windier” 

The geography of the area that makes is so beautiful, also makes it one of the exposed parts of the coast. 

Starting at the sailing club at 4pm, Steve set out towards the Nature Reserve past the Mary Stanford Lifeboat House and on toward, but not quite reaching the red roof of “Grans Hut” with 26 wind turbines in the distance. Here Steve and the other 99 runners made the turn to head back to HQ. 

Upon returning to the aid station, Steve was given a wristband for each lap completed. With the sun setting at 8.30pm it was a race against the clock to battle the wind.

“It felt like you were running, but not actually moving!”

But the super trooper hung on to complete 6 laps of the morale battering course to reach the marathon distance 5 hours and 12 minutes 

Marathon 158 done ✔️

Cider Frolic

Dan Williams was back to take on the Cider Frolic for the second year in a row. Having won the event last year he decided to take it a bit less seriously this time around.

Starting at an early bird 8am Dan set off for the first lap with pal Stacey in fancy dress. 

“The bunny ears kept falling off haha… they got ditched after the first lap”

Set in the grounds of Cranbourne Chase Cider near Wimbourne, this endurance  event is a course of 3.9 miles to be run again and again over and over for 12 hours. Not hilly but not flat either, the undulating loop was tough underfoot. Rutty and rock hard in places, scratchy thigh high crops and matted thick dry grass to negotiate.

Halfway on each lap was the welcome sight of the infamous White Star  Lovestation . Banging out some disco tunes accompanied by sangria, cider and the usual array of coke, water and munchies. There was an ice cold sponge station also located there, an essential part of surviving the heat as morning turned into midday and a humid afternoon.

Dan kept Stacey company for a huge 33 miles, but she started to suffer tummy cramps so Dan went on ahead.

“Mile 34 and 35 were my fastest of the competition” he tells me “I knew I was in 7th place so I thought I’d try and make an indentation on that”

3 hours he continued on for… working his way through the field into 2nd place. Could history repeat itself?  Yes it could! But not in the way that Dan would have liked. 

The blow up he suffered last year on lap 15 (mile 54) happened like clockwork and he decided to call it a day. He made it to the end of the lap and retired. 56.5 miles behind him in 10 hours and 27 minutes. Giving him a final position of 4th overall and 3rd Male. 

That wasn’t the only prize Dan found himself with however. He was awarded White Star Runnings annual Tough Udder Award. Given to only one individual each year for their outstanding mental and physical toughness.

Bembridge Trail 5

A slightly cooler sky greeted runners at the 5 mile event as a part of Bembridge Youth and Community Centre’s Festival of Sport.

Raising money for the Bembridge Youth and Community Centre, a fantastic turn out of club members stood on the startline to support this run in its third year

5 beautiful off road miles through the countryside around the surrounding area, the course wind its way around Bembridge Down, continuing on to Bembridge Farm and finally along the cliff path at Whitecliff Bay were runners were treated to some fantastic views across the Channel. 

It was by no means a walk in the park though, the course was peppered generously with hills, gates, steps and stiles.

Ross Wilkes was the first IWRR back in just under 32 minutes to finish in 3rd overall with Stu Backhouse and Bill Goozee in 4th and 5th respectively.

In the ladies race it was Jodie Wilmott that was the first IWRR home taking 2nd place. 

Stu Backhouse also clinched the top vet trophy, with Simon Riley in 3rd. 

Ross Wilkes – 31.50

Stuart Backhouse – 33.03

Bill Goozee – 34.41

Simon Riley – 36.14

Andrew MacArthur – 36.27

Dan Williams – 36.49

Peter Wilmott – 37.59

Jodie Wilmott – 37.59

Simon Paul – 38.53

Guy Mattison – 39.09

Harry Rann – 39.14

Richard Clark – 40.29

Michael Coultrup – 40.53

Zoe Sherwin – 48.14

Chani Jones – 48.15

Elaine Harris – 50.16

Carolyn Littleton – 52.42

Kenny Harrison – 52.50

Susie Piper – 52.59

Pat Harris – 59.32

Caroline Curliss – 59.32

Paul Butcher – 1.01.00

Alison Butcher – 1.01.00

Claire Jasper – 1.02.06

Tracey Houdoire – 1.08.51

Penny Downer – 1.08.51

Coral Leach – 1.13.58

Lyn Snow – 1.13.58

MK 5000

An afternoon and evening full of 5000m races at Stantonbury track, the home of Marshall Milton Keynes AC provides the chance of running a PB in favourable conditions. A competitive field lined up in each race, graded according to ability not gender.

Anyone with a validated time of under 22 minutes within the past 18 months could enter, a prerequisite that Simon Pilcher  had no trouble satisfying.

Simon took to the track for his late afternoon race. He started solidly, settling in the pack at around 6th place. He picked  up the pace in the middle of the race making his second mile the quickest. Still in 6th place it was in the final few laps that Simons strength shone through as he made his way into 4th. A phenominal flourish saw him hammer his way home to a final time of 17.05, giving himself a well earned PB of a huge 40 seconds 

Space Race

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ‘Eagle’ lunar landing, Phoenix runnings weekend of running promised a “few giant leaps for mankind” 

Glen Jones had chosen this event as his July “small step” towards his 12 in 12 challenge whilst Kelvin Mansfield travelled up with girlfriend Callie Hatcher to participate in his first 6 hour timed event.

Starting at the Xcel Leisure Centre in Walton on Thames at 11am, this completely flat out and back course took in the Walton side bank of the River Thames, with Sunbury and Shepperton on the other side. Each circuit measuring 3.28 miles, Glen and Kelvin had to collect a wristband every time they completed the course before ringing the bell upon retirement. 

They set off at 11 on the dot into the glorious sunshine, (Yes! the Glen hot  weather curse had returned!)

“It’s the first time I’ve stood on the startline not knowing if I could finish” said Glen

It was nothing to do with the weather either. Glen had been hit in the side of the knee a few days before by a speeding cricket ball. The pain had not particularly subsided and had certainly got worse when he tried to run. Despite his misgivings we went out as Glen always does, giving it 100% effort. 

After the first few laps they were both going well. Still smiling, especially after a certain running legend popped up on the course, out for his Sunday “plod”

Excitement over and the business of getting this marathon run continued. Kelvin feeling the effects of being on holiday for 3 weeks and Glen finding his knee becoming more and more painful with every lap.

With the temperature rising it was getting tougher and tougher.

“I started to walk at halfway” said Glen “but that was worse, so I plodded on”

After 2 more laps and 20 miles Glen had to call it a day. Gutted that he had failed in his mission. 

Kelvin did manage to keep going and managed to clock up the marathon distance after 8 laps 

“I was hoping for one more, but considering my poor preparation I’ll take that. It was a lovely scenic route and great support”

They both received what can only be described as some sort of discus as a medal #bestblingever 

Well done chaps 

St George’s 10

Declared the patron saint of England in 1327 by King Edward III, St George was the embodiment of his vision for his Kingdom. Strong, fearless…. England’s hero.

That’s exactly what every runner had to be on this beast of a race on Sunday.

165 real life heroes lined up under the golden arch at St. George’s School.  10.30 came and club legend Dave Cass blasted the hooter to get them going on their 10 mile journies, (some for the first time ever) Unforgiving undulation faced each one of them for the next hour or 2 as the course unfolded. 

An uphill start into Watergate Road saw them get into their stride before they embarked upon the first steep climb…. Nunnery Lane. 

The climb took them past The Priory and onward toward their first vista of the race with a panoramic view of Carisbrooke Castle.

The sun was warm but thankfully not as fierce as last weeks record July temperatures as the runners made their way along the course to Gatcombe. Supporters, friends and family popping up along the route to cheer.

But then the real business began as the runners arrived in sunny Chillerton. All they had to do way get to the top of this beastly dragon of a hill (all 2 miles of it) 

At Berry Lane the torturous hill had been conquered by all. The dragon had been slayed. The drinks at the top were lapped up, (as was the view). the runners then descended back toward Gatcombe.

As they descended back to Gatcombe, the worst of the ascents behind them, they enjoyed a lengthy downhill. As they turned off at Newcroft and past the final drink station, the last 3 miles dragged on as the relentless rollercoaster of ups and downs drained their tired legs. 

This year’s overall winner was Gary Marshal in a very nippy 58.46, breaking the previous course record by 8 seconds. Paul Cooke from South Molton Strugglers snuck in under an hour to take 2nd place in 59.44. 3rd place went to Dave Hunt of Ryde Harriers in 1.01.23

In the ladies race, it was last minute entry Laura Brackley that emerged victorious in 1.07.16. She also set a new course record, taking off 17 seconds the previous time. Rosanna Sexton continued her great form to take 2nd place in 1.09.25. Jodie Wilmott came home 5 minutes later in 1.14.26 to take 3rd. 

In the Veteran Catagories it was Stu Backhouse, Steve Rumsey, Paul Muffett and Peter Young that took the top spots. For the ladies it was Laura Brackley, Karen Phillips, Nina French and Cherry Owens that ran themselves into the pole positions. 

Full results can be found here

The rest of the field came in one by one and two by two, hot, tired and exhausted but with a huge sense of achievement that only comes from triumphing over adversity. Their efforts were rewarded with the first half of a beautiful custom medal designed by the very talented IWRR David Blake, presented proudly by Dave’s wife and daughters.

All the winners were presented with their trophies and the cake stall was cleared out raising £140 for the School. Talk already turning to when 2020s race would be available so they could ensure their second half of the medal would make it into their collection. 

165 Heroes … every single one of them. 

IWRR Results 

Stu Backhouse – 1.04.40 

Ross Wilkes – 1.07.13

Steve Rumsey – 1.07.43

Paul Muffett – 1.08.31

Rosanna Sexton – 1.09.25

David Blake – 1.10.42

Sean Williams – 1.11.20

Scott Bradley – 1.11.42

Matt Fletcher – 1.11.44

Jamie Brenchley – 1.12.10

Jodie Wilmott – 1.14.26

Peter Sexton – 1.17.21

Tim Keyte – 1.17.37

Noel Finn – 1.19.32

Simon Weeks – 1.20.29

Simon Paul – 1.21.26

Kevin Rann – 1.22.02

Richard Clark – 1.25.07

George Butler – 1.32.38

Chani Jones – 1.34.44

Karen Phillips – 1.35.05

Kim Hulacka – 1.36.19

Charlotte Dollery – 1.41.54

Sue Hunter – 1.42.27

Judy McCabe – 1.43.54

Claire Harvey – 1.44.10

Fiona Atwood – 1.45.57

Emma Muffett – 1.46.42

Louise Morris – 1.49.09

Sarah Sharp- 1.49.28

Bridget Keyte – 1.49.29

Fay Tosdevin – 1.49.51

Eloise Radestock – 1.55.14

Debbie Radestock – 1.55.45

Jo Randall – 1.57.48

Gill Shaw – 2.06.50

Penny Downer – 2.07.30

Brian Harris – 2.08.27

Team Positions


2nd – Stu Backhouse, Ross Wilkes, Steve Rumsey

3rd – Paul Muffett, David Blake, Sean Williams


1st – Rosanna Sexton, Jodie Wilmott, Chani Jones 

3rd – Karen Phillips, Kim Hulacka, Charlotte Dollery 

Thanks to all the volunteers, marshalls, timekeepers, cyclists and everyone that gave up their time to make this event happen.

Asics London 10k

Closed roads slap bang in the centre of our glorious capital saw 9000 runners take to the streets on Sunday in the 19th running of this prodigious race. 

Starting on Piccadilly newcomer Louise Morris stood proudly on the startline in her Roadrunners vest for the first time anticipating the 9.30 kick off.

Off she went along to Piccadilly Circus to swing a left up Regent Street for an out and back before heading to St James Palace via Pall Mall. 

She then passed Nelson on his big column before heading up the usually eternally traffic heavy Charing Cross Road. Past the famous Hippodrome on the corner of Leicester Square before making the turn outside the Palace Theatre. Upon passing Charing Cross station on The Strand the halfway point was reached. Turning right just before Aldwich, she continued onto the turn at Temple to start on the straight stretch home along the Embankment.

With Big Ben in sight she did a quick flick over and back across Westminster Bridge to bring her into the last kilometre.

Passing Westminster Abbey and turning at the Henry Purcell Memorial Statue, she found herself on Whitehall for the final flourish to the finish outside Downing Street in a respectable 1.05.46 with a huge smile in her face.

Great Running Louise