All posts by Ross Wilkes

Thames Path 100

After 6 months of no running events most people wouldve eased back into races with a 5 or 10km so it wasnt a shock to the system. But of course our Road Runners ultra runner Ian Russell always likes to pull off the extraordinary taking on Centurion Runnings Thames Path 100 mile race. The route follows the pavement and compact trail alongside the River Thames from Richmond, London to Oxford with only 1900 feet elevation making it a flat and fast (or as fast as you can get for a ultra marathon) event.

With floating start times the athletes got to choose their slot they began with. Ian chose a 7.45am spot in order to avoid getting caught up with the quick starters going for a more disciplined paced approach. He hit Henley and the halfway point in 8.18 and a 50mile PB. Whilst he was making good time though, the course was isolated from other competitors so he had two familiar faces, friend Phil and Road Runner Dan Williams to support crew him the second half. ‘I was so thankful, youre basically running by yourself for 8 hours and it gets lonely. Dan was great opening gates and keeping me motivated and Phil did a top job crewing’. On he plodded hitting the 100km point in 10.30 and managing another personal best. He snuck into 18th place in the latter stages however fatigue started to creep in and dropped a few spots. He ploughed on to a 19.29 finish and held on to 24th place and finished with a shiny new 100 mile PB. Smashing job Ian!

Larmer Tree Race Weekend

Always a popular race with the Road Runners, 14 of the club travelled up to Cranbourne Chase, just west of Salisbury to take on the White Star Running trail events. On the Saturday the 10 mile and half marathon events took place. Whilst very hilly and muddy round the Rushmore Estate near Tollard Royal the conditions were kinder than they had been in recent weeks though made the course no less challenging. Briony Andrew completed the 10 mile in a fantastic 2.22 also making the top 10 in her age before Gordan Mucklow, Kev Winchcombe, Gill Bushell and Lyn Snow set out. Sadly Lyn had to pull out at mile 6 with injury though a massive well done for attempting it in the first place. Gordan completed the course in 2.24 with Kev and Gill coming in together in 2.45. Great job all over you.

Many of Saturdays runners stayed on to cheer on the Sunday marathon group who needed the support as weather had taken a turn with plenty of wind, rain and even hail. With half the course on the same paths as the day before the ground was churned up before having to run Winkelbury Hill and Chase Woods. ‘Ive never seen so much mud and weather extremes in one day’ said captain Lisa Upstell. Most of the runners formed a group as they went round the route keeping morale high and chins up over the extreme course. This didnt stop trail enthusiast Steve Apsey from putting in a stellar performance getting in the top 40 in 4.32 followed by Neil McCall in 5.24 and Julie Rasmussen in 6.02. As the support crew waited anxiously at the finish line 6 smiling (and grimacing) faces rounded the corner to the finish coming over the line together as Jane Andrew, Lisa Upstell, Julie Ray, Tarnia Butler, Elaine Harris and George Butler finished in 6.51. ‘There was amazing support from the others and our spectacular support crew who managed to meet us when we desperately needed them. Unforgettable memories’ said Jane.

Definately a essense of the comradery the clubs all about. Well done all of you, fantastic effort.

Steyning Stinger Marathon

On his 164th marathon, distance king Steve Hickman travelled to Sussex to take on the Steyning Stinger, his 18th consecutive year of doing so. The course goes from the village of Steyning, acrosd the South Downs to Washington before looping down to Findon Valley, eastwards to Steep Downs and back to up to Steyning. ‘The early miles were full of calf deep mud, it was energy sapping’ said Steve. After weeks of storms and poor weather the course had become difficult to run on, many races in recent months had been challenging but even a experienced runner like Steve found the marathon distance in the conditions tough going. ‘I felt ok until mile 16 then the climbs started to take there toll’. But this was still just another 26.2M to add to his collection and he managed a fantastic 5.49.01 creeping into the top 200 and more impressivly a brilliant 4th in his age category.

Great running as always Steve!

Winchester 10k

Both Louise Morris and Judy McCabe travelled to conquer the undulating and windy Winchester 10k course. Founded in 1980, its very popular with nearly 1800 athletes competing. The course goes from the guildhall out of the city intp the countryside villages of Kingsworthy and Henbourne before looping back to North Walls rec centre. Unfortunately there was a little bit extra to thr course as runners were sent down a wrong road and added a extra half a kilometre to their race. Both ladies did brilliant regardless. Judy McCabe nailed it in 50.48 taking 80th lady in the race with Louise doing a great 1.03.15 and creeping into the top 500. Terrific job both of you.

Arthur Biggs Handicap Race

The final race in the Harriers XC series, the aim of the event is to improve upon your time from one of the previous in the series. Athletes are given a handicap time based on their previous race and set off in staggered intervals. Alison Butcher was our only runner who set off on the challenge. And a challenge it would be, after two races and several weeks of rain the course resembled a mud run rather than a XC event. ‘It was definitely quieter than previous years, the mud was deep, fields were squelchy and wind was gusty but I enjoyed it’ Alison said. Still she did a tremendous job on the difficult course finishing in 1.13.38 and making the top ten ladies in the event! ‘I was a minute or two slower than the January one, on the last lap I nearly lost my shoes!’

Great job Alison!

IW Cross Country Championships

With tons of events cancelled up and down the country due to Storm Dennis, Ryde Harriers did everything in their power to get the annual IW cross country championships at smallbrook going ahead. With flooding on some sections of the course, waterlogged fields and ankle deep mud it added another kind of element to the race making it a different kind of challenge. Andy Wheeler described it as ‘incredibly tough, every step felt like i was sinking further into the fields. Classic British cross country weather’. This didnt stop him claiming 2nd overall place on his first race for the club, what a start. He was closely followed by Ross Wilkes taking 3rd place with cross country regular Simon Riley also getting in the top 10 and getting 2nd vet40. The three together scraped into the 1st place mens team position by two points claiming the gold for a 3rd year in a row. David Blake, Gary Sharp, Richard Bezer and Kev Rann all slid their way round the course, nailing some great times in the process and ensuring the Road Runners white vests didnt stay white for long. Steve Bennett grabbed the gold as he was crowned 1st vet60 and Judy McCabe, sadly our only lady in the race, more than made up for it with a quality position of 4th lady and 2nd in her age. Dave Wilcock and Sam Grist rounded off the team swimming their way to the finish with a some great times.

Quality work every one of you, takes a lot to go racing on a day like that but made sure we were well represented and kicking ass as usual.

Andy Wheeler 2nd 45.07

Ross Wilkes 3rd 45.22

Simon Riley 9th 48.46

David Blake 16th 52.29

Gary Sharp 28th 59.15

Richard Bezer 29th 1.00.18

Kev Rann 32nd 1.02.33

Judy McCabe 4th lady 1.03.54

Steve Bennett 33rd 1.03.55

Dave Wilcock 43rd 1.10.54

Sam Grist 46th 1.30.17

Ryde 10M

Over half way into the Hampshire season, race number 7 was on home turf at the ever popular Ryde 10 mile. A whopping 50 Road Runners took to the undulating course from Ryde Esplanade, through Nettlestone to St Helens Duver before looping through the caravan park to Seaview and back home.

For the mens teams the ever consistent Stuart Backhouse came across the line first in 1.06.30 claiming 31st and 4th in age. Darren Cole went head to head with a couple of local runners as he battled to a 1.07.47 finish followed by Steve Apsey in 1.11.30 and Andy Macarthur in 1.11.46 completing our A team. Pete Sexton scored a 3rd in his age in 1.13.32 with Garry Sharp, Simon Paul and his pacer David Blake all getting sub 1.17 with Simon getting a course PB.

In the ladies teams Holly Newton zoomed her way round to be 12th lady, 5th in age and 3rd island female. With Julie Dixon and Judy McCabe both pulling out brilliant times in 1.23.44 and 1.24.13 respectively. For our B team Kate Paul got a great 1.26.26 with Sarah Ward getting a new 10 mile PB and newly appointed co-captain Zoe Sherwin sneaking under the 1.30 mark.

Andy Tickner also blasted through the course for a new PB of 1.23.18 and on his HRRL debut Kenny Harrison also got a PB of 1.43.42. What a way to start. Luy Deville got top 5 in her age too as well as lots of our runners geting some great course PBs too and all with smiles on faces. Brilliant running team!

Stuart Backhouse 106.30

Darren Cole 1.07.47

Steve Apsey 1.11.30

Andy Macarthur 1.11.46

Pete Sexton 1.13.32

Holly Newton 1.13.57

Garry Sharp 1.16.20

Simon Paul 1.16.33

David Blake 1.16.34

Kev Rann 1.17.31

Tim Keyte 1.18.39

Guy Mattinson 1.19.09

Andy Tickner 1.23.18

Julie Dixon 1.23.44

Judy McCabe 1.24.13

Steve Bennett 1.24.14

George Butler 1.24.19

James Shoulder 1.25.09

Ian Dyer 1.25.09

Kate Paul 1.26.26

Sarah Ward 1.26.53

Ivan Ward 1.27.23

Zoe Sherwin 1.29.56

Chani Jones 1.31.36

Dave Wilcock 1.32.52

Lisa Upstell 1.33.53

Kev Winchcombe 1.34.56

Karen Phillips 1.34.59

Julie Ray 1.35.09

Zoe Elliot 1.35.27

Sarah Sharp 1.35.52

Steve Hickman 1.38.04

Fiona Attwood 1.39.25

Alison Butcher 1.41.04

Kenny Harrison 1.43.42

Bridget Keyte 1.44.31

Sue Hunter 1.44.31

Louise Morris 1.48.20

Lucy Deville 1.48.49

Matt Wade 1.59.40

Sam Grist 2.03.44

Tracey Houdoire 2.09.10

Chichester 10k

With neither Ryde 10 or Portsmouth Half taking their fancy the Williams’ decided to go for something a little bit more speedy with Chichester 10k. A flat and fast course it attracts over 1500 runners with many elite runners from the south, some gunning for a sub 30. The course sees the runners almost doing a figure of 8 pattern round the edge of the town and in Goodwood before looping back. ‘It seemed like hard work, it was quite a intimidating race with lots of serious club runners and lots of the go faster shoes’ said Charlotte. Our runners however clearly did not need the shoes though with Charlotte getting excellent 54.39. As the clock ticked toward the hour mark Ian had a target to hit and as he glided in was chuffed to bit securing 59.26 and knocking nearly 3 minutes of his PB.

Cracking effort both of you.

Portsmouth Coastal Half

6 of our runners looked to brave the coastal paths in the Portsmouth Half Marathon. A similar route to the December Marathon the course whilst flat proves to have its own challenges. ‘The course is not PB material. Narrow footpaths, muddy beaches and boggy fields made it slow and tough going’ said an under the weather Simon Randall. Paired with the wind it made it tough for our runners but they still stormed it all achieving some great times. First in was Mr Randall in 1.37.59 claiming sneaking in the top 40 and 8th in age followed by Carolyn Littleton in great 2.08.57 and 9th in age. Kelly Forster crossed the line in 2.17.25 with Jo Randall and Gill Shaw coming in together at 2.51.16/17. Gill also managed tp make the top 10 in her age. Finally Lyn Snow did a brilliant 3.01.34 keeping her good form.

Fantastic results gang, well done every one of you.

Farnborough Half Marathon

In its 4th year and at the home of the famous air show Farnborough half marathon has quickly one of the biggest winter halfs in the country with over 2300 athletes competing. It was here that Ross Wilkes went in search of a quick time to start his 2020 race calender year. A flat and fast route with only a couple of slight, short inclines the course starts from the old airship hangar and doing a lap of the nearby airport before heading west toward Fleet, looping down to Aldershot and heading home.

Starting fast to settle into a spot, Ross went into the first 8 miles steady before pushing forward the final 4. Knowing with a couple of miles left a PB would be on the cards it would be a question of how much time he could take off. Ross finally crossed the finish line in 1.20.50 in 60th place taking nearly 3 minutes of his PB.