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The Great North to South Run

A 20 mile run for fun. No prizes, no pressure, no winners, no times. 
It’s a run just for the joy of running. 

Started in 2012 by Richard Pearson of the Isle of Wight Hash House Harriers. It was intended to be run every other year, but it’s year on year growth in popularity has put it on the annual calendar. 

From the furthest point on the North in our Island (Egypt Point) through to the most Southerly at St. Catherines Lighthouse. This event is in the format of a hash. That is, minimally marked, unmarshalled and water stops in the form of Pubs on the route. 

Assembling at Egypt Point, the first leg of the journey took the runners from the seafront straight up the sharp incline of Egypt Hill and along to Northwood where it steps off the road onto trail. Raining already, they were set for a damp and blowy journey. Through they went to Parkhurst Forest before emerging the other side and on to the first stop at the Blacksmiths Arms on the Calbourne Road. The first 7 miles behind them.

After the first hydration stop of the journey, they continued up and over the Tennyson Trail, through Bowcombe, Gatcombe and Chillerton and along to The Chequers Inn at Rookley at the half marathon distance.
Onward they went on the third leg. Only 4 miles to the next stop. Running through Roud and Nettlecombe.

The White Horse in Whitwell was before them before they knew it. Only 2.6 miles left to go to make it to the Lighthouse. 

For those that weren’t adequately “hydrated” on the way, celebratory drinks were flowing in The Buddle Inn followed by a trip to Wetherspoons. 

 

Solent Half Marathon #HRRL2

A soggy start was on the cards as our team of runners lined up for the second league race of the season. 

Hosted by Hardley Runners, the 13.1 miles began at Gang Warily Recreation Centre in Blackfield. 

A beautifully scenic course stretched out before them, taking in winding country lanes. The first few miles took them toward the edge of the New Forest, (complete with wild ponies wandering around)

Onward the runners went heading toward Exbury then down to the shoreline at Lepe where the runners turned for home. Wiggling back through more country lanes, the course took them out to Fawley before they negotiated the only inclines of the course as they finally returned to the recreation centre.

It was Pb central as the warriors in white emerged onto the field at Gang Warily. Ross Wilkes was the first across the line, continuing his upward trajectory, smashing 3.5 minutes off his previous Pb.Jodie was next in, like Ross, continuing her fantastic return to form with another Pb and grabbing the 5th V35 spot. Harry Vernon was next to emerge on to the field at Gang Warily also with a pb, a whopping 9 minute Pb! Zoe Sherwin was close behind him giving herself her 2nd half marathon Pb in as many weeks. Kev Rann was next, giving his usual consistent 100% performance. Ian Dyer also ran his way to a tidy 6 minute Pb. Dave Wilcock had unfinished business at this race as he sacrificed last year’s outing to help tend to a girl that had collapsed last year. No drama for him this year, as he took a minute off his previous time. Then came Keith Ruth who ran with a friend to help her get a good time.Last but by no means least for the team was the formidable Bridget Keyte, who, as always, gave it everything as she battled up the last hill.

“It was a very successful day for the club” Keith beams afterwards “Even the rain wasn’t as bad as they had forecast”

Another great performance by the IWRR in the league competition, maintaining their already great start.

Ross Wilkes – 1.25.49

Jodie Wilmott – 1.36.53

Harry Vernon – 1.41.28

Zoe Sherwin – 1.42.16

Keven Rann – 1.43.42

Ian Dyer – 1.46.27

Dave Wilcock – 1.54.07

Keith Ruth – 2.05.21

Bridget Keyte – 2.17.36

Sandown and Shanklin 10k

A out and back course along the seafront from Sandown to Shanklin and back again may have promised some super speedy times given the pan flat nature of the course. 

However the tail end of storm Florence was making its presence felt as a couple of our trusty IWRR lined up outside Sandown Zoo. 

“It was so windy on the return leg” said Trish Train “I felt like a feather against the wind!”

It didn’t impede her performace though, as speedy Trish rocketed her way along the promenade and back to finish in 41.02 for 3rd lady, taking the V50 title. Steve Rumsey also ran a blinder, taking the V50 trophy for the men. 

Trish’s sister Margaret also ran, completing her first race for a while. She finished in a fantastic 55.33 and 14th lady. 

The Ventnor Fell Series

Fiercely competitive and ferociously challenging, these races are tough. The 24th Ryde Harriers annual Fell series did not disappoint. With ascent totalling 1165m over the 3 races, (that’s 3822 feet in old money), the tired legs of competitors will have climbed the equivalent of Mount Snowdon and then some by lunchtime on Sunday. To run one of the events is an achievement of grit, sweat and determination, but to run all three is indomitable . Popular with many of the London clubs, this event attracts some of the best Fell runners in the South.

Kicking off at 11am on Saturday morning, the first race is short and sweet. Well it’s short at least. Just 2 and a half miles. However, it is from sea level straight up to the highest point on the Island and back. So steep in fact it’s hard to run down, let alone run up. 

All our plucky runners, negotiated the monolithic mount and returned safely to the finish line at the race HQ of St Catherine’s School in Grove Road, most of them quicker than their times last year. Hayley Baxter smashed it coming 8th woman overall and 2nd v40. Poor Darren Dollery took a nasty tumble in the final mile, giving him a nasty swollen knee, leaving him unable to compete further in the series.

Race 1 – The Boniface Fell

Stuart Backhouse 20.39

Harry Rann – 22.32 

Hayley Baxter – 24.35

George Butler – 25.08

Ian Dyer – 26.45

Tarnia Eldridge – 29.48

Julie Salter – 32.17

Darren Dollery – 37.05

A couple of hours recovery and, joined by a couple more members, they were back down on the seafront for round two. 

This time 7.5 miles and 443m (1453ft) of elevation lay before them. Once again they set off on the extreme uphill start as the first 2 and a half miles took them back to St Boniface Down, but this time up the other side and onto Down Lane.

Over toward Wroxall they went before some welcome flat ground heading along the cycle path to the the outskirts of Shanklin before they turned for home and back onto the downland and finally back to the school.

Again Hayley Baxter came 8th lady overall and 2nd V40.

Race 2 – The Ventnor Horseshoe

Stuart Backhouse – 1.04.42 

Hayley Baxter – 1.12.53

Harry Rann – 1.15.59

Ian Dyer – 1.21.21

George Butler – 1.25.56

Clare Mucklow – 1.26.29

Lisa Upstell – 1.31.12

Tarnia Eldridge – 1.31.59

Julie Salter – 1.33.54

10 miles combined done….. 13 left in the morning….

Day 2 and most of yesterday’s competitors were joined by a few more club runners, taking on the longest and last of the events on its own. 

The runners once again congregated at the paddling pool on Ventnor Seafront for the 10.30 start.

A more gentle start this time, as the runners ran along the seafront and cliff path through the temperate Botanic Gardens. Despite the cloudy beginnings, the sky hid humid and hot conditions as the runners battled their way round the course. They began their ascent through St Lawrence, passing the football ground at Watcombe Bottom before continuing further up to the never ending climb of Stenbury Down.

But what goes up must come down, as they were treated to a bit of downhill relief.


The runners then continued through the countryside skirting Wroxall and Godshill before passing through the Donkey Sanctuary, which was hosting a family fun day. 

“It was great going through the Donkey Sanctuary” said Sarah Holmes “It was really busy with people cheering us all on and loud music. Nick Carter even stopped to have a bit of a dance! It was a real boost!”

A welcome flat section along the old railway line was soon negotiated as they then ascended what are lovingly referred to as “The Steps of Doom”. So steep are these, that you have to use the handrails to heave yourself upward.

At the top, they found themselves back on St Boniface Down, but this time on the flat as they followed the ridge along the top.

At last they reached the final steep descent and the welcome sight of the School for that last uphill push. All tired, but all triumphant. Unbelievably, Hayley Baxter showed great consistency by yet again, coming 8th lady and 2nd V40.

Race 3 – The Wroxall Round

Stuart Backhouse- 1.38.03

Harry Rann – 1.44.40

Bill Goozee – 1.54.04

Hayley Baxter – 1.54.12

Dan Williams – 1.56.07

Michael Coultrup – 2.01.28

George Butler – 2.11.09

Charlotte Williams – 2.14.17

Tarnia Eldridge – 2.22.03

Julie Salter – 2.26.28

Giorgio Marinelli – 2.28.07

Sarah Holmes – 2.28.20

Zoe Elliot – 2.28.22

Nick Carter – 2.28.45

Ian Williams – 2.30.37

As is usual with this weekend of racing, most of the overall top prizes were swept away by the overwhelming presence of some very high class runners from clubs such as Victoria Park and Serpentine. However a particular mention must go to Hayley Baxter whose consistent performance all weekend earnt her 1st IOW lady in all three races and Stuart Backhouse who, despite nursing a tight hamstring, was first IWRR back in all 3 races and held his own amidst some stiff competition in his age category.

Prizes and overall positions

Hayley Baxter – 1st IW lady, 8th overall and 2nd v40 

Tarnia Eldridge – 28th lady and 9th V40 

Julie Salter – 30th lady and 7th V50

Stuart Backhouse 43rd male and 11th V40

Harry Rann – 70th male 

George Butler – 97th male 

Ian Dyer – 102nd male and 28th V40

Ironman Wales

An Ironman. A man made of Iron. Tough, unyielding, immovable. Built with strength, resilience and determination. 

It’s not then hard to imagine how much grit and determination it takes to be crowned one. A massive feat of endurance, of will and of courage. 

Not satisfied with the challenge itself, two of our white warriors Kev Winchcombe and Nick Kenney took on the the toughest Ironman course in Europe, Nick having completed his first Ironman in Italy last year. Before them lay 226k (140 miles) of continuous exertion. A 3.8k sea swim, straight into a 180k bike ride followed by a marathon to run and all within the cut off time of 16 hours. 

Set in the medieval town of Tenby on the Pembrokeshire Coast in South West Wales, the course utilises the 4km of sandy beaches. However the rolling hills in and around the surrounding area made for challenging run and bike legs. But, despite its reputation as the toughest Ironman on the circuit, the locals also hold the reputation for being the most supportive, turning the town into a real celebration of human spirit for the day.

Race day…. 7am….. North Beach, Tenby. 

2500 hopefuls, all wishing to test their metal in this ultimate test. 

2 laps of a 1.9km circuit, coupled with an Aussie exit between laps kicked off the proceedings.

“Kev and I lined up nervously together in the start pen” said Nick “The swim could not have gone better. It was so beautiful in the waterI didn’t want it to end. Every time I turned to breathe I got a view of the sun coming up over the bay”

They both nailed the first event, both underestimating how fast they would complete it. Kev was first out of the water in 74 minutes, with Nick Just behind him in 75. A 1km run through the roaring crowds in the town to the transition area and they were both off on their bikes.

A brutal ride of 112 miles faced them, (that’s the equivalent of Portsmouth to the Severn Bridge by the way!), and as if that wasn’t hard enough, it was peppered with 8000ft of elevation. Technical riding at the best of times, but it was windy too, just to pile on the pressure.

“Nick caught me up after the swim and went past me with ease” Kev tells me 

Unfortunately 30k into the ride, disaster struck! Nick went over a cattle grid and somehow got thrown straight over the top of the bars impacting with full force onto his shoulder on the tarmac.

“I’ve ridden over many cattle grids, but something went wrong. I don’t know if I hit a buckle in the grid, but my front wheel just locked and I went straight over” 

“I could see Nick bending over his bike at the side of the road” said Kev “I couldn’t stop but slowed down to see if would catch me up which he did”

“I felt a searing pain in my shoulder. I could feel a bump along my clavicle, so I knew I had fractured it, but I decided to carry on regardless”

“We rode together for another 20 miles or so” said Kev “what a tough man!”

“I got to the next feed station” said Nick “I was in so much pain I couldn’t get my water bottle out. One of the Marshalls recognised my distress and pulled me out of the race. They probably saved my life as there was some dangerous descents coming up and I couldn’t really use my brakes properly”

So that was the end of the road for Nick.

Race over.

Kev carried on, gutted for his teammate, but determined to keep going. He entered the 2 loop section of the ride and the hills just kept coming and coming until he reached the transition area back in the town.

He was still on target for his sub 15 goal. All he had to do now was get through the last 26.2 miles on foot without hitting the dreaded wall. A difficult ask in any marathon when your energy tank is full at the start, but to ask this from your body when you are already on empty is brutal. And he had only had 5 hours and 35 minutes left to make it under his target time. 

4 laps of a 10k loop of Tenby. That’s all that stood between Kev and the finishline. Crowds were lining the streets. So deep in places that the runners had to go in single file as the locals urged them forward and patted them on the back, almost as if they were transferring some of their energy over to these remarkable human beings. It is with no doubt, that this is the leg of the journey that makes or breaks the race.

“I managed to run the first lap ok” said Kev 

As the laps ticked by, the scene became more and more like a scene from the walking dead. Those bright eyed warriors, full of adrenaline that graced the beach at sunrise were reduced to lurching zombies at sunset. Their stares fixed, their feet metronomic. One foot in front of the other, desperately trying to keep going. 

“I gradually ended up walking more and more of the hills on each lap. I got going on the downhills and the lap finish area through the town was amazing. The crowd were so loud, you had no choice but to run that bit” 

Kev kept going, exhausted. Nick had appeared back on the course to will his teammate on alongside Kevs family.

“I’m really tired” said Kev in words of the four letter variety as he set out on his second to last lap.

10k left. The sun had set now, but he went out for one last time into the darkness. An hour and a bit away from glory.

After what seemed like forever Kev finally made it to the turn off point. Toward the cheers, toward the bright lights and down the red carpet . Arms aloft, eyes to the sky, he crossed the line to the immortal words 

“Kevin Winchcombe……YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

A dream come true. An amazing feat of perseverance, determination, strength and dedication. Months of training, months of blood sweat and tears, months of wondering if it really was possible. Well it WAS possible and it WAS worth all the hours of training. He well and truly faced the dragon and won.

A brilliant performance by anyone’s standards and with 7 minutes to spare….. Kev you are a legend! 

Nick later had his injury confirmed as a displaced fractured distal clavicle. He has been operated on and is beginning the long road to rehabilitation. 

“Hopefully I will be able to try again next year and finishing then will be even sweeter” 

New Forest Marathon Festival


A coach load of bleary eyed roadrunners piling onto an obscenely early ferry, all a bit too sleepy to appreciate the sun coming up as they crossed the Solent. A return to the New Forest Festival of Running for this year’s annual IWRR away day. With 4 distances on offer there was something for everyone.

A short drive from Lymington into the forest, the runners arrived with an hour to spare for the marathoners to collect their numbers and perform their last minute preparations.

9am and the marathoners were off on their journeys. Our trusty team of 5 set out from the Polo Ground onto the course following the forest paths, dusty and dry under foot, interspersed with country roads and trails.

It wasn’t long before the half runners were doing the same, following the same course as the marathon for 9 miles before turning back for home.


The 10k went next for the off following a parts of the same routes as the others, all on forest track, as they ran from enclosure to enclosure. 

Quick coffee for the support crew as they bundled everyone’s hoodies into a bag and waited pensively for their teammates return. 

They didn’t have long to wait as Cole Pearce appeared in the distance in a dust cloud as he stormed down the long finishing straight to claim a phenomenal 2nd place. 

“I’m well chuffed” said Cole as I lept on him to congratulate as he crossed the line

Garry Sharp was next in, showing he is coming back to form with his ever exuding enthusiasm claiming 8th V40. Next over the finishing line was our club debutant, Steve Holloway, running his first ever half marathon and doing it in style! His first appearance in his club vest took him only 1 hour and 24 minutes giving him 5th V40

Next under the finishing arch was Sarah Sharp and Caroline Curliss having run the whole 10k together, followed by Lucy Deville 8 minutes later. 

“I had  frisky ponies dashing in front of me during the race!” Said Lucy

”We had great fun along the way” said Sharpie

Next was a flurry of very determined half runners all running their hearts out as the temperatures started to rise. Keith Ruth ran a great race, only 30 seconds outside his Pb showing his fine form is certainly returning after a period of injury. Next home was Chairman Glen Jones in another Pb time with team Ward coming home way under their target time of 2 hours to give Sarah a 20 minute Pb and 3rd V50. Not far behind was Giorgio Marinelli, also in a massive 24 minute Pb. 

Sam Grist finished his 10k next having run with a friend. James Shoulder then completed his half with his usual 100% effort. 

The first of the marathoners came across the line next. Stuart Backhouse going for a good for age time, smashed it by coming 6 minutes under his target time, sneaking a cheeky Pb and coming 10th overall and 3rd V40. Dan Williams was next in, also in his fastest ever time, knocking a whopping 17 minutes off his previous best giving him 15th overall and 5th V40. 

Elaine Harris and Julia Parker were all smiles as they completed their journey around the half marathon course, having run the whole thing together. Marathoners Matt Fletcher and Ross Wilkes also  came in together, Ross sneaking a Pb in the process.

”I caught Ross at about 23 miles” said Matt “he was having a bit of a wobble so I stayed with him for the last three miles. He was determined to get that Pb”

Lyn Snow came home pleased with herself having thoroughly enjoyed the half, with Steve Hickman completing the teams bidding in a cracking marathon time of just over 4 and a half hours. 

They were all home. All a bit hot, but all happy, smiling and pleased with themselves. Time for a quick drink in the sun in front of the live band before returning to Lymington for a quick bite to eat in the pub and a couple more drinks to celebrate.

10k 

Colin Pearce – 36.55

Garry Sharp – 45.57

Sarah Sharp – 1.02.15

Caroline Curliss – 1.02.16

Lucy Deville – 1.10.11

Sam Grist – 1.20.20

Half Marathon 

Steve Holloway – 1.24.27

Keith Ruth – 1.45.36

Glen Jones – 1.46.47

Sarah Ward – 1.50.00

Ivan Ward – 1.50.01

Giorgio Marinelli – 1.51.27

James Shoulder – 1.55.39

Julia Parker – 2.10.02

Elaine Harris – 2.10.03

Lyn Snow – 2.54.58

Marathon

Stuart Backhouse – 3.04.27

Dan Williams – 3.08.50

Matt Fletcher – 3.44.43

Ross Wilkes – 3.44.49

Steve Hickman – 4.32.32

Great North Run

The worlds biggest half marathon.

56000 people all following the same path, taking the same steps, sharing the same experience. 

Started in 1981 by Athletics legend and commentator Brendan Foster, the run was inspired by the Round the Bays race in New Zealand. He devised a point to point race from Newcastle to Sunderland, his home town. 

5 of our roadrunners were lucky enough to secure a place in this sought after race. Zoe Sherwin, Steve Hunt, Callie Hatcher and Tim & Bridget Keyte all made the journey right upto the north of the country. 

“I felt really emotional about this race” said Steve Hunt “I’m back where I ran my first race 2 years ago in memory of my wonderful mam. It makes me remember why I started running. I don’t care how long it takes me, I’m gonna high five some strangers and eat jelly babies from grubby handed toddlers and enjoy it”

It kicked off at 10.40am from Claremont Drive in Newcastle with Sir Mo Farah leading them out at the front of the pack. The route took the runners through the city centre and across the Tyne Bridge where,  if you are lucky enough to time it right, the Red Arrows do one of their spectacular ariel displays.

In the sunny conditions, our runners then headed toward Gateshead and finally to the last mile on the seafront at South Shields.

“ I never thought I’d get a suntan in Newcastle” quipped Tim on Facebook 

Zoe Sherwin was the first of our troop to make it to South Shields in yet another magnificent Pb, taking 9 minutes off her time and coming a cracking 31st out of over 3000 others in her V40 category.

“The Great North Run did not disappoint” said Zoe “it’s been brilliant from start to finish! Weather was amazing, crowds were amazing… it’s one more ticked off the bucket list” 

Tim Keyte was next in just shy of 1 and 3/4 hours, with Bridget throughly enjoying herself along the way and just sneaking under 2.21.

“The support from the crowd was amazing”  said Bridget “they were handing out jelly babies, ice lollies and even beer! It was very busy in places”

Callie Hatcher took a bit of a tumble along the way but carried on to make over the line. Steve did exactly what he said he was going to do, he enjoyed every second and ran it with a smile on his face remembering his mum.

Zoe Sherwin – 1.43.56

Tim Keyte – 1.44.25

Bridget Keyte – 2.20.59

Callie Hatcher – 2.26.51

Steve Hunt – 2.30.19


Flanders Marathon

Also known as the Marathon for Peace, this point to point race follows the exact border of the frontline during the First World War of 1914-1918. 

Starting in the city of Niewpoort, this totally flat course follows the River Yser through the open landscape toward Diksmuide, through historical battlefields, passing numerous memorials and cemeteries dedicated to the thousands that lost their lives. Although somber in places it is beautiful, offering panoramic views across the landscape.

Team Wilmott took on the challenge whilst making the most of a couple of days in Bruges before the race. 

All smiles for the pre race photograph, but the nerves were jangling as they both hadn’t run a marathon for a little while, Jodie especially, having not run the distance since 2015 and having had both knees operated on during that time. 

No need for the misgivings though as they both smashed it! Peter, despite suffering a tight hamstring from 14 miles onward, still managed to run and stretch his way to a magnificent 3.21.32. Showing what a determined and class runner he is.

Jodie romped home in a fantastic 3.39.07, 7th female and 2nd V35, giving herself a tidy little Pb in the process. 

She declared it was her “swansong” marathon later that day on Facebook…. but we all say never again don’t we? …… until next time….. 

HRRL #1 – Overton 5

The first weekend of September. It heralds the end of Summer and the beginning of the new Hampshire Road Racing League calendar. Hosted by Overton Harriers, the season kicked off in glorious sunshine as the blue skies returned from their little siesta to bathe the 500 runners in 25c heat. 

Amongst them were 15 of our very own, taking the journey over the water and up to the top of the County for the unusually late 2pm start. 

Following country lanes, mostly closed to traffic, the course begins at Berrydown toward Quidhampton and then out toward Ashe Warren before returning back on itself and splitting at Quidhampton to return to the Race HQ at Overton Recreation Centre.

First in for the Roadrunners was Ben Douglas making his league debut for the club. And boy what a debut it was! He only went and came 2nd in a super speedy 26 and a bit minutes knocking a whopping 2 minutes off an already previous best. Ross Wilkes was next home for the IWRR continuing his upward trajectory by also achieving a new pb by taking over a minute off his previous time to come in just over 30 minutes. Bens brother Michael was next home in just over 31 minutes. 


Trish Train was the next home, leading the women’s team home in style in a fantastic 10th place female and 2nd V50. She was followed a minute later by Steve Bennett who treated himself to a 80 second Pb, giving himself 5th V60. Mike Kimber was the next roadrunner home, followed closely by Jodie Wilmott and then Kev Rann. Zoe Sherwin completed the First Ladies team giving herself yet another Pb in the process and 7th V40. Judy McCabe came home next followed by Steve Horsey, James Shoulder, Keith Ruth, Bridget Keyte and finally club stalwart Lyn Snow. 

Great way to open the batting for the IWRR for the coming season in the league so well done gang!

Ben Douglas – 26.13

Ross Wilkes – 30.28

Michael Douglas – 31.07

Trish Train – 33.39

Steve Bennett – 34.39

Mike Kimber – 36.56

Jodie Wilmott – 37.07

Kevin Rann – 37.23

Zoe Sherwin – 38.25

Judy McCabe – 41.37

Steve Horsey – 41.52

James Shoulder – 42.32

Keith Ruth – 44.40

Dave Wilcock – 45.09

Bridget Keyte – 50.09

Lyn Snow – 1.02.04

 

Hardelot 10k

It’s not often I get to say this but marathon supremo was competing at the weekend but not at his normal distance. Unusually our only member of the 100 marathon club binned his usual 26.2 mile outing for a rather continental 10k. 

His second claim club’s away day, (that’s right! He’s not fully ours haha!) took a little jaunt over the Channel to take part in the Hardot 10k.

Situated just a little South of Boulogne, Hardelot is a picturesque town boasting 13km of unspoilt beaches. No time for building sandcastles for Steve and his Ashford and District team mates as they lined up for the race. 

The fairly flat course was a blessing as the sun was ferociously warm, but the locals were out in force to cheer on the 500 competitors. 

“I actually loved that” Steve beams on Facebook. “I’m well pleased with my time, as I don’t run 10k much. I enjoyed every moment”

He was over the finish line in just over 50 minutes leaving plenty of time for a bit of rehydration, fish and chips and a quick snooze on the way back.