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Remembrance 10k

Run on closed roads, this memorial run visits the country lanes on the outskirts of Portsmouth before taking the runners along the top of a section of Portsdown Hill providing some stunning vista across the city, the Solent and beyond. 

Starting at Fort Nelson, near Fareham, club stalwart Lyn Snow lined up to take on the 10k course despite the stormy conditions. 

From the start at the Nelson Monument, Lyn made her way along Portsdown Hill Road before turning toward Southwick before traversing Boarhunt Common. An out and back section followed as she crossed the River Wallington twice before passing between Grub and Mill Coppices before embarking upon the biggest climb of the run taking her back to the Lord Nelson Monument and the welcome sight of the finish line. 

“It was quite tough” said Lyn “There were a few hills to contend with. I really missed the company of other road runners, but was rewarded at the end with a nice medal and lovely T-shirt” 

Lyn ran her heart out to clock 1.19.43. 


Poppy Half Marathon

Steve Hickman continued his recent spell of shorter races by taking on the Poppy Run this weekend.

Bexhill-on-Sea was the seaside location for this remembrance event. Starting at the iconic De La Warr Pavillion, this promenade event offers 3 distances, a 5k, 10k and a half marathon all selling out and raising money for the local Royal British Legion.

Steve entered the half marathon race with his son Rick.

“It’s blowing a bit!” Steve said on his arrival

He was right too! A tasty headwind remained from the storms the night before as he lined up with Ricky on Saturday. 

2 laps of an 8k circuit followed by a final loop of the 5k route made up the fairly flat course into the half marathon distance.

Steve finished in a fantastic 1.55.30 and 11th in the “old blokes” category as he calls it (that’s V55 to you and me). Unfortunately he got his ass kicked by his son… again! 

“I don’t mind at all” said Steve “I really enjoyed it though” 

Well done to both of them for running a great race and supporting a fantastic cause.

Scenic Seven

Billed as the most picturesque 7 mile race in Suffolk, this relatively flat race is hosted by the Stowmarket Striders and supports the Poppy Appeal by the Royal British Legion.

Sarah Morris lined up on a surprisingly bright morning to take on the 7 sunny miles. 

“Thankfully the rain stopped and the sun came out”

Starting at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket, the course took Sarah through Onehouse  before looping round Harleston for 3 miles before returning along the same route back to the Leisure Centre. 

Sarah ran brilliantly to finish in 1.09.43. 

Dark Valley

The Moors Valley Country Park just outside of Ringwood was the setting for the this White Star Running event The Dark Valley. With 2 distances on offer the event is hugely popular.

10 roadrunners picked up their numbers as the sun started to droop down below the horizon on Saturday. It had rained heavily all day so they were relieved to find only a light drizzle falling as they donned their mandatory illuminations and took their spots on the startline.

The 10k set off first. Pete and Jodie Wilmott returned for the second year in a row alongside Jane Andrew and Claire Howard. The single lap course took them into the depths of the forest, lit only by the runners themselves with their headtorches (or fairy lights in some cases) Gravel track, sandy paths, muddy trails and some huge puddles were interspersed with a few short, sharp inclines.

Half an hour later the half runners set off following the same route as the 10k runners before them (just slightly more churned up by now). Two slightly different laps faced them in the darkness. 

The infamous White Star Lovestation was placed 3.5 miles along the course. Serving cider, raspberry vodka and water alongside sweets, crisps and Jaffa cake gherkin sandwiches (yes really!)

“Honestly! They’re Greeeeeeaaaaatttttt!” Dan Williams tells me. Thanks Dan, but I’ll take your word on that one… not sure I need to find out for myself!

Pete crossed the line first in a fantastic 3rd place overall in the 10k and 1st V50

“Last step on the podium! I’m really pleased!”

Jodie was next in, pleased to finish having suffered from a knee injury for the past few weeks. Jane and Claire ran together to return to the finish area to take  4th and 5th V55s.

“There were so many fairy lights!” said Jane “it was so well organised”

In the half, they were approaching their 2nd lap. Underfoot it was very muddy by now as 500 runners had trudged through the wet forest … twice! And to make it worse, the rain really started to hammer down. 

“It was torrential” said Ian Williams 

Dan Williams was the first of the Roadrunners to finish. He went out hard for the first few miles and found himself in the leading pack.

“I’m still not feeling 100% so I pulled it right back. I just enjoyed the second lap, chatting at the Lovestation and stuff”

Gordon Mucklow, Jenny Dewing and Charlotte Williams made it back next 

“It was a brilliant fun” said Charlotte “It was just a bit damp!”

Lisa Upstell and Julie Rasmussen were only footsteps behind as they too crossed the line to pick up their beautiful medals, biscuits and bespoke buff. Lisa 5th in her age category and Julie 6th in hers. Last but by no means least was Ian Williams, soggy but triumphant. 

10k

Pete Wilmott- 48.26 

Jodie Wilmott- 1.08.48

Claire Howard- 1.12.40 

Jane Andrew- 1.12.41

Half 

Daniel Williams-1.50.20

Gordon Mucklow- 2.08.03

Jenny Dewing- 2.08.03

Charlotte Williams- 2.08.08

Lisa Upstell-2.08.58 5th v35

Julie Rasmussen- 2.09.45 

Ian Williams- 2.17.52

Hayling 10

Starting on Bacon Lane on the Southern tip of Hayling Island, the Roadrunners lined up in the chilly air of a cold and crisp November morning to take on this fast and flat 10 mile course.

One roadrunner with a score to settle with this race was Steve Hunt. At last year’s race he took a nasty plunge coming into the finish area and smashed his nose on the path. He was heartbreakingly close to breaking his pb had he not have fallen. 

From Bacon Lane they went through West Town heading on to a particularly fast section of the course along the Old Hayling Billy Railway Line before returning back onto the roads, passing the Ferry Boat Pub and then onto the seafront at Eaststoke and finally returning back to Bacon Lane.

Richard Bezer continued his recent good form with yet another PB making him the first roadrunner across the line. Chairman Glen Jones was next home. Steve Hunt managed to get around this year with his face intact after accompanying his friend Beverley around the course.

Richard Bezer – 1.08.37

Glen Jones – 1.17.27

Steve Hunt – 1.47.58

Abbott 5k Dash to the Finishline

The marathon was not the only race being held in New York this weekend. 

Taking full advantage of the trip over the Atlantic to watch her husband run the marathon on Sunday, Ashleigh Douglas took part in her first competitive race for quite some time. 

Starting outside the United Nations building, over 10000 runners tear through midtown Manhattan. Passing the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station and Bryant’s Park, they then turned up 6th Avenue passing the world famous Radio City Music Hall before emerging into Central Park. Ashleigh wound her way through the park, passing the City Zoo before snaking her way along to the finishline outside the Tavern on the Green. 

Ashleigh enjoyed every second, running with a huge grin on her face  to finish in a tidy 29.34

“I’m so pleased! I haven’t run for months! I didn’t wear my watch and I even forgot to put the right shoes on haha! No medal, but I did get this attractive hat!”

New York Marathon

New York, New York.

The Big Apple. So great they named it twice.

The city that never sleeps. Iconic, Majestic, Mesmerising.

Home of the Skyscraper, the yellow taxi and Lady Liberty. Its bigger, bolder and brasher than you can possibly imagine. It’s like nowhere on earth. 

It’s little wonder that it has become host to the worlds largest marathon. With over 50000 runners all treading the same path, beating the same demons, doing the same incredible thing. A true carnival of the human spirit to endure. 

Founded in 1970 by Fred Lebrow, just 55 runners embarked upon the course which took them around and around Central Park costing just a dollar to enter. It wasn’t until 1976 and the US bicentenary celebrations that they decided to take the course through all 5 boroughs of the city as a one off parade. Over a million people lined the street that year making it an unforgettable spectacle that the city had to adopt. It’s remained the same ever since. 

An unprecedented 6 Roadrunners made the trip over Atlantic to take part. Over 100000 applicants try to secure a place through the ballot. Clare Adams was lucky enough to get her place in this manner. Michael Douglas qualified via the good for age process whilst Judy McCabe, Steve Bennett, Mike Kimber and Claire Harvey bought themselves package trips as part of their big birthday celebrations. 

They all arrived a couple of days early so they could explore the city and excitedly collect their numbers.

It was a clear blue sky that greeted them as they lined up in their start corrals in Fort Wandsworth on Staten Island. The course goes straight over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in what can only be described as one of the greatest sporting sights known to man.

Once over the bridge the runners enter the second borough of Brooklyn. Known for its creativity and entrepreneurship this borough is the most populated. Through the neighbourhoods of Bay Bridge, Sunset Park, Williamsburg and Greenpoint they ran, cheered on by some of the 2 million spectators that now line the route. Trying to settle into a steady rythmn and not get swept up in the excitement of the occasion. 
Halfway point. And the runners cross the Polanski Bridge into Queens. Despite being the largest borough, the course only takes in 2 and a half miles of it as it soon reaches the Queensboro Bridge. From all the noise of the crowds…… Silence…. over the East River, crossing over the top of Roosevelt Island. It’s a sudden unwelcome eye of the storm. The only sound is the metronomic rythymn of trainers hitting tarmac. 

On the other side they emerge into the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the 16 mile mark. 1st Avenue took them north through the Upper East Side before crossing the Willis Avenue Bridge into The Bronx, ticking off the final borough. 

After only a mile and a half they made the turn for home as they crossed the Madison Avenue Bridge and the 21 mile mark. 

Only 5 and a bit to go…. 

Through Harlem they went. The hurt really creeping in now. At last the sight of Central Park looms before them but they are by no means out of the woods. Just under 4 miles are still left to go. 

After a mile on the periphery they entered this iconic park at 23.5 miles. The ups and downs of the park take their toll as they battled their way through the final miles before they finally reached Colombus Circle and the final 385 yards to the finishline outside the famous Tavern in the Green.  

Michael Douglas was the first roadrunner home in a fantastic 3 and a quarter hours despite suffering horrific leg cramps from mile 18. 

“It wasn’t the race I wanted but there was no way I wasn’t getting this medal!  The last 10k was more of a jog, but I was smiling all the way. What an amazing experience!”

Mike Kimber was the next home with a 10 minute Pb despite doing zero training 

“This training lark is overrated haha!” he jokes 

In all seriousness he had a cracking first half, but his niggling hip slowed him in the second half but he still arrived back in Central Park in under 4 and a half hours.

Claire Harvey was next under the finishing arches as she ran a brilliantly paced race all the way through.

“The crowd was amazing! My face actually hurts from smiling so much!”

Running duo Steve and Judy, ran the whole thing together. 

“It was an epic experience and the crowds were unbelievable. To run through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Manhatten and across all the bridges that connect them was something else”  said Steve

“It was great, I ran the marathon with my bestie. Brilliant weather condition, crowds were amazing, loved it!” Said Judy

Clare Adams closed the bidding for the Roadrunners after bravely battling not only a cold but a hip problem from mile 14 which caused her to run for 2 blocks and walk the next one. 

“It was too painful in the end, so I decided to just enjoy the views”

It shows great courage to keep battling away when you are in pain. But that’s what all our white warriors did and they all overcame their injuries and their problems to make it across the line. Battered, broken but everyone of them proud. 

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” Frank Sinatra – 1977 

They made it. 

Michael Douglas – 3.16.42

Mike Kimber – 4.26.11

Claire Harvey – 4.47.10

Judy McCabe – 5.12.32

Steve Bennett – 5.12.32

Clare Adams – 6.17.02 

Dublin Marathon

Dublin. Capital of Southern Ireland and largest city on the Emerald Isle. Famous for its welcoming locals, nightlife and of course it’s Guinness. 

Club stalwart Keith Ruth took the journey across the Irish Sea to complete his swansong marathon in memory of his dad.

“He passed away at 55 which was way too early. I promised myself that I would run something for him when I reached 55. As he was a Dubliner, choosing Dublin Marathon seemed perfect”

Perfect indeed, what a beautiful tribute.

Started in 1980 by Noel Carroll, this race was unusually run on a Bank Holiday Monday until 2016. It was an instant hit with sign ups jumping from 2100 to over 11000 in just 2 years. It continues to grow year on year and it’s easy to see why. Promising a fairly flat course and great support all the way around.

Starting in Fitzwilliam Square, the route took Keith through the streets of the city, crossing the River Liffey before heading North west toward Dublin Zoo and through Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed park in any capital city in Europe. 

“I had tears running down my face in the 1st mile, it was really emotional” Keith tells me

After emerging from the park Keith took a Southerly turn before skirting the edge of the park then crossing the River Liffey for the second time at around the 10 mile mark

Halfway saw Keith cross the Grand Canal before passing Brickfields Park. 

“My son and dog Rufus ran alongside me for a tiny bit, it was my highlight of the race”

Keith continued on but the challenge of mind over matter started to bite. 

“The tiredness has started to kick in and it affected my confidence. It was a mental struggle”

It’s during these times in a marathon that the will to finish has to take over. You’ve come so far but  have a long way yet to go. The self doubt starts to nag, trying to trick your legs into slowing in rythmn or worse still, stopping all together. 

“I suddenly heard the voice of Jodie Wilmott in my head. She told me that a marathon is a 20 mile training run followed by a 10k race. That really got me going again”

And get going he did. He kept battling away. One foot in front of the other, running with his dad in his heart. He continued on, past the University and the Elm Park Golf Course. 

24 miles and the final turn for home. The tears returned as he approached the finishing straight. He could see Michael, Rufus and girlfriend Carolyn as he gave it one last push across the line. 

He’d done it. A beautiful tribute to his much missed dad. 

And as the cherry on the cake he’d cracked the golden 4 hour mark for the second time this year. Something that he’d been chasing for years previously. So to do it for his Dad was an extra special moment.

Beachy Head Marathon

A sharp dip in temperatures thanks to an unwelcome Northerly wind made for a chilly start to our marathon mogul, Steve Hickmans 151st Marathon. And to think, he was talking about making his 150th his last only 2weeks ago! As predicted, that silly notion didn’t last long as he was back on the startline of this iconic marathon 

“I couldn’t not run it Holmsie!” He quips “I’ve done it every year!”

Formerly known as the Seven Sisters Marathon, this is one of the biggest off road marathons in the country. Brutally undulating this is no easy ride. Despite this minor detail, Mr. Hickman cites this as one of his favourite races

“It’s one of those Marathons I recommend everyone should try. At least once!” 

Starting at Bedes School in Eastbourne, the route takes the runners though Jevington, Alfriston and Litlington. Onward to Fristin Forest and the Cuckmere Valley.

“The last 6 miles when the route climbs and dips The Seven Sisters is brutal!” 

And that’s coming from the ultimate marathoner, despite knowing exactly what is coming next (having run this race an unbelievable 16 times previously) 

The route covers an amazing 3850ft of elevation, over 300 steps and 14 gates to hop over. 

Steve ran brilliantly negotiating all 26.2 miles in 5.06.51 his second fastest time over the course. 

OCR World Championships

It’s not often we have a club member participate in a world championship, but that’s exactly what Simon Riley did on Saturday. The OCR World Championships made its 1st ever visit to the UK. After qualifying back in June, our Brummy Duracell Bunny has spent the last 5 months training hard and working on a strict regime in the gym to increase his upper body strength in preparation for this huge honour

Located at The Secret Nuclear Bunker site at Kelvedon Hatch in Brentwood the site is not as sinister as it sounds. 

Originally built to house over 600 military and government personnel, including the Prime Minister, during a nuclear attack, it was decommissioned in 1992 and auctioned off. It is now a museum and host to numerous cross country and obstacle course races.

Simon travelled up on Friday to collect his number

“I was rubbing shoulders with champions from all over the world. All the hard work I’d put in and now it was real. It brought a lump to my throat to be honest”

Race day and the nerves had disappeared. Simon stood on the startline full of adrenaline and pride wearing his team United Kingdom kit. 100 obstacles lay ahead of him. Rope climbs, walls, monkey bars and muddy slurries. Everyone of them to be conquered one by one as they sapped his strength. All Simon had to do was run, jump, crawl, climb, throw and carry his way around the 15km course and make it to the notorious final wall climb to make it to glory.


“It was the toughest event I’ve ever done. The course pushed my physical abilities to testing point, I had to push any doubt I had down inside me and just keep going. As the last obstacle loomed before me the noise from the crowd was almost deafening. I could hear my wife’s voice in the crowd so I dug deep and gave it my all”

And boy did he give it his all! He completed 96 out of the 100 obstacles laying in his wake, unfortunately losing him the coveted 100% completion wristband, but still earning himself the finishers medal. He crossed the line in 3.09.54 giving himself 236th out of 1009 finishers and a cracking 29th in his age category.

“When they put the medal around my neck the tears welled up and the lump in my throat came back”

And proud he should be! An international competition smashed!

“I’m counting down the next 4 years until it returns to the UK again!”