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Gosport Half Marathon – HRRL #3

For once the weather wizard smiled on Gosport. Gone were the traditional hurricane force winds as a still and not too fresh morning made for perfect conditions.

An unbelievable 46 roadrunners lined up on the startline outside Bay House School on this the 32nd running of this fast and flat league race.

Starting from Browndown Road the crew in white, red and blue set out on this 2 lap race along the Portsmouth Road continuing to Marine Parade before finding the samba band for a few mesmeric beats.

Onward they went to find the unusually packaged refreshments at the water station and then contined toward the only slight incline on the course before making the turn onto the Promenade for the return leg.

The course feeling almost like an out and back, our fantastic team could see each other at different stages of the race, offering cheers and whoops of support as they passed.

A sharp U-turn at the halfway point was a welcome sight made all the more joyful by the appearance of the IWRR support crew cheering their hearts out giving every single member a lift as they went.

Second lap, concentration . Keep moving, keep believing. Get to the turnpoint, then it’s only a Parkrun left.

“I felt dreadful on the second lap” Michael Douglas tells me in the car on the way home. ” I started out well, but decided to slow at about mile 7 for a while, I just felt ill. But I managed to pick up toward the end though and finished well”

And so he did. Alongside our marathon champ, Bill Goozee, the two of them ran in together in a fantastic 1hr 20mins, giving Bill a PB along the way. Next in was Simon Randall in a lightning 82 minutes giving him 6th in his age category followed by Pete Sexton in 87 minutes and 11th in his age category to complete the first men’s team

In a sparkling club debut, and her first time ever half marathon, Lizzie Pilcher knocked it out the park to bring the ladies team home in a tidy 1.44.53 closely followed by Sarah Holmes continuing her run of Pbs in 1.45.21. Claire Howard saw a great return to form by completing the ladies first team in 1.50.07 and placing 14th in her age category.

“That was hard, but good” said Lizzie. “I can’t believe I’ve just run my first half”

In they came, one by one and two by two. All taking advantage of the favourable conditions by running their hearts out. No fewer than 24 PBS were set, most notable being Laura Holme taking 25 minutes of hers, Richard Bezer knocking off 18 minutes and Ross Wilkes taking off 14. Also big congratulations to Lucy Deville for taking 3rd prize in her age category and Jane Andrew 11th in hers.

Bill Goozee – 1.20.13 – PB
Michael Douglas – 1.20.15
Simon Randall – 1.22.11
Peter Sexton – 1.27.16
Ross Wilkes – 1.28.07 – PB
Tom Forster – 1.28.29
Dean Pike – 1.28.40 – PB
Matt Fletcher – 1.29.22 – PB
Dan Williams – 1.29.53 – PB
Tim Cordery – 1.30.05
Michael Coultrup – 1.32.05 – PB
Garry Sharp – 1.33.34
Richard Bezer – 1.35.55 – PB
Darren Andrew – 1.40.51 – PB
Cole Pearce – 1.41.32
George Butler – 1.44.53 – PB
Lizzie Pilcher – 1.44.55
Sarah Holmes – 1.45.21 – PB
Claire Howard – 1.50.07 – PB
Zoe Sherwin – 1.52.19 – PB
Ian Dyer – 1.52.20 – PB
Lisa Upstell – 1.53.06
Kevin Winchcombe – 1.53.42
Emma Ford – 1.54.16 – PB
Dave Wilcock – 1.55.14 – PB
Jane Andrew – 1.56.17
Julie Ray – 1.57.18
James Shoulder – 1.57.30
Sarah Sharp – 1.57.39 – PB
Claire Harvey – 1.58.23 – PB
Steve Hickman – 1.58.32
Jess Hill – 1.58.53 – PB
Kim Hulacka – 1.59.44 – PB
Tarnia Eldridge – 1.59.44
Alison Batchelor – 2.01.05
Laura Holme – 2.01.50 – PB
Sue Meredith – 2.01.51 – PB
Bel Rockall – 2.03.04 – PB
Alison Butcher – 2.07.32 – PB
Steve Hunt – 2.08.37 – PB
Bridget Keyte – 2.11.57
Lucy DeVille – 2.13.09 – PB
Jo Randall – 2.19.04
Nick Stilwell – 2.21.43
Lyn Snow – 3.01.34

Great running guys

Newcastle Town Moor Half Marathon

Our Northern Borders section was in action this weekend as Calli Sharp competed for the first time in a while in this lapped race.

The 8th running of this race, the course takes in laps of the historic Exhibition Park and the Town Moor. Completely traffic free, it uses good wide footpaths making the terrain very favourable.

Three and a half laps gave our Callie her 13.1 miles. A fantastic achievement especially as she has only ran 3 times in the past 3 months.

“My friends made signs and kept popping up around the course” she tells her mum “I just followed the runners in front for most of the way. I felt like I was near the back, but I was still doing sub 9 minute miles”

“The last lap was hard, I felt like I couldn’t lift my legs and I started to slow. Luckily one of the marathoners took me under their wing and tried to get me home in under 2 hours”

Calli finished only a smidgen outside her target in 2.00.58.

Poppy Run

Our marathon mogul 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.

“He’ll be well in front of me!” He quipped on Friday on Facebook.

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.

“I enjoyed it!” Steve said “3 laps along the seafront was not as boring as it sounds!”

And he said that despite losing the family PB to young Ricky

“Rick only went and ran 1.38.14. A huge 11 and half min off his PB and with that beat my own PB of 1.39. Kids eh!!”

Steve finished in a respectable 1.59.01.

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

Brutal 10k

Our little speed demon Danny Faulkner took on this new setting for this infamous run series. Set in Bourne Woods, near Farnham in Surrey, this beautiful area is so picture perfect that’s is used for filming movies upto 6 months of the year. It has been used to shoot such blockbusters as Gladiator, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, War Horse and Robin Hood.

The distance might seem a bit short for our adept marathoner, but this is no walk in the park. It is brutal by name and brutal by nature. A predominantly coniferous woodland, this single lap course begins by taking the runners through an RSPB nature reserve, lulling them into a false sense of security before embarking on relentless, sharp elevations and lots of mud.

“It was absurdly hilly and reasonably muddy but beautiful woodland trails. I am aching today though!”

Danny ran brilliantly finishing in 49.05 and 29th place overall.

Dark Valley

The Moors Valley Country Park just outside of Ringwood was the setting for the inaugural running of White Star running’s newest event The Dark Valley. With 2 distances on offer the entire event sold out in just 24 hours, continuing the popularity of this series of running events based across Dorset and The New Forest.

6 roadrunners were quick enough to bag themselves an entry. They excitedly picked up their numbers as the sun started to droop down below there horizon. It was here that they met up with a few familiar faces and they donned their mandatory illuminations and took their spots on the startline.

Michael Coultrup, Simon Riley, Lisa Upstell and Sarah Holmes set out first as they took on the half marathon distance. The course was 2 slightly different laps into the depths of the forest, lit only by the runners illuminating the paths with their headtorches. Gravel track, sandy paths, muddy trails and some sizeable puddles were interspersed with a few short, sharp inclines.

Half an hour later the 10k set off into the darkness. Super duo Pete and Jodie Wilmott took on the single lap course, following the same route as the half runners before them (just slightly more churned up by now)

“It was fun setting off 1/2 an hour later as we caught up with the very well lit up neoned 1/2 marathon runners and it looked like we were chasing a Mardi Gras parade!”

True to form in a White Star event, there was the infamous Lovestation placed 3.5 miles along the course. Serving cider, raspberry vodka and water alongside jelly sweets and salty crisps.

“The Lovestation was so busy! It was like last orders in the pub haha!” said Holmsie

It was here in the half race that the boys went ahead to run the remaining 10 miles at their own paces and the girls kept it steady.

Jodie and Pete crossed the line together to receive their beautiful medals, just escaping the drizzle. Despite taking it easy, Peter picked up 7th in his age category and Jodie 3rd in hers.

In the half, Michael made up a lot of time after leaving the girls at the Lovestation. He beasted it round to finish in an amazing 26th overall and 3rd V50.

“It was the best night run I had ever attended and I loved the route”

Simon was next over the line in just under the 2 hour mark.

“There was some good technical parts in the short but steep climbs” he said “It could do with being more muddy with water crossings thrown in”

Then the girls came in, big smiles on their faces. Lisa particularly, as she has been battling a foot injury since May.

“A brilliant event that was well set up and marshalled. I loved it, we’ll be back next year” said Lisa triumphantly

Lisa was 7th in her age category and Sarah 4th V40.

Pete Wilmott- 58.11
Jodie Wilmott-58.11

Michael Coultrup-1.46.12
Simon Riley-1.58.22
Lisa Upstell-2.03.56
Sarah Holmes-2.03.56

Thames Meander

So flat the elevation ends up in minus figures, this out and back half marathon is a surprisingly off road affair following footpaths and trails along the iconic banks of the capitals River Thames.

Sally Trotman took on the course with her daughter Charlotte.

“It’s my home town. I’ve always wanted to run the tow path but didn’t run when I lived there”

Starting at the Hawker Centre in Kingston, the course literally takes the Thames Path from Canbury Gardens on the East Bank through Ham Lands. Hugging the river bank the runners continue past Eel Pie Island, Petersham, the Old Deer Park at Richmond before entering Kew Gardens and making the turn opposite Olivers Island.

“It was a bit cold and wet!” Sally tells me ” It was funny though! Charlotte thought it was really muddy haha! She clearly hasn’t done a GHM run!”

“It was very picturesque taking in Kew, Chiswick and Richmond. Very well organised and a fab massive medal”

Sally and Charlotte laughed and chatted their way around, throughly enjoying the experience in 2.12.14

Leeds Abbey 10k Dash

Started in 1986 by the Abbey Runners, 600 entrants embarked on the course from the city centre upto the Cistercian Kirkwall Abbey and back. Fast forward 31 years and just under 10,000 runners took on the same course this Sunday hoping to raise over £200,000 for Age UK.

Fast and flat, runners are encouraged to “smash the dash” Two of those 10 000 being our super duo Michael and Ashleigh Douglas.

Beginning at The Headrow, our dynamo duo made their way along Westgate into the city centre before turning onto Kirkwall Road for the out and back section upto the Abbey before returning to the city centre and the finishline outside the Town Hall.

Michael powered his way around the course. There was no sign of fatigue from his phenomenal performance at the Great South Run only 2 weeks ago. He knocked almost a minute of his previous best to secure himself yet another PB in a super speedy 35.14.

Ashleigh has suffered from a groin injury all Summer and was therefore understandably lacking in confidence in the run up to the event

“That was mentally a hard run for me” says Ashleigh “I felt the struggle before the race even started. I nearly dropped out more than once”

But despite her misgivings, Ashleigh smashed it, crossing the line in 49.17. Looks like her injury is behind her and she will back to her best soon enough.

Another great performance from team Douglas!

Meon Valley Half

A perfect Autumn morning, with a crisp Wedgewood blue sky, prevailed over the beautiful Meon Valley across the water in Hampshire as super duo Peter and Jodie Wilmott took on this formidable half marathon.

Starting at Meon Hall, our super speedsters Peter and Jodie Wilmott stepped out from their camper van Gus into the glorious winter sunshine onto the startline to set out on this small but friendly race.

A quaint old train track saw them through the first couple of miles before the 512ft of elevation started to kick in.

“It was tough,chalky, steep hills mixed with energy sapping, slippery, wet and muddy farmland sections thanks to the previous night of rain” said Jodie.

And from two experienced off road runners, you know that means it was no picnic.

Onward they both continued, Pete Striding ahead into the countryside toward Hen Wood and East Meon.

“The course was really well organised, signposted and friendly. Everyone was so chilled and happy”

The pertinacious pair negotiated some huge inclines along the way, but were rewarded with some glorious vistas across the Solent to our beautiful island home before descending on a well earned downhill couple of miles to the finishline back at Meonstoke.

Peter finished in a fantastic 1.37.40 24th overall and 5th in his age category.
Jodie was over the line in 1.53.36 7th female and 4th in her age category.

Looks like they are returning to form after periods of injury for both of them.
Great running #teamwilmott

Beachy Head Marathon

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 fact, our Marathon supremo Steve Hickman cites this as his favourite race.

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

Starting at Bedes School in Eastbourne, the course starts as it means to go on.. uphill! The route takes the runners though Jevington, Alfriston and Litlington. Onward to Fristin Forest and the Cuckmere Valley.

When I asked him which bits were his favourite, Mr. Hickman told me this,

“Best bits? All of it! Well apart from the last 6 miles when the route climbs and dips The Seven Sisters. That’s brutal!”

And that’s coming from the ultimate marathoner, despite knowing exactly what is coming next (having run this race an unbelievable 15 times previously)

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

Steve ran well, negotiating all 26.2 miles in 5.19.44 his second fastest time over the course.

“I love the toughness of this one. I’ll be back next year!”

Sugar Loaf Fell

Fresh off the back of his stonking performance at the Great South Run last weekend, our superstar junior Harry Rann took himself off to the Brecon Beacons in Wales to compete in Mynydd Du running club’s 6 mile race up the Sugar Loaf.

This small and intimate race saw only 138 starters begin on the short but sharp upward trajectory from Abergavenny Leisure Centre to the summit some 1600ft away.

Our junior fireball showed no sign of fatigue from his phenomenal PB the weekend before as he started cautiously near to the back of the field but soon found himself powering up the ascent with vigour.

Despite being warm but slightly breezy at ground level, the wind chill factor at the pinnacle was a bracing 1c. With few competitors left in front of him Harry reached the summit amid thick fog. On only a partially marked course, Harry found this part if the course difficult.

However it did not affect his performance as he remained strong despite the poor visibility into the descent and back to the finishline. He crossed the line in 47.38, a fantastic 8th place and 2nd U23.