4 Isle of Wight Road Runners travelled to Cranbourne Chase to take part in the ‘Ox Races’.
Zoe Elliot, Steve Apsey, Julie Rasmussen and Steve Hickman turned up to the beautiful Rushmore estate in the sunshine ready for their races.
First in action was Steve Apsey on the Saturday. Steve ran the 10k Light Ox in a swift 47:32, placing him in 6th place. Steve was sticking to the 10k knowing he had the South Downs relay the following week.
Next day it was the Ox Frolic. You know the drill with these by now. Here’s the course, run as many laps as you want. Zoe, Steve H kicked things off at 8am, Julie arrived at 8.15 and ran fast to catch them up.
The laps in this case were just over 5 miles.
Steve and Zoe did 2 laps and persuaded each other to do a third. 15.5 miles in total in 3.27. There was minimal bickering (for a change).
Julie went on to brave a 4th lap and clocked up 20.8 in 4:27.
We then enjoyed some drinks in the sunshine. Blue had a lovely time supporting the runners.
Thanks for this account by roving reporter Michelle Wooldridge…
10 early risers travelled to Netley to take part in the 10k race in the grounds of the Royal Victoria Country Park. It was chilly on arrival with a fresh breeze, but we knew a warm morning was expected.
It’s a 3 lap course, which gave great opportunity to encourage each other, a familiar voice of another road runner is always welcomed. It was amazing that our front runners had the breath to encourage us non superhuman runners as they passed by.
A successful days outing for the road runners. 3 PBs, one for ‘Old Man Pete’ in his first 10k, one for Amy Webster who absolutely smashed her PB by 5 minutes, and Michelle Wooldridge was very chuffed with a tidy 3 and a half minute PB. The first man home was again Jon Bye, running strong again.
By the third lap the sun was beating down and it was around 21 degrees, so everyone did well to get home safely. The race was well marshalled.
Attractive tin mugs were the prize today, but the team were disappointed that they were filled with Ribena, not Merlot!
The road runners were rewarded on the ferry home with delicious lemon drizzle cake.
Results are listed below (PB indicates a distance PB)
The IWRR were represented by 6 runners at the 9th installment of this years HRRL series in Alton.
The day started off dull and overcast but by the halfway mark the sun had burnt it’s way through, to turn up the heat on our runners.
A slight course change this year for Alton. Matt Fletcher commented that “It seemed twice as hilly as before”. Matt wasn’t far off, as the elevation had changed from approximately 400ft to 600ft, meaning that relatively it’s now more hilly that the IW Marathon.
It was a very well marshalled course, with great views as the runners wound there way round the country lanes of Hampshire.
All the road runners ran well and finished successfully, led home by Jon Bye and Matt Fletcher in 1:11 and 1:12 respectively.
The performance of the day was from Peter Hudson, who turned in a tidy 4 minute PB in 1:55:46. And that PB meant that he had earned the surprise that was waiting for him at the finish line. Peters son was at the finish to surprise him, and gave him his own custom printed “Old Man Pete” Road Runners shirt.
Well done Team IWRR!
Results are listed below (PB indicates a distance PB)
8 Roadrunners were away on their travels to sunny Leeds for the new Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon. This was a brand new event, organised to continue the amazing work that former rugby league star Kevin Sinfield has done to raise awareness and raise money for MND. Kevin’s work for MND has been inspired by his long time team mate Rob Burrow, together they led Leeds Rhinos to many years of success. When Rob was diagnosed with MND in 2019, Kevin set out on a series of amazing running challenges.
The Rob Burrow marathon is based at Headingly Stadium. Headingly is kind of 2 stadiums in one. A cricket ground that hosts Yorkshire and England cricket matches, and a rugby ground that is home to the Leeds Rhinos, with a large stand that looks into both arenas.
An early start to the run was delayed by 15 minutes to 9:15am, as this brand new setting struggled to deal with the logistics of 12,000 runners arriving, storing their bags and wanting to use the loo! The half marathon set off at 10am.
As the crowds of runners started to move into their alloted start areas, a wave of excitement went through the crowd as the 2 rugby stars made their way through the crowd to the start area. Kevin was pushing Rob in a specially adapted chair, and they would lead the race out. A few minutes later, Rob came over the loud speakers and gave the runners a rousing pep talk, telling all the runners it was going to be tough, and you need to be prepared to put your arm round the person next to you and to get each other through it.
This was a different kind of running field. The love that this city has for Rob and Kevin, brought out a lot of runners who have never done a marathon before (over half the field), there were also lot’s of runners who have been affected by MND, lot’s of shirts explaining who someone was running to support or running in memory of. The spirit was, if Rob can go through this, I can run a marathon. And that spirit was reflected in the support, which is the very best support I’ve seen for any run other than London, and there was something more impressive than the huge numbers in London. When you are running in what feels like the middle of nowhere, and you come you a rural junction with hundreds of screaming supporters crowded around it, you know something special is happening.
So at 9:15, Rob and Kevin started their run, and the rest of the field followed. For the road runners, our 7 marathon runners had re-organised their start waves and all started the marathon together. Our collection of IWRR vests made for quite a sight, and there were many supportive shouts from the crowd for the Isle of Wight. Most of the gang loosely stuck together for several miles, until the rigours of the course started to take their toll.
The marathon left the city into the surrounding countryside, but the support was unwavering. The support was as impressive as anywhere in the small market town of Otley. The enthusiastic crowds in Otley filled the pavements, and spilled into the streets, crowding the runners like Tour de France competitors. Glen recalled his experience running through Otley “It was the highlight of the day for me, there was great banter with the crowd. At one point I found myself hurdling a large traffic cone in the middle of the road, the crowd cheered. I was on a real high and running well, at least until I got round the corner!”.
And around the corner as the runners left Otley, they met The Chevin, a 925ft high ridge that overlooks the town. For around 2 miles starting from around 17 miles, the runners started a long, slow, arduous climb up and over The Chevin. The combination of an inexperienced field, some significant hills and the hottest day of the year, meant that at least 2 Ambulances were seen attending to runners on this hill, it really was tough.
After that hill though, the course became kinder, as it started to drop down and back into Leeds and the finish line. First to get home was our travelling half marathon adventurer Lyn Snow. Lyn was in Leeds completing her 69th Half, a staggering total, she completed her run in just over 3 hours. Lyn had warmed up for the half by taking in a local parkrun the day before, well done Lyn!
The marathon runners now streamed into the city to finish their runs, the road runners led home by Ian Dyer, who had a great run, finishing in 4:34. Next in were regular training partners Glen and Gareth who had completed the climb up The Chevin together and then finished in 4:44 and 4:49.
Keith was next in just a few minutes later in 4:55. Keith found it tough, but was happy “Such a hot day and so hilly. But what an amazing occasion, the reason behind the race epitomises the true meaning of the word Friendship.” Jane was next in, running with friend and running companion Paul, finish time 5:05. Steve followed quickly behind in what was an emotional day for him, running proudly in his MND vest, a cause that means so much to him, that was marathon number 178 for Steve.
Then came a tense wait for the team. James had last been seen out on the course with Glen at 10 miles, and we knew his foot had been causing him problems and he was complaining about a blister as early as mile 7. James was the star of the day though, digging deep and toughing it out, bringing it home in 5:21. Marathon Supremo Steve summed it up perfectly when he said that James was “an excellent example of guts and determination”.
So on a tough, hot, hilly and emotional day, all 8 of our runners made it home safely despite one of the team impressing local youngsters with their vomiting skills mid race, but a reporter does not always name names! Well done gang.
Thank you Lyn for her contribution towards this report…
I arrived in Milton Keynes on Friday. Saturday morning was parkrun at the lovely Willen Lake. Then had all of Saturday and all of Sunday to relax and chill. The Turing 10k started at 5:30pm on Sunday, which I did in 1:24, then on Bank Holiday Monday it was the Half marathon. I of course did the half slower than normal for me 3:17 having done the 10k as well.
And if you do 2 of the runs you get a third medal the MK challenge medal, you know I love my bling!
Well done Lyn on your two great runs.
Where will Lyn’s travels take her to next?
The MK Marathon also attracted Kevin Rann. Kev completed the course in an impressive 4:07:23. Kev set off at an impressive pace, with many of his mile spilts around the 8:30 mark in the first half, but late on things didn’t go quite to plan for Kev, just one of those days when things didn’t go to plan kev commented. Well done Kev, still a great time.
Nick contributed this report on his amazing IOW Challenge run…
The IOW ultra challenge is a 106km route around the Island. It starts and finishes in Chale, running clockwise and mostly following the coastal path. This was my second year and I was aiming to improve on last year’s time.
The first segment from Chale to Freshwater is stunningly beautiful and I was feeling strong. Then it was up Tennyson down, where I was met by park runners sprinting down the hill. It was great to get so many high fives and words of encouragement from my fellow road runners. Up and down Headon Warren and along to Yarmouth, and then into a quagmire of mud on the path to cranmore. Through Shalfleet and Porchfield and the first marathon completed. By now my legs were starting to feel it. It was also very hot and sunny and I was glad to reach the shade of Parkhurst forest. The halfway point of 52km was at the county show ground, where I was met by my support crew. Time to refuel, and change my shoes. By now i was an hour up on last year. The next leg is perhaps the hardest mentally as its along the road with the sun beating down all the way to Oakfield. I was glad to have Kev’s company to push me along with an ice cream stop along the way. Again my support crew was there at the end of this energy sapping leg to clap me in. I was now 2 hours ahead and unlike last year I managed not to fall off my chair! 65km completed and just a marathon to go!
It was then down to Appley, through Seaview, St Helens and Bembridge. The day was cooling down and I was enjoying the peaceful surroundings without the traffic of the previous leg. So many random people clapping and cheering you along wondering what the hell you are doing, as I did myself on multiple occasions. By now it was very much walk run. There was a sharp climb up the steep hill to Culver down for the last major rest stop where I had a very tasty vegetarian sausage burger with sweet chilli sauce.
Coming down Culver down was a very painful experience, with each downward step causing a searing pain through my quads. But once I was down at sea level, I was able to run again (very slowly) on the flat path from Yaverland to Shanklin. The sadistic organisers then decided to take a bizarre route through ridiculously steep and punishing up and down muddy tracks, across farmland until we reached Ventnor.
I had wanted to finish before midnight but realised with just over 10k to go that an 11pm finish and sub 16hrs was possible if I could summon up some energy from somewhere. So with headtorch on, I set off on the homestretch, soon joining a treacherous narrow single track path on the cliff edge with rocks and branches waiting to trip you with every step. I passed a broken runner along the way who was waiting for help, his race over so close to the end. But I successfully navigated my way through to the safety of the St Lawrence road to Niton. My support crew met me here and drove alongside me. I badly wanted to get in the car with them but pushed myself along for my fastest couple of km in the whole race. Probably just showing off. But it paid off as a sub 16 hour finish was now definitely on although still very tight.
I left the road and climbed up the steep path to the top of Blackgang. It was eerily quiet with the still of night and strangely beautiful and then after a short while, I could see from the top of the hill the bright lights of the race HQ and finish line below, just a couple of km away. My support crew cheered me on as I went through Blackgang carpark. I just needed to stay on my feet as I climbed down the hill and into Chale. I entered the finishing straight with literally seconds remaining to break 16hrs. A sort of sprint, across the line, barcode scanned and then I collapsed.
I had done it. Dipped under 16 hours by 3 seconds! And taken a massive 4 and a half hours off my time from last year. Utterly exhausted but thrilled and rather emotional.
I am happy that I will never need to do that again. My short career as an ultra runner is definitely over. But anyone thinking of doing it should sign up. It’s a brilliantly organised event with all levels of ability taking part and the feeling of achievement will stay with you forever.
I am so grateful to my friends and family for giving up their time to support me. It just would not have been possible without them. Words are not enough. Thank you so much to Kev and Gill, Jane and Rich and Steve, Zoe and Trish. And massive thanks to Hannah for being there all the way through this journey.
Whilst the London Marathon was unfolding, the Spanish capital was hosting it’s own marathon, and Richard Bezer was there to represent the IWRR. He has kindly given this account of his adventure for our entertainment.
“A long weekend planned around the Madrid marathon allowed myself, Becky and my mum and dad to explore the beautiful city of Madrid Temperatures ranging on the BBC weather app between 24-28 degrees we’re well aware of the dangers of marathon running.
After watching the 10k races setting off at 0800, I proceed to commence with the 21k and 42k groups. As the waves commenced with the cooler morning temperatures, I became immediately aware that as well as the temperatures, there appeared to be a familiar homely feeling (to me and the island) of that thing we know and love, hills… In fairness there were no downs or spasticators! Up to 13 miles felt well balanced with no major concerns.
Pushing through to 30k (an unknown value to an Englishman) more and more hills unfolded. Whilst running past one of the many bus stops, a digital sign displayed a temperature of 36.0 degrees Celsius It felt it too, with the use of sunny’s it helped to mask the brutality. At 22 the heat hit hard and had to ease the pace to continue.
With the high blood sugars and the excessive fluid intake, I had an increased feeling of sickness, but managed to push on to the finish. Upon completion, with no regard for the wider audience I proceeded to puke magnificently, twice.
Pleased with my time waiting with my family for my dad to complete. My opinion is that it’s not the IW Marathon, but it felt every bit as brutal towards the end!”
Rich completed the Madrid Marathon in an official chip time of 3:49:12, a brilliant effort in those temperatures!
The London Marathon is back to it’s regular April date where is should be, and this year 47,000 runners took to the streets in what is arguably the best marathon in the world.
Last weeks Boston marathon has a different level of competitor, as the field is much more focussed on those that can achieve a ‘BQ’ (the sought after Boston qualifying time). London brings something very different, so many special stories, it really is humanity at it’s finest, a very British marathon.
Just watching the build up to today’s race, it doesn’t take long for some of those special stories to emerge. We heard from Muslim’s who have had to marathon train through Ramadan (no food or drink during daylight), a cancer survivor running the marathon with a stoma called Audrey (the stoma that is), a 90 year old that ran the first London marathon and a young lady running on her 18th birthday (you have to be 18 to run a marathon).
So many special stories, so many running for charity, in memory of loved ones and all coming to the end of their own training story.
The IWRRs had 6 stories ready to unfold, as Abbie (Ballot) and Bridget Keyte (Club), Lucy Deville (GFA), Sarah Sharp (Ballot), Steve Hickman (Ballot) and Guy Mattinson (GFA) all got ready to take on their big day.
The runners set off from 3 different starts around Greenwich, Red, Blue and Green. The courses are then all broken in to a lot of start waves depending on estimated times. The waves have got smaller over the years (especially since covid), and more spread out it seems. Todays start would see Guy out on the course starting his race at 10:06, just a few minutes after the elite runners. Lucy’s run would not officially start until 11:25am, an incredible 85 minutes after the elite men set off.
Guy Mattinson did not mess around and got into his running quickly, passing 5k in just 22:03, before any other Road Runner had even started! He didn’t really let up and ploughed through the course. Guy posted a superb finishing time of 3:18:14. “I am thrilled with that. There was such a great atmosphere in London today. I always seem to forget how painful these marathons are!” commented Guy post race.
The marathon is a tricky distance and many will tell you, you need to be at the top of your game and you need everything to go right. The smallest issue can be a big deal on marathon day. Imagine turning up to the biggest run in the calendar year with a niggle, imagine turning up suffering from a double hernia that has stopped you training!
Marathon supremo Steve Hickman did exactly that. Having had a couple of other recent marathons where he’d really struggled, the signs were not good for Steve. But when you have 176 marathon finishes in the bank, that experience stands you in good stead. Steve found it much harder going after 17 miles today, but was really happy with his result, he thought he would be around the 5:30 mark, but came home in 4:50:43 for marathon #177.
The next amazing story stars the irrepressible Lucy Deville. Lucy had claimed her London place by running a Good For Age qualifying time in the Vet 70 category. Lucy set off at a great pace, and managed to hold it together to post an impressive 5:25:44. When chatting afterwards Lucy said she found the course very busy and had to do lots of weaving around people, and wished she had done more tarmac training to prepare for the roads of London. Lucy sent this brilliant picture and quipped “Here’s a photo to show what a knackered 70 year old looks like after 26 miles!”. We all think you are amazing Lucy, and I’m sure we all hope we can be looking that good at 70, and I’m sure we can only dream of being able to knock out the miles like you are!
Sarah Sharp‘s London Marathon story has been a marathon in itself. Sharpies marathon PB was set in 2016 at Brighton, and since then she has had an on off journey to beat this time. Having trained hard for other marathons, only to get injured on the run in. Sarah’s ballot place for this run was awarded for the 2020 marathon before covid was a thing, so it’s been a long wait for today. After a really solid injury free training block this year, she finally got to the start line, and then made it to the finish line in 4:46:34, and yes that was a shiny new Personal Best.
If you think Sharpie had a long wait to tackle her London Marathon, Bridget Keyte can call it and raise it. This was Bridget’s 8th time qualifying for the club ballot, that’s 8 times being turned down in the public ballot, running the qualifying runs, and coming to Christmas parties to see other members drawn from the hat or winning musical chairs to get their golden ticket to London. This was Bridget’s time, and she was a very popular recipient of the club place. She did us proud with a very solid run, posting a time of 5:27:20.
Story number 6 means that all six of our brilliant runners finished the marathon safely and happy with their performances. With this one we have maybe saved the star of the day to last.
Making it a family affair, young Abigail Keyte also had a place today, and the only way to described her performance is to say that she absolutely smashed it out the park! Abbie had run four marathons before today, usually with the company of dad Tim, the pacing maestro. Today though was to be a solo mission. Abbie showed that she had remembered all those well paced runs with Tim though, and paced this one to perfection. The signs were there when she posted exactly the same time for the first two 5k splits, and the pace barely dropped from there. Chatting afterwards Abbie said she absolutely loved it and smiled the whole way round. Smiling must be the way forward, as Abbie posted an awesome 3:54:51, her first Sub 4 marathon. Congratulations Abbie!
Finally, a funny story. Friends Bridget and Sharpie both stated afterwards that “They were done, no more marathons!”. Nice one girls, but that’s a story we have all heard before, we will see you next time!
Today’s results (PB indicates a marathon distance PB):
IWRR Superstar runner Ross Wilkes was in the US last week to tackle the most sought after marathon in the world. He kindly contribute this account of his day…
“The race was made in 1897 making it the oldest annually held marathon. It was created the year following the revival of the modern Olympic games. The course generally hasn’t changed with the start point way outside the city in the small town of Hopkington and a fairly flat course the first 16 miles before the hills of the Newton area crop up, with the biggest being the iconic ‘Heartbreak Hill’.
The crowds were insane, the biggest and loudest I’ve ever seen even in the more rural areas outside the city.
Weather was decent, overcast with the odd shower which I much preferred over the hot and humid climate we’d had the week before.
Pacewise I aimed to sit just under sub 3 for as long as I could, I knew the later miles would be a struggle so would’ve been happy with over 3 hours but figured it would be worth a go!
I still felt strong the final few miles even on the inclines and it became apparent I could stick with the faster pace and even push for a PB. I still believe the Marathon distance has a degree of luck to it and you never know if all the pieces of the puzzle are gonna be there on raceday but I’m very grateful it all worked out on such a event. Was really special to be part of a race with such a history.”
Very well done Ross, he clocked an awesome time of 2:57:13, setting an impressive marathon PB on the biggest stage of all.