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Lydd 20

Fast and flat, this 20 miler is perfect to test your marathon race pace if training for Spring races.
That’s exactly what marathon man Steve Hickman was doing this Sunday. It wasn’t his own pace he was testing though, he was pacing round a member of his second claim club Ashford and District.

Starting outside the Banks Sports Club, the course took in the wide pancake flat lanes surrounding the town of Lydd. Heading north, this out and back route flicks out into a little loop toward the town of Brookland before returning along the same roads back to the Sports Centre.

Steve finished in 3.37.19 bringing his friend home on target for her marathon in a few weeks.

Frankfurt Half Marathon

A seamlessly organised event greeted Roadrunners Harry Vernon and Margaret Niland-Murphy as they took on the Frankfurt Half Marathon on Sunday.

Hosted by Frankfurt’s Spiridon Running Club, this is Germany’s largest amateur organised event.

“It was first class. The day went smoothly and was relaxing and enjoyable” said Harry

Fast and flat the 13.1 mile journey began outside the iconic Eintracht Football Stadium, the Commerzbank Arena. It then followed the course of the River Main before progressing through some woodland area to the west of the city before returning to the 50000 capacity stadium for a glory finish.

Margaret was first back to the stadium in a speedy 1.47.50 coming 15th in her V50 age category and was the first British lady home. Harry was not too far behind in 1.56.48. A relief for him as the race was his first long run since tearing his calf at New Year.

“I feel like I’m back on it now” he said

No medals were on offer for the finishers, but there was free beer given out to our thirsty runners – Gut Laufen Harry and Mags! Prost!

Larmer Tree Races -Day 2

Even muddier than the day before, (of course it was! 1013 Runners and 34 dogs over 4 races had lovingly churned it up for them!), the next 14 victims…l mean Roadrunners….had made the journey over to deepest Dorset to tackle the Larmer Tree hillfest.

First to set off were the awesome foursome in the marathon. 2400 feet of elevation lay before them. Last minute changes to the route due to heavy snowdrifts remaining on some of the high ground, were of concern to our intrepid 4 as White Star events can be famously over distance. But concerns proved to be unfounded as they stormed in measuring 26 miles as planned.

Unsurprisingly off road mileage maestro Dan Williams was the first home in a staggering 3.43.48 claiming 12th overall and 3rd V40.

“Mud, hills, all the usual. I’m still not feeling 100% after having the flu so I am well chuffed… Happy days!”

And chuffed he should be! Despite not feeling fully fit he managed to knock 2minutes off last years time.

Tim Keyte ran his debut off road marathon to come across the line next in just under 4hr 25, with the ever amazing Tarnia Eldridge flying the solo flag for the ladies crossing the line with partner George Butler bagging themselves 5th and 2nd respectively in their age categories.

“That was only 2 and a half minutes away from my pb! I’m really happy with that considering the hills and the mud” said George on Facebook shortly after the race.

Great performances by all of 4 of them.

Dan Williams – 3.43.48
Tim Keyte – 4.24.38
Tarnia Eldridge – 4.43.21
George Butler – 4.43.21

An hour later, the remaining 10 Roadrunners embarked on the tough “20” Despite the mud and the huge elevation, (the equivalent of running up Culver Down 5 and a half times), it was an enjoyable race for all. Maybe it was due to the free cider they were giving out at the “Lovestation” waterstop at 17 miles but who knows? (We do like to work hard, play hard at Roadrunners!)

Many of today’s team opted to run in pairs or small groups with only Mick and Garry going it alone. On long runs such as this, especially over such gruelling terrain, the power of friendship and teamwork can really push each other through.

Unlike the marathoners, “team 20” were treated to an free mile, (aren’t they lucky!) but the extra effort was worth it as they pushed up the final hill to the finish line to collect their beautiful peacock medals and a hot lunch courtesy of the organisers, White Star Running.

Mud lover Michael Coultrup was unsurprisingly the first to cross the line in just under 3hrs 14 and 2nd V50. A fantastic performance considering he has been nursing a niggly knee.

“I took it real steady and enjoyed it” he tells me later

Garry Sharp was next home in just under 3hrs25, proving his London marathon training is right on target. Inseparable running team Judy McCabe and Steve Bennett were next across the finishing line giving Steve a fantastic 2nd place V60 and Judy 8th in hers. The gigglers were in next Lisa Upstell just nipping ahead in the final stages but having run the majority of the race with troublesome trio Julie Ray, Julie Rasmussen and Sarah Sharp.

“That was a tough run but I was determined to not let it beat me. It was made easier with the encouragement of the two Julies and Lisa who were all awesome” our Vicechair Sarah Sharp tells me.

A few minutes later Kevin Winchcombe and Gill Bushell came in completing the Roadrunners team with big smiles on their faces.

Michael Coultrup – 3.13.28
Garry Sharp – 3.24.46
Judy McCabe – 3.36.42
Steve Bennett – 3.36.42
Lisa Upstell – 4.13.41
Julie Rasmussen – 4.14.51
Julie Ray – 4.14.51
Sarah Sharp – 4.14.51
Kev Winchcombe – 4.26.48
Gill Bushell – 4.26.48

Larmer Tree Races -Day 1

Set in the beautiful countryside of the Larmer Tree Gardens and the  Rushmore estate on the Dorset & Wiltshire border, a total of 7 Road Runners set off for the first 2 races of the weekends events.

The recent rainfall had made this famously hilly course all the more difficult.
The undulation on all these races at Larmer is relentless. And with an absolute whopper of a 841 footer chucked in the middle (Ventnor’s St.Boniface Down is 702ft as a comparison for you).

An early kick off of 8.30am saw just 2 Roadrunners embark on the 10 mile course. Despite being the shortest distance on offer over the weekend of running, it was by no means an easy option.

Misha Hetherington and Rachel Dempsey embraced the challenge knocking 14 minutes each off their times from last year, earning themselves their beautiful peacock medals and enjoyed a free breakfast courtesy of the organisers, White Star Running.

Mischa Hetherington – 2.17.39
Rachel Dempsey – 2.18.51

An hour later the half marathon got underway. Following largely the same course as the 10 milers, but with a couple more hills and even a bit of the Beast from the East still hanging around on the high ground.

First home was Nick Kenney in a marvellous 19th overall and 3rd V45 in just under 2 hours. Holly Newton wasn’t too far behind to claim 29th overall and 6th place in the ladies race, winning the Senior Female category.

Next in were the triumphant trio of Jane Andrew, Claire Howard and Alison Batchelor, or team JAC as they are fondly known as. They came across the line, as always together. Supporting each other as they conquered more than just the hills out there.

“Mud, hills, rain, snow and fog. I loved it!” Said Jane

Jane also bagged herself 3rd V55 along the way, whilst Claire and Ali took 6th & 7th V50 respectively

Nick Kenney- 1.59.51
Holly Newton- 2.06.24
Jane Andrew- 2.55.41
Claire Howard- 2.55.41
Alison Batchelor- 2.55.43

Cyprus Marathon and Half

Over 600 Runners from the Uk alone jumped on planes to escape the snow and ice this week, all making their way to the Island of Cyprus to make up 25% of the field at the 20th Cyprus marathon festival.

Amongst those 600, were two of our club’s couples. Jodie and Peter Wilmott took on the half marathon whilst Charlotte and Ian Williams both made their debuts over the full distance.

The half started and finished at the medieval Fort on the harbour in Paphos, voted European capital of culture last year. The mostly flat course wound its way around the city area with 3 out and back branches with the only incline at halfway.

Peter flew round, crossing the line in a tidy 86 minutes to place an amazing 16th overall and winning his V50 age category. Jodie gave it everything to return to the harbour in 102 minutes claiming 14th lady and 4th in her V35 category.

“I was happy with my efforts. I couldn’t have done any more” Jodie said afterwards “it was too harder course to get a pb”

They took advantage of the free beer at the finish line and waited around to cheer in the marathoners.

Starting at Petra Tou Romiou, (Aphrodite’s birthplace), the Williams’ set off on their marathon journey. The first half of their course followed the coast, taking in some beautiful scenery before passing through several traditional villages before entering the final stages in the cosmopolitan resort of Paphos. The palm trees and the luxury hotels adding to the buzz of the finish as the team Williams made their way along Poseidon’s Avenue and to the finish at the quayside Fort.

Charlotte smashed it! Coming home just shy of 4hr 15, giving her a magnificent 22nd lady and 5th in her V40 category. Ian also ran brilliantly crossing the line in 4hr 50.

“We did it! We ran a marathon! I can’t believe it!” said a jubilant Charlotte later on that day “I cried a lot in the latter stages but we are both thrilled to bits…. oh….and my legs hurt!”

And so they should! 26.2 miles is a long old way, although judging by the smiles on their faces, they’ll be running another one again soon.

“We’ve created a monster! Ian is already looking for another race!”

Peter Wilmott- 1.26.16
Jodie Wilmott- 1.42.34

Charlotte Williams- 4.14.55
Ian Williams- 4.50.34

The Big Half

The Beast from the East had left as quickly as arrived. The travel carnage it created was all but forgotten. Perfect timing for our trusty trio to venture up to the capital for the inaugural Vitality “Big Half”.

Steve Rumsey and Tim & Bridget Keyte were lucky enough to grab places in this sold out race alongside Sir Mo Farah.

Starting at Tower Bridge, the course took them for a circuit of Canary Wharf, before returning along the highway to cross the iconic Tower Bridge. They continued south of the Thames from here into Southwark, through Bermondsey and Rotherhithe and to the finish at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

“It was great running round Canary Wharf and of course over Tower Bridge” Bridget tells me “It was a well organised event, but I did learn something…. I don’t like running on cobblestones!”

Despite this all 3 of our Roadrunners ran brilliantly with Steve Rumsey running his first race in a while to cross the finish line in just over an hour and a half, Tim next home in 1hr 43 and Bridget in 2hrs 13.

At the finish area they were treated to the “Big Festival” in Greenwich Park. A fusion of food stalls, live music and demonstrations, it was a fun way to unwind and celebrate post race.

Steve Rumsey – 1.31.21
Tim Keyte – 1.43.33
Bridget Keyte – 2.13.19

Steyning Stinger

Set in the beautiful South Downs between Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea, this challenging marathon is a real toughie.

The name Stinger refers to to the 4 stings (hills) encountered along the way. With a huge 2714ft of elevation between them, this can only ever be a tough day at the office.

Despite its famously challenging conditions, our marathon supremo Steve Hickman has gone back for more almost every year since its inaugural running in 2002.

Luckily the recent snowfall had mostly disappeared with the air temperature rising considerably from the sub zero conditions of the previous few days. Unfortunately it created some very deep mud, making an already difficult run all the more of a challenge.

“That was the hardest time yet and I’ve run it 16 times” his Strava post reads “It was a muddy hillfest”

You know that if Steve tells you it was tough, then it was super tough. He’s run 145 marathons… he would know! But despite his protests he actually finished 13 minutes quicker than the previous years outing over the course, coming over the line in 5.24.44.


Malta Marathon and Half

In contrast to the cold snap encompassing the UK this weekend, Daniel Faulkner, Zoe Elliott and Bill Goozee were enjoying a balmy 16c in Malta this weekend.

The Fab 3 made their way to the tiny Island just south of Sicily along with Glossopdale Harrier and friend of IWRR Claire Campbell.

A record field of 4800 runners started both the full and half marathon races with a phenomenal 2874 participants flying in from overseas, of course our tenacious trio being just 3 of them.

Starting in the Medieval town of Mdina, this point to point race split at around the 4km mark as Bill wound his way around an extra loop toward Mosta before rejoining the Half course at the Mriehel by-pass to its coastal conclusion with a nice flat final 5k to Sliema.

The temperatures although not scorching, were enough of a sudden leap in comparison to our freezing temperatures of late.

“That was way too hot” said Zoe soon after finishing

Bill finished in a phenomenal 24th overall in the Marathon whilst Danny and Zoe both ran well in the half. All of our compadres ran an amazing race, enjoying the 33 bands on the route and enjoying the holiday experience of running a race abroad.
Bill Goozee- 2.52.25
Danny Faulkner- 1.40.49
Zoe Elliott- 1.54.14

Hameldown Hammer Half

Billed on the organisers website as “a serious test of endurance” this trail race is high and steep, rocky and muddy, tough and challenging.

Starting in the village of Widecombe-In-The-Moor at the foot of Hameldown Massif, Ian Dyer and Zoe Sherwin set off on the gruelling 13.1 miles taking in some of Dartmoor’s most iconic granite Tors.

Over 600m of ascent was sprinkled over the course, including the double ascent of Hammeldown Ridge which afforded our pair some stunning vistas across the moors.

“Some of the views I have seen today have been literally jaw dropping” said Zoe after the race.

They ran brilliantly to cross the line together in 2.37.46

Winchester 10k

Just 2 of our Roadrunners took on this undulating race, a mix of city streets and country lanes. Darren Dollery making not only his club debut, but his actual road race debut alongside club stalwart Sara Truckel.

Starting from the Guildhall, the Runners made their way along the High Street and out toward the village of Kingsworthy before making the turn for home and passing through the village of Headbourne Worthy before returning to the city and the finish at the football stadium.

Darren ran a fabulous race securing himself a fantastic time of 48.11 with Sara battling a nasty cold to finish in a brilliant 53.05

Great running by both of them, well done guys.