Isle of Wight Fell Series

Ventnor. Famous for its crabs, micro climate and hills. … big hills…. lots of big hills.

Fiercely competitive and famously challenging, these races are tough. The Ryde Harriers annual Fell series takes no prisoners. 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 deific.

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 up the highest point on the Island and back. It’s beyond tough. 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.

Race 1 – The Boniface Fell
Harry Rann – 20.52
Andy MacArthur – 23.39
Dan Williams – 24.06
Hayley Baxter – 25.52
Jodie Wilmott – 27.16
George Butler – 27.46
Clare Mucklow – 28.54
Tarnia Eldridge – 31.10

A couple of hours recovery and the magnificent 7 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.

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

Race 2 – The Ventnor Horseshoe
Harry Rann – 1.03.47
Andy MacArthur – 1.09.10
Dan Williams – 1.14.11
Hayley Baxter – 1.15.55
Jodie Wilmott – 1.18.35
George Butler – 1.22.14
Tarnia Eldridge – 1.32.53

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 before beginning the ascent through St Lawrence, passing the football ground at Watcombe Bottom before continuing upto Stenbury Down.

The runners then continued through the countryside skirting Wroxall and Godshill before passing through the Donkey Sanctuary. A welcome flat section along the old railway line was soon alighted as they then ascended what are lovingly referred to as “The Steps of Doom” returning them back onto St Boniface Down and the final descent to the welcome sight of the School for that last uphill push. Tired but triumphant.

Race 3 – The Wroxall Round
Michael Coultrup – 1.44.46
Tim Howell – 1.45.59
Dan Williams – 1.46.28
Andy MacArthur – 1.46.54
Harry Rann – 1.49.56
Hayley Baxter – 1.58.29
Lou Howell – 1.59.04
George Butler – 2.23.06
Tarnia Eldridge – 2.33.55

As is usual with this weekend of racing, most of the top prizes were swept away by the overwhelming presence of some very high class, experienced Fell runners from clubs such as Victoria Park, Serpentine and Clapham Chasers. However a particular mention must go to Hayley Baxter whose consistency all weekend earns her 16th lady overall and a top 3 Vet prize.

Prizes and overall positions

Hayley Baxter – 16th lady and 3rd v40
Tarnia Eldridge – 38th lady and 10th v40

Harry Rann – 34th male and 23rd SM
Andy MacArthur – 46th male and 15th v40
Dan Williams – 55th male and 17th v40
George Butler – 97th male and 46th SM