New Forest Marathon Festival

A coach load of bleary eyed roadrunners piling onto an obscenely early ferry, all a bit too sleepy to appreciate the sun coming up as they crossed the Solent. A return to the New Forest Festival of Running for this year’s annual IWRR away day. With 4 distances on offer there was something for everyone.

A short drive from Lymington into the forest, the runners arrived with an hour to spare for the marathoners to collect their numbers and perform their last minute preparations.

9am and the marathoners were off on their journeys. Our trusty team of 5 set out from the Polo Ground onto the course following the forest paths, dusty and dry under foot, interspersed with country roads and trails.

It wasn’t long before the half runners were doing the same, following the same course as the marathon for 9 miles before turning back for home.

The 10k went next for the off following a parts of the same routes as the others, all on forest track, as they ran from enclosure to enclosure. 

Quick coffee for the support crew as they bundled everyone’s hoodies into a bag and waited pensively for their teammates return. 

They didn’t have long to wait as Cole Pearce appeared in the distance in a dust cloud as he stormed down the long finishing straight to claim a phenomenal 2nd place. 

“I’m well chuffed” said Cole as I lept on him to congratulate as he crossed the line

Garry Sharp was next in, showing he is coming back to form with his ever exuding enthusiasm claiming 8th V40. Next over the finishing line was our club debutant, Steve Holloway, running his first ever half marathon and doing it in style! His first appearance in his club vest took him only 1 hour and 24 minutes giving him 5th V40

Next under the finishing arch was Sarah Sharp and Caroline Curliss having run the whole 10k together, followed by Lucy Deville 8 minutes later. 

“I had  frisky ponies dashing in front of me during the race!” Said Lucy

”We had great fun along the way” said Sharpie

Next was a flurry of very determined half runners all running their hearts out as the temperatures started to rise. Keith Ruth ran a great race, only 30 seconds outside his Pb showing his fine form is certainly returning after a period of injury. Next home was Chairman Glen Jones in another Pb time with team Ward coming home way under their target time of 2 hours to give Sarah a 20 minute Pb and 3rd V50. Not far behind was Giorgio Marinelli, also in a massive 24 minute Pb. 

Sam Grist finished his 10k next having run with a friend. James Shoulder then completed his half with his usual 100% effort. 

The first of the marathoners came across the line next. Stuart Backhouse going for a good for age time, smashed it by coming 6 minutes under his target time, sneaking a cheeky Pb and coming 10th overall and 3rd V40. Dan Williams was next in, also in his fastest ever time, knocking a whopping 17 minutes off his previous best giving him 15th overall and 5th V40. 

Elaine Harris and Julia Parker were all smiles as they completed their journey around the half marathon course, having run the whole thing together. Marathoners Matt Fletcher and Ross Wilkes also  came in together, Ross sneaking a Pb in the process.

”I caught Ross at about 23 miles” said Matt “he was having a bit of a wobble so I stayed with him for the last three miles. He was determined to get that Pb”

Lyn Snow came home pleased with herself having thoroughly enjoyed the half, with Steve Hickman completing the teams bidding in a cracking marathon time of just over 4 and a half hours. 

They were all home. All a bit hot, but all happy, smiling and pleased with themselves. Time for a quick drink in the sun in front of the live band before returning to Lymington for a quick bite to eat in the pub and a couple more drinks to celebrate.


Colin Pearce – 36.55

Garry Sharp – 45.57

Sarah Sharp – 1.02.15

Caroline Curliss – 1.02.16

Lucy Deville – 1.10.11

Sam Grist – 1.20.20

Half Marathon 

Steve Holloway – 1.24.27

Keith Ruth – 1.45.36

Glen Jones – 1.46.47

Sarah Ward – 1.50.00

Ivan Ward – 1.50.01

Giorgio Marinelli – 1.51.27

James Shoulder – 1.55.39

Julia Parker – 2.10.02

Elaine Harris – 2.10.03

Lyn Snow – 2.54.58


Stuart Backhouse – 3.04.27

Dan Williams – 3.08.50

Matt Fletcher – 3.44.43

Ross Wilkes – 3.44.49

Steve Hickman – 4.32.32