In it’s 5th year of running, the Southampton races are growing in success year on year. With a 10k and a half marathon in addition to the full course on offer, the event is accessible to all ages and all abilities.
A bright sunny sky prevailed as the team congregated in the Race Village outside the Guildhall. Numbers collected, bags dropped off it was time already to get over to the start line.
With the half and the marathon starting together it was busy and buzzy as the race starter counted them down for the off.
The half course took in some of the landmarks of the city. Passing by the QE2 Anchor, running through St Mary’s Stadium and of course up and down the Itchen Bridge.
From the start in the city centre the runners made their way along Town Quay before tackling the Itchen Bridge over to Woolston. A little loop around the area took them through the grassy Rolling Mills before returning across the bridge. A right turn and they continued toward Southampton Football Clubs, St Mary’s Stadium. The runners entered the stadium and ran down one side of the pitch before emerging into Northam. They crossed the bridge there,taking them into Bitterne and through Riverside Park. The temperature was surprisingly warmer than expected as they made their way around the undulating course. A sharp turn onto Cobden Bridge then took them across to St.Denys then Portswood. A long drag upto the common drained the legs in the final stages as they made the turn for home.
Not for the marathon runners though as they had 2 laps of the course to complete. They had to watch the half runners dip under the finishing arch as they were shepherded to the left lane knowing they had to do it all over again.
It was all joy and relief for the half runners though as they came in one by one.
Simon Randall was first home in a tidy 1 hour and 25 minutes taking the 10th place in his age category. Richard Harvey bounced across the line in 1 hour 37 minutes with George Butler coming down the finishing straight less than 5 minutes later to a shiny new PB, showing his time out due to last year’s back operation is behind him and he’s back to his best.
“It’s so good to get a PB!” he tells me “we were all working hard out there”
New member Andy Tickner was next, beating the 2 hour mark with ease, taking 4 minutes off his PB.
“The support from the IWRR cheer squad in the last mile was great. It really helped me to find a final push and break 1.55”
Julie Salter was the first of the girls home having run the whole way with Nick Carter. Carolyn Littleton was home next in under 2 hrs 10 in her debut in not only the distance but for the club too.
“What a brilliant day!” She tells me “I’ve really enjoyed it”
Another new member Kelvin Mansfield ran a steady race with father and daughter Steve and Sarah Morris close behind him having run the whole course together, crossing the line in unison, demonstrating they are making a great team as that was their third event together in as many months.
Supergran Lucy Deville cruised home in her usual inspirational manner, Gill Shaw wasn’t to far behind earning herself a huge 7 minute Pb in the process. Lyn Snow came home 10 minutes later with Penny Downer pushing her limits to complete her first ever half marathon.
In the 10k, team IWRR had 4 runners out on the course. Following most of the first few miles of the half course. They turned off before St.Marys Stadium, to return back to the Guildhall.
Mike Kimber got his medal first in under 45 minutes, just pipping Olympian Iwan Thomas on the line. Alison Batchelor dipped well under the hour mark, with Callie Hatcher just over. Coral Leach was a welcome addition on the startline having not raced for a while.
“It felt really good to be racing again. I was very nervous beforehand, but felt good once I got there”
Meanwhile in the marathon, they were still plugging away. As already mentioned, the marathoners had 2 laps of the half course to negotiate. They finished their first lap with fantastic support from the Roadrunners cheer squad
“I loved seeing our noisy lot at halfway” said Sarah Holmes “I was losing the will to live on that first lap so to see them all there screaming at the top of their voices was such a lift. I got around the corner though and stopped. I wanted to cry. I felt like I’d bitten off more than I could chew with this one, but I couldn’t bear the thought of letting the support crew down”
It’s no surprise that she was tired, along with Glen Jones and Zoe Sherwin they’d run the London Marathon only a week previously.
“That was tough” said Glen “I think that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done”
All three of them battled through the fatigued legs and self doubts on that second lap.
Andy MacArthur was the first Roadrunner home taking the bull by the horns finishing in 59th overall and 3rd V50 whilst smashing his PB by 3 minutes to gain himself a coveted Good for Age time.
“I so pleased” he informs me whilst on an extended celebration “it felt tough on the second lap but it should feel hard when you are pushing yourself. I’m over the moon”
Speaking of pushing oneself, the indomitable Hayley Baxter absolutely stormed her way round to finish in a massive 10 minute PB having run the whole way with club legend Stuart Backhouse. As if the PB wasn’t enough of a cause to celebrate she also took 5th lady overall and the pole position in the V40 category.
“The second lap was so hard. I’m so grateful to Stu for his support. He kept me going at times”
Next to complete the 26.2 mile journey was Michael Coultrup followed by a delighted Kev Rann in a well earnt PB of 2 minutes
“I’m more than happy with that. It was great to see the support crew”
The back to back marathon crew were next home with Zoe arriving back first, then Glen, then Holmsie. All relieved to have completed this big ask.
“I was in a world of pain. I couldn’t wait for it to be over!” said Zoe “But I’m so glad I did it”
“I wanted to quit about 3 miles in” said Glen “I won’t be trying that again in a hurry”
“I had to put my big girl pants on and just get on with it in the second lap” said Holmsie “In fact I’m pleased with how the second half went really, I tried to maintain pace and I did”
Closing the bidding for team IWRR was stalwart Karen Phillips. Having run a solid race, she suffered from tight hamstrings in the latter miles and was forced to run walk. But in true Karen style, she battled her way to the finish with a fantastic flourish for the support crew.
Great running by the whole team.
Andy MacArthur – 3.14.38
Hayley Baxter – 3.26.00
Stuart Backhouse – 3.26.00
Michael Coultrup – 3.39.07
Kev Rann – 3.52.24
Zoe Sherwin – 3.53.52
Glen Jones – 4.11.44
Sarah Holmes – 4.18.35
Karen Phillips – 4.22.07
Simon Randall – 1.25.22
Richard Harvey – 1.32.51
George Butler – 1.41.34
Andy Tickner – 1.54.46
Julie Salter – 2.00.23
Nick Carter – 2.00.25
Carolyn Littleton – 2.09.19
Kelvin Mansfield – 2.10.09
Steve Morris – 2.12.57
Sarah Morris – 2.12.58
Lucy Deville – 2.22.21
Lyn Snow – 2.44.13
Penny Downer – 2.51.31
Mike Kimber – 44.31
Alison Batchelor – 58.23
Callie Hatcher – 1.02.41
Coral Leach – 1.19.22