Isle of Wight Festival of Running – Day 2

Despite the hot forecast, the skies were more overcast and temperatures lower than expected much to the relief of the 350 runners on the startline. 

Famously tough, the Needles half marathon course is just about as multi terrain as you can get. Tarmac, footpath, grass and sand all feature as this course winds its way around the 13.1 miles from the West Wight Sports Centre to Tennyson Down and back again.

After the kiddies fun run, 11am came and the runners were given the off.

The course took them off on a flattish first 5 miles toward Norton and then along the beach at Totland, lulling them into a false sense of security that the course is easier than expected.

That security soon comes to a sharp end as they get funnelled up the steps just past the beach before making their way up, then up, then up on the series of climbs at The Needles, Headon Warren and Tennyson Down. With some 362m of elevation between them it is really tough going.

The pressure on those tired thighs increases with every hill, but at last they reached Tennyson Monument and the welcome relief off a downhill mile to Freshwater Bay. A wiggle through the treacherous “swampy bit” with all its twists, turns, bridges and knarly roots just waiting for tired legs to trip them up, and they finally emerge on the far side of the playing field for that never ending dash to the finish.

Simon Riley was the first Roadrunner back to the Sports Centre in a nifty 1 hour 34 minutes to give him 7th overall and 2nd V40. Stu Backhouse was just seconds behind taking 8th and 3rd V40. A remarkable performance considering his 20 miles in the highly competitive South Downs Relay less than 24 hours before and suffering a nasty fall in this race coming off Headon Warren, suffering some nasty cuts and a big knock to the hip.

“Big thanks to Simon Riley for looking after me” said Stu 

In his club debut Scott Bradley, stormed home in 12th place and 4th V40 – Talk about making an entrance! 

For the girls it was last year’s full marathon champion Hayley Baxter that was the first IWRR girl back to the Sports Centre taking 6th place in the ladies race and 2nd V40. Sarah Ward was next home in another fantastic performance with Margaret Niland-Murphy not far behind taking the 4th V50 in the process.

In they came, one by one and two by two, all 37 of the white, blue and red vests. All having run their hearts out on those hills. Particular mention goes to Sue Hunter for her fantastic 2nd place in her age category and to Richard Clark, Steve Apsey, Chani Jones and Susie Piper all also making their club debuts.

Finally…a big well done to all the Roadrunners who gave up their time to volunteer over the weekend. From marshalling, to giving out cold sponges, backmarking or just cheering and offering support. 

Simon Riley – 1.34.24

Stuart Backhouse – 1.34.42

Scott Bradley – 1.36.02

Nick Kenney – 1.39.39

Steve Apsey – 1.40.19

Kieron Snow – 1.44.22

Hayley Baxter – 1.46.56

Matt Fletcher – 1.47.25

Stew Barbour – 1.47.49

Mike Kimber – 1.48.51

Harry Vernon – 1.54.13

Richard Bezer – 1.54.59

Kevin Rann – 1.55.57

Noel Finn – 1.55.23

Peter Dixon – 1.56.10

Gordon Mucklow – 1.56.23

George Butler – 1.57.51

Richard Clark – 2.01.28

Dave Cass – 2.02.07

Andy Tickner – 2.02.48

Sarah Ward – 2.03.06

Margaret Niland-Murphy – 2.03.59

Paul Muffet – 2.06.55

Stephen Hickman – 2.13.10

Charlotte Williams – 2.14.33

Jenny Dewing – 2.14.41

Chani Jones – 2.16.05

Susie Piper – 2.19.19

Jane Andrew – 2.18.32

Sue Hunter – 2.20.41

Ian Williams – 2.26.01

Fay Tosdevin – 2.31.01

Nick Carter – 2.32.30

Julie Salter – 2.32.34

Alison Butcher – 2.34.22

Sam Grist – 2.47.09

Lyn Snow – 2.59.09