Yes they were back! The original goon squad were back at their favourite race for their legendary “boys night out” at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park over the water.
Never run without some sort of drama, this year didn’t disappoint as Dan Williams, Ian Russell, Michael Coultrup and Bill Goozee lined up alongside new recruit Simon Riley for an evening of fun.
An out and back race, the course takes on the South Downs Way. Starting at 9pm the boys had half an hour of daylight before it dipped below the horizon and the real test started. Following the public footpath signs it can be easy to miss a turning in daylight, let alone in darkness.
They all started off well, making the most of the flatter initial miles around the country park section before beginning the chalky climb on to the ancient ridges, nearly 4000ft of ascent laying before them.
The rain of the previous days made the course slippery in places as the boys negotiated their way along. Dan and Bill ran together, leaving the front pack to go slightly ahead. Micheal, Ian and Simon running comfortably within themselves.
Heading toward Buriton, Ditcham and South Harting, they reached the halfway turning point at Cocking for the return on this out and back. Bill and Dan working their way along nicely until both of their stomachs took a south turn… literally!
“We both had the same sandwiches on the ferry… can’t be a coincidence surely” laughs Dan
After a pit stop or 2 (or 7 unbelievably!) and several pieces of kit lighter they somehow still managed to find themselves in 3rd and 4th place. Bill stacked it at around 24 miles and Dan went ahead.
They crossed the line retaining their positions somewhat minus their dignity. Dan taking 2nd V40 and Bill 2nd SM. Ian wasn’t too far behind taking 14th overall and 7th V40.
“I started slower this year so I would feel stronger in the second half. It definitely worked as I was passing people left, right and centre in the last 10k” said Ian “and no… I didn’t get lost!… for once !”
Michael was next across the line taking 3rd V50. The biggest cheer has to go to Simon who despite having only run 18 miles in training smashed out his first marathon in over 20 years.
“I stuck to my nutrition plan and still felt good at 20 miles. I was worried about getting lost on the return leg but found a little group to stick with. It was the hardest run I’ve ever done.. I’ve never seen so many hills! It was a physical and mental challenge but I’m happy to say I survived!”
Dan Williams – 3.53.35
Bill Goozee – 3.54.05
Ian Russell – 4.16.10
Michael Coultrup – 4.35.15
Simon Riley – 4.53.53