All posts by Sarah Holmes

East Farm Frolic

The distance kings were at it again this weekend. 12 hours of ultra running. A lapped course through field and forest, uphill and downhill, climbing over hay bales and loving at the Lovestation. 6.2km every lap. This is White Star Running’s East Farm Frolic.

Our 3 musketeers of experienced ultra ubers Ian Russell, Dan Williams and Michael Coultrup had a new apprentice. Our little marathon wizard Bill Goozee went along for the ride, having never run an ultra or a lapped race of this sort.

Based around the farm near Winterbourne in Dorset. Our Fab Four (and Dan’s girlfriend Kay), set up camp on Saturday, in preparation for the early start on Sunday.

They all started off steadily. Michael, Dan and Bill going slightly ahead with Ian taking it a little easier.

They managed to keep together for 4 laps before Dan and Bill started to pull ahead.

After 7 laps their first marathons were complete. Dan and Bill coming in in just over 3 and a half hours, Michael and Ian just over 4.

“My knees were already hurting” said Michael. His long term injuries had been playing up of late “l’d decided to make it to marathon distance then jolly the rest. I took long breaks, stopped and chatted to folk”

Onward they went, round and round the course. Taking breaks as and when they needed. The mercury was really rising now, as the temperatures were hitting around 25c. Poor Dan started to suffer with cramp at mile 38, which then plagued him the rest of the way.

“My hamstrings and calves started to cramp constantly. I had to let Bill go on and turn into bit of a ramble after that” said Dan

Bill was 3 laps off the leader at this point. But after leaving Dan, he injected a bit of extra pace and set about trying to catch the leader. Dan and Ian battled on for another 2 laps, second marathons completed, each taking their tally to 16. It was then that they called it a day.

“I didn’t get lost this time! I did no training so I am very happy with distance! whoop whoop bring on the next one!” beams Ian

“That was a hot one and a sufferfest. I called it a day at 52.8 miles, a double marathon. Happy enough with that” said Dan

The light was fading. The 12 hours were almost up. It was 7.55pm and Michael decided to do one more lap. Bill was still out in the course, still making up ground on the leader.

Meanwhile Bill was triumphantly doing his last one …. 22 in total, unbelievably he’d made up those 3 missing laps, but was only just short on time in the end. He crossed the line for the final time coming 2nd place overall and 72 miles, (breaking the course record set by our own Mr. Coultrup the year before).

“I loved it! I found the environment great. That bit of time you get to slow down grab some food have a drink and a chat helped me get through the distance. It was one of them days for me when you just feel good running. A massive shout out for mick and dan from me for teaching me how to run it and Kay for her support”

Speaking of Mr. C, his second wind in the final stages earnt him 3rd place overall. Dan and Ian’s distances had bagged them 4th and 5th respectively. Great result for all of them. Even Kay surpassed herself and ran and unexpected marathon.

Fantastic results guys, we look forward to your next adventure.

Bill Goozee – 72 miles – 12.25.49
Michael Coultrup – 59.7 miles – 12.38.59
Dan Williams – 53 miles – 10.19.26
Ian Russell – 53 miles – 11.02.20

Challenge 40

Most people when they get to a big Birthday would have a party, go on a holiday or treat themselves to something luxurious right?
Not our Julie Dixon….. oh noooooooo!
She decided to celebrate her upcoming 40th birthday with a tiny challenge. A little test of her endurance. A small measure of her metal.
She dreamt up an ultra, all based around the numbers 4 and 40.

And so it was born…
4km Sea Swim
140km Bike ride
40km Row
40km Run
40 hours
Challenge 40

Somehow this crazy idea caught on and she managed to enlist some other willing participants with enough chutzpah to give it a go. Husband and fellow Roadrunner Pete Dixon along with friends Martin Scotcher, Shaun Overton and Sam Grist and Clare Griffin all took the challenge on to make Julie’s 40th Birthday one she would never forget. They then decided to turn it into a fundraiser for West Wight Sports Centre, where Julie works as a fitness instructor. Months and months of preparation then followed to not only ensure that they were all fit enough for each discipline, but that every leg of the event ran smoothly.

Thursday 24th August.
Time to get this show on the road!

Alum Bay to Colwell Bay. 2 and a half miles in the sea kicked off this epic adventure.

“I had a great swim” said Pete “I was consistent and I felt really strong. It was a relief as I bailed on the training swim”
Different story for Julie though as she readily admits she’s not keen on sea swimming
“It is by far my weakest element. I was so slow both the support boat and kayak offered me a tow haha! I was last one out, but I made it. I was glad to get to it out of the way”

The whole crew made it onto dry land as they recouperated with a 2 hour break before heading out onto the bikes in two separate groups.

“I headed out on the bike feeling good” said Pete “I had my best friend and inspiration by my side (the wife) along with friends Jo and Johnny to pace us”

They met the other group at Bembridge as they had a quick pit stop for lunch before continuing forever onward, ticking off the miles as they went.

They got back to West Wight Sports Centre, joyful at thinking they’d successfully completed day one of the challenge. However they were to soon discover that a miscalculation in the conversion of km to miles meant that the 79 miles they’d blistered through wasn’t enough!

“That was a lesson learnt!” Julie told me as we jogged along at the start of the run leg the next day “If your event is in km, don’t leave your watch on miles!”

So they reluctantly got back on their bikes, sore, but determined to nail the challenge to the letter.

Finally they finished, got themselves a massage, a well earnt dinner and a good nights sleep.

“I felt so good and positive after day 1” said Julie

Day 2

A 4.30am alarm call woke team awesome (or should it be oarsome! – sorry that pun was dreadful!), to get them out early to prepare their 6 gig boat for the row scheduled to begin at 7.15am. The conditions were perfect, with a mirror glass sea as the tug boat took them from Yarmouth to Alum Bay.

The tide was with them at first and they were flying along at 8-9mph laughing, joking and singing all the way. They slowed when they got past Ryde as the tide changed. But it didn’t deter the group, they had made up so much time that they could afford to slow up a little.

A welcoming party had gathered on the shore at Bembridge as they made their way in. Friends, support crew and some trusty Roadrunners had turned up to see them on their way for the last and possibly biggest test of all … the 40k run back to the West Wight Sports Centre.

“I still didn’t feel tired” said Julie

Pete wasn’t feeling quite as fresh as the row had taken its toll on his lower back.

“I was in a fair bit of pain by this point, the discomfort in my back was sending pains down my leg, I knew it was going to take everything I had left to get through that run”

2 o’clock. Time to start the grande finale. 25 miles lay ahead of them. Temperatures were in the 20s as they set off, so dehydration was a real risk here.

They ran altogether on road from the Duver at St Helens on road to the end of the the cycle path at Fairway Sandown. It was here that they split according to their estimated pace and confidence over the distance. Julie went ahead taking Glen Jones and Hayley Baxter for company, Sam and Martin ran together with support crew Jo and Johnny whilst Pete ran with newbie runner Shaun (he was one of Julie’s couch to 5k students at the beginning of the year!) and friend Sarah Remnant, who was also new to the distance. Roadrunners Alison Batchelor and Sarah Holmes kept them company, with Jane Andrew arriving on her bike soon after.

“What a joy and an honour it was to see these guys through the first “half” of their journey. I felt like it was our job to keep them at a manageable pace and not let them fly out too quick and remind them to drink or take their gels at the right time.I was awestruck that they were all so chipper still, especially Shaun who was so new to running and Pete who was suffering with his back” said Holmsie

With regular check ins from their support crew along the way, offering them water, gels and jelly babies, the miles flew by and it was smiles all round. Suddenly they reached Shide Trees. Waiting here were Roadrunners Jodie Willmott, Sarah Sharp and Julie Ray along with Claire Campbell and Dan Morgan. The ladies ran with Julie up to the Eight Bells in Carisbrooke. Jodie and Claire then hooked up with Tim Keyte  to take Julie onward on the more challenging part of the journey on to the Tennyson Trail.

Sarah Sharp and Julie Ray turned back and returned to Shide where they waited for Pete to arrive, and escort him to the Eight Bells. Once he’d had a quick massage, he was off again. Still with Shaun and Sarah R he’d now picked up Martin for company. Julie Ray left them at this point, but Sarah Sharp continued with them to Jubilee Car Park before turning back.

Julie also parted company with some of her crew at this point. Jodie and Claire waved their goodbyes, leaving Julie with Tim and Dan, but joined by Louise Dover.
“I had sore hamstrings by now” said Julie “I was finally getting tired”

The most difficult miles were behind them now, all they had to do get up onto the golf course at Freshwater and hold on to the finish line at West Wight Sports Centre.

And that’s exactly what they did….. gritted teeth and determination, Julie even cranked up the pace to an awesome 8.30 min miles as home became only a couple of miles away.

They’d only gone and done it!!
224km behind them – AMAZING!!

Just Julie, Pete and Martin managed the entire challenge. (Poor Sam fell off his bike, Shaun couldn’t do the row and Clare couldn’t do all the run and swim)

“I am so grateful to everyone that helped make the challenge happen” said Julie the next day “we are so grateful to have such support around us. It was a brilliant experience over the 2 days”

Last word from Pete

“My lovely wife will have to think of another dastardly plan to try to kill me haha”

Don’t worry Pete you have another 10 years to wait hopefully…. you’d better get the holiday brochures out and book somewhere fast!!!!

Isle of Wight Half Marathon

A kind weather wizard blessed our Roadrunners at this year’s Isle of Wight Half Marathon. Sunny, but not as feverous as an August day could be, the conditions were favourable as they put their toes on the startline at Appley on Sunday.

Famously undulating, the course meanders from the park along Calthorpe Road and along Bullen Road before turning into Attrills Lane and then toward Nettlestone and then up Pondwell Hill.

It then turned back up Bullen Road for the second time before turning onto Beeper Shute before progressing onto a welcome bit of downhill in the shape of Carpenters Road and onto St.Helens.

They then headed back onto Attrills Lane, Bullen Road and Calthorpe Road for the equally undulating return journey before they finally reached the finish back at Appley Park.

Cole Pearce was the first Roadrunner across the line in 1.21.52 and a fantastic 10th overall followed by Bill Goozee 5 seconds later in 11th. Next in was Michael Douglas in 14th place and Simon Randall in 19th and 2nd in the MV40 age category.

For the ladies, Holly Newton was the first across the line in 1.41.53 and 6th female overall and got herself a massive PB in the process. She was followed by Julie Dixon in 16th who took 4th FV35 and Julie Salter who took 2nd FV50.

In they came, one by one. The temperatures were warm by the time the finished with the hills taking their toll, but they made it across the line to collect their beautiful bespoke medals.

Particular mention to Michael Coultrup, Dan Williams, Steve Bennett and Paul Butcher who somehow managed to bag themselves PBs, Sue Hunter who won her age category and Matthew Wade who made his debut over the half marathon distance.

Cole Pearce – 1.21.52
Bill Goozee – 1.21.57
Michael Douglas – 1.24.02
Simon Randall – 1.26.10
Simon Pilcher – 1.26.46
Danny Faulkner – 1.27.12
Tom Forster – 1.27.55
Steve Rumsey – 1.29.14
Matt Fletcher – 1.33.36
Dean Pike – 1.35.37
Michael Coultrup – 1.38.00
Dan Williams – 1.38.53
Steve Bennett – 1.40.45
Donnacha Deasy – 1.41.49
Holly Newton – 1.41.53
Tim Keyte – 1.43.36
Julie Dixon – 1.49.24
Paul Butcher – 1.57.02
Julie Salter – 1.57.02
Karen Phillips – 2.00.13
Kelly Forster – 2.01.13
Charlotte Williams – 2.02.08
Dave Wilcock – 2.04.44
Pete Dixon – 2.08.54
Fiona Atwood – 2.10.32
Lisa Upstell – 2.13.18
Elaine Harris – 2.13.19
Sue Hunter – 2.14.23
Belinda Rockall – 2.16.11
Alison Butcher – 2.20.02
Ian Williams – 2.24.27
Nick Stilwell – 2.24.35
Coral Leach – 2.45.20
Jo Randall – 2.46.28
Matthew Wade – 2.46.29
Lynn Snow – 2.55.39

Team Positions
4th – Bill Goozee, Michael Douglas, Simon Randall
5th – Simon Pilcher, Danny Faulkner, Tom Forster
8th – Steve Rumsey, Matt Fletcher, Dean Pike

2nd – Holly Newton, Julie Dixon, Julie Salter
4th – Karen Phillips, Kelly Forster, Charlotte Williams
6th – Fiona Attwood, Lisa Upstell, Elaine Harris

Midnight Marathon

The beautiful South Downs Way.
26.2 miles of gorgeous undulating countryside and the setting for Second Wind Running’s midnight marathon. To quote the website…

“A great way to run at night with others on a course that is simple to follow”

Did you all read that correctly… “simple to follow”

Enter into the equation, the carnage squad of Michael Coultrup, Dan Williams, Bill Goozee, Ian Russell and the late addition of marathon novice Harry Rann.
And all idea of simple went out of the window.

This “lads night out” as it was described on Facebook began on Saturday evening as the group embarked upon their journey to Petersfield.

Starting at Queen Elizabeth Country Park at 9pm, our crazy night owls had half an hour of sunlight before it dipped below the horizon and the real test started.

After the first few initial miles around the country park the course then led our fab 5 up on the the chalky climbs on the South Downs Way, nearly 4000ft of ascent before them.

Up on the ancient ridges they headed toward Buriton, Ditcham, South Harting before they turned at Cocking -the halfway point, for the return on this out and back.

Apart from those first couple of miles in the country park, there was no race signage for the rest of the course and the runners had to follow the normal, public signs for the South Downs Way. Probably easier said than done in the dark as a few of our boys got lost!

“You really had to be on the look out for the signs” said Ian “they were only marked with little reflectors. We were warned at the start it was hard to see. In hindsight I should have downloaded the map, I couldn’t find it when I needed it as there was no phone signal for over an hour”

And boy did poor Ian need it. He ran with Harry to begin with, keeping the youngster company on his first outing over the distance. But Ian turned his ankle badly at around the 6 mile mark and reduced his pace afterwards as it was sore. Harry went on ahead and Ian was fine on his own until he somehow went off course at around 23 miles.

“I’d run about 5 miles off course before it became apparent that I must have taken a wrong turn, (I would have found the finish line otherwise!),  so me and another runner turned back to try to find our way. We had no google maps as we had no phone signal, so we ran another 5 miles before we realised we were actually, completely lost. We tried to knock on few doors for help, but no-one was answering. It was the middle of the night I guess! The other runner I was with finally managed to make a phone call and got us a lift back onto the course. We had run 33 miles by then and were exhausted. We found our way back onto the right route and ran in over the line! After all we had run a marathon! Just not the right marathon haha!”

Bill interestingly took the same wrong turn, but realised his mistake sooner and turned back and found his way to the finish line in a fantastic 3.47.52 and 6th overall.

Dan completed his race, drama free to finish in 12th position and 4.08.03
“I broke a rib 3 weeks ago! I felt it, but I am glad I ran. What a great lad’s night out!”

Harry, finally popped his marathon cherry, to come across the line in 4.11.45. Unbelievably he’d done no training whatsoever as he took someone else’s spot only that morning.
“It was great, I really enjoyed it. I ran the first bit with Ian, then picked the pace up. I started to struggle from mile 21 onwards, but it was great. I loved it”

Michael Coultrup was next home in 4.14.56. A good performance from the hill king considering his recent knee injuries
“I thoroughly enjoyed this run despite concern about my knees. It’s not my fastest time, but a result after the worry”

They all enjoyed a drink or two and a complementary bowl of chilli as they waited for poor Ian to return.
Finally he arrived back where he had started in 6.51.54. Relieved to be back with the boys only to be ribbed unmercifully about his “detour”


Cotswold 24

Club comedian Dave Smith got his sensible head on this weekend when he embarked on his first big event for a while.

Set in the Bathurst Estate, outside Cirencester, in the heart of the Cotswolds. This lapped event is a test of mental endurance as much as any physical demands on the body. The determination to embark on another lap must override the temptation to stop as the runners retrace their steps again and again. The mental battle upping the anti as the 24 hours tick by.

The course itself is a 9k multi terrain off road route, following forest trails, grassy tracks and footpaths. Starting at Cirencester Park, the course meanders through the Polo Ground, into Twelve Acre Copse, through the Deer Park before turning for the return along the Shepherds Ride and back to the start.

“Considering this is something a bit different from the usual run I wasn’t that worried about it! I was actually looking forward to it” said Smithers

Poor Dave’s preparation hadn’t exactly gone to plan. A back problem excluded him from training for the first 6 weeks of his plan, so he was playing catch up from there on in. He’d managed to get his long run upto half marathon distance.

“I had to make a revised plan, but with 12 weeks of training I was as ready as could be”

Seems our Dave already had the determination he needed before he even stepped up to the startline. Off he went on his first few laps, taking it steady, not going out too quick, being Mr.Sensible, making some friends along the way.

“The race started well and with regular breaks and refuelling I was going strong. I managed to avoid the heavy rain and only had a little drizzle, which was actually really refreshing as it was muggy”

However as the race drew along, Dave started to struggle with some niggly joint pains. His hips, knees and ankles were hurting, something he’d not experienced before. He decided that after 7 laps, (that’s nearly 40 miles), he would have a couple of hours sleep to try to revive his legs.

(Cirencester on the course at 5am during the race)

Upon awakening he felt refreshed and raring to go again. Determination renewed and spirit revived he woke with a new spring in his step so he set off on lap number 8. But it wasn’t long before the pain returned in his joints.

“My eighth lap started well but halfway round my legs started to seize up and I made the decision to make this the last lap”

Our Dave had smashed his previous distance record and run a fantastic 44 miles.

“It would have been nice to make the 50 miles but not at the the risk of longer term problems and there’s always next year! The atmosphere over the weekend was fantastic, with great support and it was a well organised event”

Great running Dave, you’ll be back next year to beat that distance PB.

Snowdonia Trail Marathon

Someone that has run 140 marathons would be considered somewhat of a connoisseur of the distance. Knows the flat from the fluctuating, the fast from the furious and the hilly from the silly. So when our distance supremo Steve Hickman indicates it was a bit of a toughie, you know he means it.

“It was quite simply the hardest marathon I’ve run. Harder than anything I encountered in The Himalayas”

Voted the best marathon in the UK not once but twice by Runners World magazine, this race was established in 1982 as a polar opposite alternative to the concrete carnivals the major cities were offering. If that was the objective, then it is mission accomplished. You couldn’t get any more different. Not a flat road or a high rise in sight, this course circumnavigates then finally ascends Snowdon, Wales’ largest peak. It’s not a peak let’s face it, it’s a full on mountain!

Starting in Llanberis at the wonderfully named Electric Mountain, this beast of a course starts as it means to go on… with a hill! A rocky 3 mile trail of up up and up began Steve’s journey. Any elation upon reaching the top was soon dashed by a steep and slippery descent toward the woodland area at Beddgelert.

Steve was hoping for a bit of relief along this section as the terrain flattened out slightly to a more undulating nature. Although, as promised by the course profile, it did indeed flatten out, the relief was lacking. For along these flatter parts were bogs. Not deep puddles, or sludgey trenches, they were proper bogs.

“Thigh deep at times. They’d be over your head Holmsie!” He tells me. I’m not convinced he’s exaggerating either! ” A lot of runners were dropping out here. One fell right in front of me breaking his ankle!”

Onward he ran. Toward the next sharp but short incline of Pen Y Pass at mile 16. But that was nothing in comparison for what was waiting for Mr.Hickman at the Pyg Pass. 18 miles behind him already. The tiredness that any marathon runner feels at that point starting to kick in and a colossal 3406 feet of ascent lay before him. Challenge enough had it been on a steep and stoney mountain trail. But no, no, no, no, this was rocks, boulders, massive monoliths of Jurassic lava to clamber over. There was no path, the boulders were the path!

“It was mountain climbing, not running. It was a bit scary to be honest. I thought I would fall. I was clawing my way on all 4s at times, taking 30 minutes to complete a mile. I had a few sulky sit downs along the way”

Eventually Steve reached the summit, 1085m above sea level, (that’s 3559 in old money) His feet were battered and tattered as they hit every stone, rock and boulder on the way. Those 4 miles felt like a marathon in themselves. But he’d done it, the mountain lay in his wake as he descended cautiously over the slippery, steep track and back toward Llanberis and the welcome (more so than the 139 times before), finishline.

27 miles the distance. 5255.90 the total ascent. 8.28.23 the time.
Last words from Steve…

“Never again! Tough day…. still… it’s done! #140”

XNRG Round the Island Ultra

Running in conjunction with the round the Island Yacht Race, this 70 mile ultra is run over 2 days, the course follows the Coastal path around our sunny Islands perimeter visiting each corner of our diamond along the way. Day 1 sees the competitors travel from East Cowes the 38 miles along the coastal path clockwise to Brighstone.

One plucky roadrunner took on the challenge for the second time, having completed the event previously. Starting at the floating bridge at East Cowes, Mark Brazier set off eagerly with his friend George (brother of roadrunner James Shoulder) along toward Wootton. The pair lead the field at this early stage as they struggled to settle into their ultra pace. Onward to Ryde they continued, turning south along the spectacularly undulating eastern coastline. But as with every viewpoint, there is the small task of getting up there! Some killer ascents peppered the days challenge

“It’s not often I have to stop for a breather at walking pace” said Mark “there were some killer ascents! Seaview, Culver, Steephill & Seven Sisters at Ventnor and the steps coming up from Shanklin seafront stick in my memory” he recalls.

Welcoming race officials at all the checkpoints, (some with familiar faces) on route gave the pair fantastic comfort, words of support and practical help, (Mark confesses he was too tired to fill up his Camelback, so marshalls were more than happy to oblige) and food.

“Warm cheese slices, pork scratchings and cheap cola have never tasted so good!” He quips

Up hills and up Down, along scorching seafronts and descending the Devils Chimney. Through landslip, fallen cliff paths and Botanic Garden they finally turned the corner at Blackgang to emerge on to flatter ground with their days finish line almost in sight in the distance at Brighstone. Under the red victory arch they went in 7.48.26.

“Day 1 was a hard slog and cant say i really enjoyed it that much, it was very hot and whilst starting off fresh and injury free, I ended the day feeling pretty battered. In hindsight the early pace, lack of fuel early on – coupled with a poor choice of footwear, (newish trail shoes), made for an uncomfortable day. The race plan of running all the flat/downhill sections and only walking the climbs going out the window, just having nothing left at times”

Being local lads, Mark and George opted out of the included camping in favour of a night at home in their own beds. A high carb dinner and an early night without Marks night-time daddy duties were in order as the pair tried to rest up up and recover ready for day 2 and another 32 miles.

Day 2 – Mark and George had 32 miles to cover on tired legs and blistered feet. The heat was more intense as the temperatures reached the mid 20s early in the day. They had before them the glorious (if somewhat daunting) sight of the chalky cliffs of Freshwater and Tennyson as they started off more cautiously than they had the day before, (i.e. by not bursting into the lead)

“Day 2 was psychologically easier. Knowing that we’d run further yesterday than we had to do today and that we’d already taken on most of the big climbs already was a real boost”

Turning at the Needles Mark felt a feeling of relief that despite having 20 odd miles to go they were now on the home stretch. They continued on toward Totland where they took a bit of a wrong turn and ended up climbing Headon Warren twice. But once back on the right track they followed then the twists and turns around Cranmore to emerge at Porchfield

Just a few more hills along to Thorness and Gurnard before they were on the home stretch along the flat seafront.

“I was walking at this point last time I did this event, so I was determined to run this last section. I even managed a bit of a spurt to the finish line so I ended on a high”

They’d made it. They’d only gone and done it! Mark finished day 2 in 6.38.10 bringing his overall time to 14.26.36, 11 minutes quicker than his previous outing on the course and a fantastic 22nd place overall.

“I’m sure with a few tweaks I could get round faster. The biggest challenge over this distance is trying to keep running when your mind is telling you to relax and walk. I still didn’t get this right this time, but it was a step (or 115,000 steps) in the right direction”

Sounds like Mark will be back to take on this challenge again. Just don’t wear new shoes next time…..

St. George’s 10

St George. Roman soldier. The slayer of the dragon. The patron saint of England. Made so in 1327 by King Edward III because he embodied everything that he wanted his England to be… Powerful and Warlike.

That’s exactly what every runner had to be on this beast of a race. Relentless undulation peppered with some epic climbs makes this course a true challenge of grit, strength and determination.

150 runners lined up under the golden arch at St. George’s School, to begin upon on the rude awakening of the uphill start.

Off they went into Watergate Road for a little respite before they embarked upon the first big climb of the race in the shape of Nunnery Lane.

But the effort was worth it as the runners were treated to their first vista of the race with a panoramic view of Carisbrooke Castle. The overcast skies began to break and the sun began peeping through the clouds making an already muggy day even warmer. Onward, the runners made their way along the course to Gatcombe. Supporters, friends and family popping up along the route to cheer.

But then the real business began as the runners arrived in sunny Chillerton. All they had to do way get to the top of this beast of a hill (all 2 miles of it), and they’d be making the downhill turn for home.

At Berry Lane the insurmountable rise had been conquered by all. Each one of the runners slaying their own dragon as they reached the summit. The drinks and waterguns at the top were a sight for sore eyes (as was the view) as the runners then descended back toward Gatcombe.

Although the race was half run and the worse of the ascents behind them, the continuous ups and downs of the last few miles was draining for most of our plucky competitors as the humidity started to take its toll. More so for 2 of our Roadrunners as they both got stung by flying beasts. Poor Laura Holme took a bee sting in her mouth (Yes!! Actually inside!!) and Ladies Captain Julie Ray took a sting to her face which made it go numb. Despite this, the determined duo battled on right to the finish.

This year’s overall winner was Joe Wade, in an amazing 59.12 with Andrew Quigley from Fetch Everyone in 1.02.18 coming in 2nd and 3rd place went to Cole Pearce of Ryde Harriers in 1.02.42.

In the ladies race Kathryn Bailey smashed the ladies course record previously held by IWRR’s Carla Plowden-Roberts, in a phenomenal 1.07.32. 2nd place went to Ryde Harriers’ Charlie Metcalfe, fresh from her spectacular performance at the Island Games, blasting around the course in a mere 1.09.01 with Elizabeth Steward of Denmead Striders taking 3rd position in 1.15.44

Full results can be found here –

For the Roadrunners it was Bill Goozee to cross the line first to come in just under 63 minutes and a fantastic 4th overall. Simon Pilcher was next over the line to take 8th, Tom Forster in 10th and Michael Douglas in 12th. For the ladies it was Ashleigh Douglas who stormed in first for the Roadrunners in just over 83 minutes and 7th lady , followed by Julie Dixon in just under 85 and 8th place, Sarah Holmes 45 seconds later in 9th and Benita Kochanowska in 10th.

In they came, one by one, hot, tired and exhausted but almost all of our trusty Roadrunners giving it one last push with everything they had left to sprint to the finish line. I say almost all, Nick Kenney decided to do a forward roll across the line!

All that was left to do was present the hard earnt trophies, buy out the cake stalls wares and regale each other with stories of how we won’t be running it next year because it’s so challenging…
But the tougher the race, the sweeter the reward. They all came and saw and conquered the hills, they conquered the dragon!
Tomorrow is another day… the tiredness will have faded and the pain forgotten about. The senses of pride and achievement with will be all that remains… for they all became St. George for the day.

IWRR Results
Bill Goozee – 1.02.48 – 3rd SM
Simon Pilcher – 1.04.36 – 2nd V30
Tom Forster – 1.08.11 – 3rd V30
Michael Douglas – 1.09.28 – 4th SM
Kieron Snow – 1.12.16 – 5th V40
Simon Riley – 1.13.32
Tim Cordery – 1.15.15
Ian Russell – 1.18.37
Dave Cass – 1.22.30 – 2nd V50
Ashleigh Douglas – 1.23.12 – 2nd SF
Richard Bezer – 1.23.15
George Butler – 1.24.02
Julie Dixon – 1.24.56 – 4th V35
Donnachadh Deasy – 1.25.09
Sarah Holmes – 1.25.41 – 5th V35
Benita Kochanowska – 1.27.16 – 3rdV45
Adam Morris – 1.28.24
Claire Howard – 1.29.37 – 4th V45
Richard Whittington – 1.32.00
James Shoulder – 1.33.22
Martin Keyworth – 1.34.04
Charlotte Williams – 1.34.44
Katherine King – 1.36.14
Pete Dixon – 1.37.05
Jane Andrew – 1.38.50 – 2nd V55
Nick Kenney – 1.39.25
David Smith – 1.43.11
Julie Ray – 1.43.26
Steve Hunt – 1.44.27
Sarah Delaney – 1.44.58
Tracy Pole – 1.46.24
Jessica Hill – 1.46.33
Laura Holme – 1.48.28
Belinda Rockall – 1.49.09
Dawn Pointer – 1.49.27
Sue Hunter – 1.49.53 – 4th V55
Misha Hetherington- 1.50.09
Bianca Johnston – 1.54.27
Shelley Harris – 2.05.30
Lyn Snow – 2.17.41 – 5thV55

Team Positions
2nd – Bill Goozee, Simon Pilcher, Tom Forster
4th – Michael Douglas, Kieron Snow, Simon Riley

2nd – Ashleigh Douglas, Julie Dixon, Sarah Holmes
3rd – Benita Kochanowska, Claire Howard, Charlotte Williams
5th – Jane Andrew, Julie Ray, Sarah Delaney

See you next year ……

Wyvern 10k

Just outside of Southampton lies Wyvern College, near Fairoak. The HQ for this out and back race organised by Hedge End Running Club.

Warm air and blue skies prevailed at this small but impeccably organised event. An athletes village, complete with charity stalls, BBQ and beer tent buzzed with excitement as our Steve Hunt lined up with his son George, 14, who was running his first ever race.

This slightly undulating course took the pair from the college grounds downhill on narrow Country lanes toward Horton Heath and then further out along Burnett Lane before a sharp u-turn brought them back the same way they had come culminating in a track finish.

“We ran together at a steady pace because of the heat for the first 5k. There were locals on the course giving us some welcome relief with hoses to cool us down. As we turned at 5k, George realised he had plenty in his legs as I was feeling the heat so at 7k I told him he didn’t have to humour his old man any more and to push on. The last 2k were tough. I ran past a lot of people feeling the effects of the heat”

George smashed his first race in 56.28 with Steve beating his target of under the hour and clocking 59 minutes exact, despite the soaring temperatures making conditions difficult.

Well run fellas, we may have a Roadrunner of the future there in young George.