All posts by Sarah Holmes

Larmer Tree – Day 2

What do you get when you cross one of the toughest off road marathon courses in the country with some overnight rain and 816 runners traipsing over it the day before in 2 other races?

Answer – HARD WORK!! Slippery mud, hampered all 29 runners in both the 20(ish) mile race and the marathon.

“I’ve run 12 marathons” said Jane Andrew “and that was the hardest run I’ve ever done”

IMG_0793First to set off were the magnificent 7 in the marathon. Unsurprisingly no rookies today, all experienced at the distance (some more than others…. Steve Hickman Marathon no.134!) Great running by all 6 guys and plucky solo girl Lou Dover.

Team IWRR managed to bring the fi-yah with a stonking 10th place overall from Dan Williams, (also 5th place V40), 19th overall from Tim Cordery, (also 2nd in his age category) and Lou also securing the second spot for her F25-29 age group.


Also of note was Chairman Pat Harris, who knocked a massive 13 and a half minutes off last years time. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was that it was, in fact, an actual marathon and not the loosely 27/28ish “marathon” of previous years. A great relief I’m sure to the super 7.

Dan Williams – 3.45.52
Tim Cordery – 3.54.45
Gordon Mucklow – 4.16.03
Ian Dyer – 5.15.18
Lou Dover – 5.15.18
Steve Hickman – 5.42.20
Pat Harris – 5.42.27

An hour later a remarkable 22 Roadrunners embarked on the tough “20” Many tackling the distance for the first ever time.

But despite the mud and the huge elevation, (the equivalent of running up Culver Down 5 and a half times), it was smiles all round, possibly due to the cider they were giving out along with hugs and kisses at the “Lovestation” water stop at 17 miles but who knows? (We do like to work hard, play hard at Roadrunners!)


Many of today’s team opted to run in pairs or small groups rather than running it solo. On long runs such as this, especially over such gruelling terrain, the power of friendship and teamwork can really make all the difference and it is something we are big on at Roadrunners. It sounds crazy, but some there are real genuine bonds forged out there on a race like this. It’s an added bonus that sits alongside the running itself. We look after each other and push each other through.


Just like the half marathoners the day before, team 20 were treated to an extra 1.2 miles totally gratis (aren’t they lucky!) but all rallied for a fine finish, grabbing their medals and straight in for their well deserved free pizzas thrown in by organisers White Star Running.

First Roadrunner back was Matt Fletcher in a superb 8th overall and 3rd V40 closely followed by off road king Michael Coultrup in 9th to secure the top spot in the V50 category.


Elaine Harris and Hayley Baxter crossed the line simultaneously to become first girls back and each securing 4th place in their groups. George Butler took the top spot in the M20-24 with first time 20 miler Joe Winchcombe taking 2nd. Also of note were husband and wife team Jane and Darren Andrew who crossed the line 4th & 5th respectively in their categories, and Julie Salter, Tim Howell and Jenny Dewing who all came 5th in theirs.
Great running gang!

Matt Fletcher – 2.55.38
Michael Coultrup – 2.57.10
Tim Howell – 3.34.55
Darren Andrew – 3.34.55
Elaine Harris – 3.48.17
Hayley Baxter – 3.48.17
Keith Ruth – 3.54.30
Charlotte Williams – 3.54.36
Jenny Dewing – 3.54.37
Julie Salter – 3.54.41
Tarnia Eldridge 4.02.01
George Butler – 4.02.02
Kevin Winchcombe – 4.04.37
Joe Winchcombe – 4.04.40
Lisa Upstell – 4.06.07
Zoe Elliot – 4.10.49
Claire Howard – 4.19.30
Jane Andrew – 4.19.31
Alison Batchelor – 4.19.32
Julie Ray – 4.33.38
Julie Rasmussen – 4.33.38
Ian Williams – 4.47.38


Larmer Tree – Day 1

A bright eyed and bushy tailed bunch were on 6.25 ferry to take part in the first day of the Larmer Tree race weekend. Set in the beautiful countryside of the Rushmore estate on the Dorset & Wiltshire border, a total of 14 Road Runners set off for the first 2 races of the weekends events.


An early kick off of 8.30am saw 5 Roadrunners embark on the 10 mile course. Despite being the shortest distance on offer over the weekend of running, it was by no means an easy option.


Hills, hills and more hills were the order of the day, with a crescendo of a 841 footer chucked in the middle (Ventnor’s St.Boniface Down is 702ft as a comparison for you). Couple that with plenty of mud this off road race is tough to say the least.


But not perturbed, all 5 of our runners completed the course and earnt their beautiful peacock medals and enjoyed a free breakfast courtesy of the organisers, White Star Running.

New boy Billy Goozee made his unofficial club debut in style as he breezed the course in 76 minutes to come 23rd overall. A fantastic result Billy – Well Done!

Billy Goozee – 1.16.09
Shelley Harris – 2.24.00
Misha Hetherington – 2.31.30
Rachel Dempsey – 2.32.07
Shannon Brennen – 2.43.02

An hour later the “half marathon” got underway. Following largely the same course as the 10 milers, but with a couple more hills and an extra 1.2miles thrown in free! (14.3 miles yay!)


This race meeting despite being super tough is popular with those training for Spring marathons. Like Tanya Clifford who is training for the London Marathon in April.
“The hardest run I’ve done so far” she said “but I can honestly say I loved every single brutal minute” That might sound crazy to the non runners amongst you, but miles and miles on the tarmac can get boring. An event like this is great not only for your stamina, but for developing that necessary will to finish that you need in a marathon. I’m sure Tanya and fellow 1st time marathon runner Bel Rockall felt their inner strength kick in today in that last unexpected extra mile.


First home was Tom Forster in a fantastic 9th overall and 4th in his age category in a cracking 1.50.07. First Girl Roadrunner was Claire Stevens in 2.43.27
Also big well done to Tim Keyte who finished 4th in his age category and Lucy Deville who was 2nd in hers


Tom Forster – 1.50.07
Tim Keyte – 2.08..10
Claire Stevens – 2.43.27
Tanya Clifford – 3.04.29
Bridget Keyte – 3.04.32
Belinda Rockall – 3.08.45
Dawn Pointer – 3.08.46
Lucy Deville – 3.14.30
Lyn Snow – 3.49.41

Milestone at Parkrun


That’s what immutable, club stalwart Kevin Fry has become at the Saturday morning institution that is Parkrun.
He celebrated his 250th Parkrun last week and not one to steal the limelight, he deliberately volunteered on the week that long suffering friend, running enthusiast and fellow Parkrun sestercenturion Joy Furmidge was in New York, so that they would celebrate their immense achievement simultaneously.


They are only the 3rd and 4th people on the Isle of Wight to notch up this remarkable number of the nations favourite 5k. That’s 775 miles! That’s Land’s End to Inverness in case you were wondering, (but only if you go the long way!) Sorry Kev and Joy, you have another 20 Parkruns to do before you’ve made it to John O’Groats haha!)


And as if that wasn’t an achievement in itself, Kevin has also volunteered a staggering 280 times! Often taking the pre-race briefing, his infectious enthusiasm for running is as clear as the ever present smile on his face. He loves the community feeling that Parkrun has. “We are all one big family at Parkrun”. The friendly, family, community feel has always been the main thing that has drawn Kev back week after week since his first trot over the 5k distance back in 2011.
A chance conversation with an old school friend got a sceptical Kev to turn up and run for that first time, but in his own words he “was hooked”


For our ever growing contingent of newer members, or indeed if you are reading this but aren’t a member of the biggest running club on the Isle of Wight, Kev’s involvement at the Isle of Wight Road Runners goes way back.
“I took up running in 2001 after I gave up football” says Kev
In 2002 he found a small running club to share his journey with. They had about 10 members at the time, (unbelievable now!), but all had a huge passion for running. Kev quickly became hugely instrumental in shaping the club going forward. That infectious chat of his, helped draw in lots of new members, (some of which are still with the club today) His dedication, efforts and passion were rewarded with a well deserved honoury membership in 2013.


Kev congratulations on your milestone Parkrun. You are and always have been, an absolute credit to the Isle of Wight Road Runners. You always run with a smile on your face and helping hand for those around you. Your love for running certainly is infectious and that is exactly what sport at grassroots level is all about. You really do embody the true spirit of what it means to be a IWRR.

We are very proud of you xxx

Here’s to the next 250!!

Club Night – Fartlek

This week the Roadrunners were treated to a Fartlek session, (that’s runner speak for speed intervals)
Over a 4.8 mile course, winding it’s way around Newport, the runners were divided into paced groups, each with a leader to organise the runners. After warming up for a mile at an easy pace, the leader organises a very short sprints, increasing in effort level as the run progresses, interspersed with recovery periods in between.
General feedback on the session was good. The course featured a couple of out and back sections, enabling different paced groups to encourage each other on the way round.
Many runners found their overall mile averages were lower than they would normally run and many gaining confidence in their sprinting ability. It will be great to see this put into practice in the finishing straight of upcoming races.

Great running gang!

Malta Half Marathon

In contrast to our local weather, pocket rocket Daniel Faulkner enjoyed a balmy 18c on his way around the Malta Half Marathon on Sunday.

A large field of 4500 runners started both the full and half marathon races which ran concurrently. Starting in the Medieval town of Mdina the course wound its way along to its coastal finish line in Sliema.


Danny finished in a cracking 93 minutes. Well done Danny!!


Steyning Stinger Marathon

Stinger by name, Stinger by nature. This off road marathon is not for the faint hearted. Set in the beautiful South Downs between Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea, the name Stinger refers to to the 4 stings (hills), on route resulting in a hefty 2714ft of elevation. In it’s 16th year, this “undulating” course is a favourite for our marathon king Steve Hickman. Our superman has run this epic race a staggering 15 times.


Dreadful conditions greeted the 250 strong field as they lined up to start. Wind, high winds, deep mud and hailstones battered the already challenged runners, as they made their way around the brutal course.

Despite the weather, our trooper made it to the finish line in 5.37.16 bringing his marathon tally upto an unbelievable 133!
“It was awful. Underfoot was a major problem. Slippery, deep mud”
Will he be back to run it a 16th time?

Knowing our Steve, he’ll have signed up already.


Ryde Harriers Cross Country Championships – Arthur Biggs Handicap Race

The 3rd and final race in the Ryde Harriers Cross Country series took place on Sunday. 29 Roadrunners lined up for the Arthur Biggs Handicapped race. The course was a repeat of the previous weeks, with 5 miles for ladies and 7 for the fellas. The mid week downpours had refreshed the mud perfectly to ensure the runners did not get an easy ride. No team prizes available at this race, so no club kit was required. However many club members opted to wear their unofficial official kit for the local off road gang and purveyors of all things purple, the Godshill Massive.


The aim of this XC series is to run your fastest times over the first two events and then improve once more for the final event. Competitors start at intervals based upon their finishing time in either or both of the previous races in the series. Congratulations to Rachel Dempsey and Misha Hetherington who both improved on their previous course times the most, resulting in being placed 2nd and 3rd overall. Well Done ladies.

Finishing Times – Men

S.Riley – 48.07
M.Fletcher – 49.30
G.Mucklow – 50.34
M.Coultrup – 50.41
D.Williams – 52.46
G.Sharp – 54.19
T.Keyte – 54.35
J.Winchcombe – 55.20
G.Butler – 57.12
K.Winchcombe – 57.50
N.Scott-Denness – 58.21
K.Rann – 59.10
I.Dyer – 62.30
N.Stilwell – 69.05
I.Williams – 70.23


H.Baxter – 42.08
J.Salter – 46.12
C.Williams – 46.13
Z.Sherwin – 46.50
T.Eldridge – 48.03
J.Ray – 48.21
C.Stevens – 50.00
J.Rasmussen – 50.51
M.Hetherington – 51.32
R.Dempsey – 53.54
S.Sharp – 54.38
B.Keyte – 55.27
S.Brennen – 65.07
L.Snow – 69.47


Club Night -Track Taster

We were lucky enough this week to have our track taster session taken by renowned coach Geoff Watkin. Geoff’s alumni include Team GB Cross Country twins Joe and Tom Wade and Rio Olympian Jess Andrews.


The focus of the session was performance and recovery. The Roadrunners were encouraged to push faster than their normal race pace through intervals of 1600m, 800m and 200m with 1 minute recovery in between.
Hugely positive feedback from all that participated, many seeing their mile averages significantly faster than usual.
Our Men’s captain Darren Cole takes our club track sessions every Tuesday night at The Fairway in Sandown. After this taster session, his job is about to become a whole lot busier with roadrunners bitten by the track bug.

Temple Valley Brutal 10k


Set in the Southdowns National Park amid a beautiful historic estate, Temple Valley Brutal 10k was a sell out. Unusually, this event had a Canicross race, (that’s dog and handler peeps!) and our experienced Brutal runner Jodie Wilmott took her year old Miniature Schnauzer Schnu along with Glossopdale Harrier and East Cowes girl Claire Campbell and her dog Callie.


The course was hugely challenging with farmland, maize fields, vast muddy bogs and motocross jumps. “It’s the hardest brutal I’ve done” said Jodie. And if she says it was tough… then it was definitely tough. Super Schnu excelled in his race debut to bring his owner home in 1.28.15. 14th overall and 5th female. IMG_0051


West Wight Duathlon Series

Dean Pike was the lone Roadrunner entered into this well organised West Wight event.
Perfect conditions of calm, but overcast skies saw him emerge the triumphant winner in this nominated 5k-20k-2.5k race, finishing only 1.53 away from his estimated time.

He completed the first of the 2 run elements a whole 3 minutes ahead of the rest of the field in 21.30 mins. However his cycle section felt tough due to lack of bike training so far this year and he lost his lead and dropped back into 4th place. Not letting this deter him, he picked up the pace on the final run and finished 2nd overall.
Great Result Dean – Well Done!