Anyone that’s ever done Walk the Wight over the years will know how difficult the course is in places. With its famous “undulations” it is a test of will and stamina. As if that wasn’t test enough, 3 of our amazing Roadrunners decided to run it in reverse, in the dark! Namely Challenge the Wight.
26.5 miles traversing left to right across the centre of our diamond isle, using mostly off road trails and footpaths, the terrain is tough. With 5 downland to conquer amidst hills, forests and chalk cliffs, the elevation is brutal at times.
But for our terrific trio, who incidentally, have clocked up 6 marathons between them in the past month alone, it was well worth the effort as they raised money for disadvantaged children right here on the Island.
Starting at 9pm from The Needles and heading east Bill Goozee, Julie Salter and Paul Butcher all set out with their headtorches, the light already sinking into the sunset behind them .
Bill went ahead early hoping to get himself in the running for a lead position whilst Paul and Julie were taking it at a more leisurely pace.
“Going over Tennyson was my favourite bit” said Paul “There was still a bit of light then”
Over Freshwater Golf Course, Mottistone Down and through Brighstone Forest they ran before finding themselves on the Tennyson Trail then dropping down to Carisbrooke.
As a part of the same challenge, there was starting at 11pm, Challenge the Wight Lite. This started at Carisbrooke Castle and covered the last 12 miles of the course to the finish at Yaverland. Roadrunners Nick Stilwell, Rachel Dempsey and Daves Smith & Cass embarked on this section of the journey, running over St George’s Down into Arreton, Brading and finally dropping down to Yaverland.
It was hilly and winding” said Dave “Smithers” Smith
“Running in the dark definitely slows you down” said Paul “Roots and Holes were the biggest problem”
“And fog and cows!” Julie interjects jokingly (or not as it turned out)
“We got lost on Brading Down” Paul added “They could have have done with a few more marshalls. We didn’t lose too much time really, but we did have to double back on ourselves, one poor guy ended up in St.Helens!”
Bill also got lost not once but twice, making him run an extra mile and a half. But he still cracked it out in 3.52.10 making him 1st overall.
“I did come in first, but it wasn’t really a race. I found the terrain and night conditions hard but really enjoyable as it was something different. I did get a little lost but I think everyone at some point got lost! I wouldn’t say it cost me much time it was too dark and uneven to pick up much speed”
Paul and Julie completed their quest in a respectable 5 hours and 38 mins. They bumped into Nick and Rachel at the finish area as they finished their section of the course at coincidentally a similar time. Both the Daves has already left having been the first across the line for the Lite course in a fantastic 2 hours 15 minutes.