All posts by Sarah Holmes

Donkey Sanctuary 5k

Despite the rest of the day’s events being cancelled due to the weather conditions, the 5k race to the Obelisk went ahead. Organised by our very own Michael Coultrup, this fundraiser was meant to be part of the sanctuary’s “Day at the Races” family fun day, but a bit of rain is not enough to put off our hardy runners and the rest of the infamous Godshill Massive as nearly a hundred of them turned up in the rain to run up this short but steep course. 

Over stiles, through steams and crossing bridges they finally started the upward journey to the Worsley Obelisk on Stenbury Down. Originally erected in 1774, this memorial is a favourite haunt of the running community, although normally taking an easier path. Michael had secured passage through private land to form a more direct and steeper climb upto the monument. 

This didn’t detract from the fun and frolics along the way.

Contentiously Harry Rann was the first IWRR back to the Donkey Sanctuary after taking the wrong route back. Stu Backhouse was next, having taken the correct route upon his return. Dan Williams was next closely followed by Ian Russell. Tim Howell was next followed by Dallas Price and the 1st place Dog Tilly.

In the ladies race, Hayley Baxter reigned supreme, maintaining her continued run of success. Jodie Wilmott was 2nd lady home along with 2nd dog Schnu. Next IWRRs home were Sarah Holmes in 7th and Lou Howell in 11th, Sarah Ward in 13th and Charlotte Williams in 14th. 

Everyone returned to the Sanctuary for a well earned cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake and of course the presentation of the bespoke “golden carrot” trophies.

The event raised a fantastic £711 for the charity…. that should keep the donkeys in carrots for a while.

Yarmouth Carnival Funrun

A flat 4 mile fundraiser was a runaway success for team IWRR. 

Run as a fundraiser for the Yarmouth Carnival Association, the scenic course straddles the River Yar, firstly taking the cycle path before crossing near Afton and returning via the fields and footpaths near Norton before returning to Yarmouth. 

Bill Goozee was the first IWRR across in finishline in 3rd overall with Pete Wilmott not too far behind him accompanied by Schnu retaining his champion dog title from the previous 2 years. 

In the ladies race, it was a clean sweep for team IWRR with Zoe Elliot clinching the ladies title, with Alison Butcher in 2nd place and Julie Salter in 3rd.

Also a big well done to Sally Trotman in 4th place and Steve Hickman finishing alongside her.

Milton Keynes Track 5000m

An afternoon and evening full of 5000m races at Stantonbury track, the home of Marshall Milton Keynes AC promised much. A competitive field in each race, graded according to ability, run under UK Athletics Rules with a photo finish, the chances of running a PB were good. 

Anyone with a validated time of under 22 minutes within the past 18 months could enter, a prerequisite that our speed demon Michael Douglas had no trouble satisfying.

The rain held off nicely and perfect conditions prevailed as Mike took to the track for his late afternoon race. He started with intent, determined to make the most of the occasion and go for a cheeky PB.

His first mile clocked the 2nd fastest he’s ever run, with the second and third miles only a second slower. A beautifully consistent pace with a flourish in the last 100m as Mike had to battle hard in the final stages to take 4th place. The battle was truly worth it though as the super speedster took a massive 26 seconds off his PB to finish in 16.56.

One happy runner! Well done Michael!

Hart 4

Our super speedster Ross Wilkes was back out on the startlines this weekend, but he wasn’t alone. He, along with 3 friends, was part of a mixed team to  partake in the Hart 4 relay.

4 hours to complete as many laps of a 4km course in teams of 4… get the theme here? 

Based on MoD land at Minley Manor near Fleet, this family orientated fun day has a festival feel with face painting, balloon modelling and music. 

10.30 came and Ross took the teams baton first around the undulating loop through woodland, gravel paths and grassland.

“The course was a lot harder than we thought. I think we all underestimated it” Ross says 

But that didn’t stop rocket Ross from giving it his usual 100%. He managed to clock the second fastest lap of the whole competition in a cracking 14.22

“I can normally find a pace and stick to it in races but it was like doing a challenging parkrun. It was really high intensity, fast pace on a really difficult course” 

The rain did nothing to aid Ross and his team as they completed loop after loop of the course. Instead of having a cooling effect, it created high humidity in the large areas of woodland. 

Ross’s team ran well completing 14 laps between them, 5 of them attributed to Ross. This gave the team 13th place in the mixed category. 

Bembridge Trail 5

Who’d have thought that after the longest, hottest heatwave in 20 years, that this year Runners would wake up to gale force winds and torrential rain.

That didn’t deter some of our members as they forwent their wellies in favour of their running shoes to show their support for this well organised local event, part of Bembridge Youth and Community Centre’s Festival of Sport.

Raising money for the aforementioned Youth and Community Centre, a fantastic turn out of club members stood on the startline to support this run despite the weather.

5 miles through the countryside around the surrounding area, the course winds its way around Bembridge Down, continuing on to Bembridge Farm and finally along the cliff path at Whitecliff Bay were runners were treated to some blasts of wind from across the Channel. 

As if the weather wasn’t challenge enough, the course was not an easy one. Sprinkled generously with hills, gates, steps and stiles, it was quite a challenge.

It proved no obstacle for our soggy speedsters as they blasted around the course. Ross Wilkes was the first IWRR across the line in a fantastic 3rd place, with Stu Backhouse not too far behind in 6th to claim the top spot in the V40 category. Darren Dollery ran a great race to finish 3rd V50. A special mention goes to Michael Coultrup for running the race despite having participated in a midnight marathon less than 12 hours earlier.

Ross Wilkes – 33.14

Stuart Backhouse – 34.14

Darren Dollery – 39.46

James Shoulder – 43.59

Michael Coultrup – 45.04

Claire Harvey – 48.13

Laura Holme – 50.45

Julie Salter – 52.35

Dave Wilcock – 52.47

Sally Trotman – 52.52

David Shoulder – 53.10

Ian Williams – 53.42

Alison Butcher – 57.09

Sue Hunter – 57.28

Lucy Deville – 1.03.21

Lyn Snow – 1.13.47

Midnight Marathon

Unfinished business was the order of the day as Ian Russell returned to the Queen Elizabeth Park in Petersfield for the Midnight Marathon. Who could forget last year’s memorable outing with Ian getting massively lost and having to get a taxi back to the finish line.

Alongside best running buddies Dan Williams and Michael Coultrup, Ian made the journey across the water to revisit this race.

Starting at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, this out and back follows the South Downs Way. The runners had to follow the existing public signs for the ancient trail, easy to do in daylight, but tricky in darkness.

The 9pm start gave the troublesome triplets half an hour of daylight 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 tenacious trio on to the the chalky climbs on the South Downs Way, nearly 4000ft of ascent before them. 

“The conditions were perfect” Michael tells me “It really set us up for a good run”

They all started off well, making the most of the flatter section before beginning the ascent on to the ancient ridges. 

“I took a gamble and pushed on from the start” said Dan 

He found himself up in 3rd place where he stayed for the majority of the race.

Heading toward Buriton, Ditcham and South Harting, they reached the halfway turning point at Cocking for the return on this out and back. It was here that Michael took a tumble. But he dusted himself off and continued on his way.

He wasn’t the only one to lose his footing as Dan also managed to fall at around the 18 mile mark tweaking his hip. But that turned out to be the last of his worries as an attack of runners belly struck 

“I came over all hot and queezy” Dan tells me “I couldn’t regain my pace after that” 

He finished a cracking 9th overall in 3.54.51, giving him 3rd V40. Michael was next across the finish line in 4.11.26 and 21st place and 3rd V50

“I ran without my watch” said Mick “I wanted to run to feel which made for a really pleasant night. The company of my 2 fellow marathon goons made for a brilliant vibe” 

Not far behind him was Ian in 4.18.59 and 33rd overall. 

“I still had Snowdon in my legs which slowed me down near the end, but I didn’t get lost this time so I’m happy” 

The triumphant three did so well they managed to bag the second place team position. 

St.Georges 10

The fourth running of our only official club race was certainly record breaking. It wasn’t the course records that were shattered this time it was the thermometers! A sweat inducing 32c was melting the Mercury as the brave, the fearless and the determined donned their running shoes on Sunday morning to take on this beastly dragon of a course. 

145 runners lined up under the golden arch at St. George’s School, baking hot already, 10 miles of testing undulation, interspersed with some nasty inclines laying ahead of them. 

11am and they were off! Beginning as they were to go on, with the rather cheeky uphill start into Watergate Road before they embarking upon the first nasty climb in the shape of Nunnery Lane. 

Carisbrooke Castle greeted them at the top of the hill as they enjoyed a little flatter section as they continued out toward Gatcombe and the welcome sight of the water station at Whitecroft Park.

The array of different colours on the course was fantastic, with runners coming from different Island clubs and organisations, unattached lone wolves and plenty of vests from clubs over the water in En-ger-land too.

Temperatures were rising with every second that passed and the challenge was getting harder and harder, but that didnt deter the runners as the real business began as they arrived in an extremely 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 hill had been conquered by all. Each one of the runners slaying their own dragon as they reached the summit. The drinks 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 and the ridiculous temperature had started to take its toll. But they all soldiered on, battling their way through to the end.

This year’s winner was David Baker from Southampton AC, just dipping under the hour in 59.56 with Ben Pitman of Lordshill in 2nd. Our very own Cole Pearce ran a phenomenal race to repeat his 3rd place performance from last year to finish in 1.04.01. 

Simon Pilcher also ran a blinder, to finish in 5th place in just under 65 minutes. A flurry of crossed the finish line Michael Douglas was next over the line for the warriors in white in 8th place, Stu Backhouse in 9th to take 1st V40 and Steve Rumsey in 10th also bagging himself the top spot in his V50 category. 

It wasn’t long before the next band of brothers returned as Simon Randall took 13th place and 2nd V40, Pete Sexton was 14th and 2nd V50 and Richard Harvey 15th to take 3rd V40.

In the ladies race it was a win for Ryde Harriers Wonder Woman Charlie Metcalfe, blasting around in 68 minutes. In 2nd place was our super trooper Trish Train that made it over that line in a fantastic 76 minutes, giving her 1st place V45 also. Ex club member and daughter of Peter, Rosie Sexton made a fantastic return to racing to finish 3rd overall.

Jodie Wilmott continued her return to form with a fabulous 4th place, giving her 2nd V35. Zoe Sherwin and Sarah Ward completed the ladies team with a joint time of just over 90 minutes. 

In they came one by one and two by two, some using each other as a support system to drag each other through this gruelling race. All hot, all exhausted but all triumphant. 

“That my first run as an official IOWRR” said new member Simon Paul “I hated and loved it in equal measure!!!” 

A special mention goes to Fay Tosdevin and Sue Hunter for finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively in their V55 category. Well done ladies.

All that was left to do was present the hard earnt trophies, munch on all the homemade cake and swear never again…… well until next year….

Cole Pearce- 1.04.01

Simon Pilcher- 1.04.59

Michael Douglas- 1.06.04

Stuart Backhouse- 1.06.20

Steve Rumsey- 1.08.13

Simon Randall-1.09.57

Pete Sexton- 1.10.37

Richard Harvey- 1.11.07

Simon Riley- 1.14.58

Trish Train- 1.16.09

Harry Rann- 1.16.47

Steve Bennett- 1.20.08

Richard Bezer- 1.20.11

Jodie Wilmott- 1.20.53

Darren Dollery- 1.22.05

Tim Keyte- 1.23.04

Kev Rann- 1.23.11

Brian Canning- 1.23.42

Dave Cass- 1.24.03

Zoe Sherwin- 1.30.04

Sarah Ward- 1.30.04

Simon Paul- 1.30.08

Julie Dixon- 1.31.27

Giorgio Marinelli- 1.31.28

James Shoulder- 1.33.06

Lisa Upstell- 1.37.16

Peter Dixon- 1.38.00

Julia Parker- 1.41.35

Matthew Wade- 1.43.27

Julie Rasmussen- 1.45.46

Bianca Johnston- 1.46.20

Fay Tosdevin- 1.49.09

Sue Hunter- 1.54.31

Nick Carter- 1.55.21

Lyn Snow- 2.32.12

As always, a massive thank you to every single person that’s helped behind the scenes to make this race happen.

Full results are available here

Particular thanks to Peter Billington and Dave Samuel or their wonderful photography

Shoram Lunar-tic Marathon

Under the cover of darkness, two sneaky roadrunners slipped away in secret to compete in this nocturnal event. 

Starting at the Sea Scout Hut in Shoreham, the 8 mile looped course adds an extra mile and a smidge before straddling the River Adur, following the riverbank through Coombes, Boltolphs and upto Bamber where our determined duo crossed the water and headed back south along the opposite bank to return to Shoreham.

“We arrived at race hq at 7.30 for the 8pm start when Julie realised she’d left her running shoes back at the hotel in Brighton! We dashed back, got them and somehow arrived back at start with 9 minutes to spare and in time for the race briefing” Paul tells me 

Finally, after a last minute dash for the loo, the temarerious two finally set off on their journey up and down the riverside.

“We picked up a lovely lady from Victory AC during 2nd lap who asked if she could stick with us. Unfortunately our torch batteries started dying during lap 3 so that slowed us down a lot as the ground was quite uneven and we couldn’t see where we were going”

The extra mile that was added at the beginning of the race was also added at the end to make up the distance. However, this proved the hardest mile for the pair as they, along with their fading illuminations, managed to lose their way… 

“We got lost in last mile to the finish and ended up doing 28 miles. It was a great run though, we both really enjoyed it despite neither of us training” 

For Julie it was her 10th outing over the distance, with Paul just behind having now notched up 9. Despite getting lost, they still crossed the line in 5 hours and 14 minutes. 

Snowdonia Trail Marathon

Billed as a bit of a toughie, this marathon certainly lives upto expectation. No fewer than 1685m of ascent (thats 5528 ft in old money) is shoehorned into this epic race. St. Boniface Down is only (only!) 241m as a bit of a comparison for you. 

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! 

It was a bucket lister for our Ian Russell, who, along with his very own cheer squad, packed up the car and made the journey to deepest Wales to get this one ticked off.

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 ascent was no obstacle for Ian though as he started brilliantly, keeping a good pace. 

“The first climb was 1,500ft. I ran the whole lot. I thought I can’t start walking straight away! I felt good so I kept running and the views were unreal. I had the biggest grin on my face!“ he tells me

A steep descent followed toward the woodland area at Beddgelert where the course levels out for a bit of relief, or so he thought.

“It was hard going underfoot but I kept it steady. I didn’t want to push myself between 6 and 16 as I knew the challenge was the last 10 miles”

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 rocket Russell at the Pyg Pass. 18 miles behind him by now 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! 

“Going up Snowdon via the Pyg track was unbelievable. It was hard to the point I was climbing with my hands. It was cold at the top but the views were unbelievable. I will never forget them” 

1085m above sea level, (that’s 3559ft) at the summit. But what goes up must come down and Ian embarked on the tricky and technical 5 mile descent.

“I felt good on the way down taking people with a smile on my face and just looking at the mountains”

Ian absolutely smashed it, arriving back in Llanberis to come over the line in 5.34.08, his wife and son there to cheer their hero in. 

Cider Frolic

What could be more pleasant on a sunny July day than a little trot around a Cider Farm in deepest Dorset? Sounds idyllic right? However the reality was tinderbox dry, open fields, unrelenting 30c sunshine and not a single dapple of shade to be seen. Not so idyllic….

However, it didn’t stop team IWRR giving their usual 100% effort. The awesome  eight all rocked up on Friday to set up camp and prepare for the early 8am start the next day.

Set in the grounds of Cranbourne Chase Cider near Wimbourne, this is White Star Running’s most popular Frolic race. What is a Frolic I hear you cry? Well a Frolic is an endurance (or not, depending on how you want to play it) event. A short course that entrants can run, walk or jog as many or few times as they wish over a set period of time. For this particular Frolic, it was a course of 3.9 miles to be run again and again over and over for 12 hours…. it was just unfortunate for our trusty team that it was on possibly on the hottest day, of the hottest summer for nearly 20 years!

8am came and they all set off. Different goals, different game plans, different day at the office for every single one of them. Julie Salter and Paul Butcher were the only two roadrunners to set off as a relay team, Paul taking on the first lap. The other 6 all set off as solo runners. Darren Dollery and Sean Williams both aiming to complete 7 laps of the course to complete their first marathons. 

Hot already despite the early hour, it became really obvious, really quickly that this not going to be a walk in the park. Not hilly by any stretch of the imagination, but not flat either, the undulating loop was tough underfoot. Rutty and rock hard in places, scratchy thigh high crops and matted thick dry grass to negotiate.

Everyone set out well. Dan went to the front from the start, clocking the 4th fastest lap by any competitor in the whole race, whilst the others tried to pace themselves accordingly. 

Halfway on each lap was the welcome sight of the infamous Lovestation or as it was renamed for this event Fernando’s Disco. Manned by some moustachioed macho men in some rather familiar looking vests, it was complete with blaring disco tunes, sangria, cider and the usual array of coke, water and munchies. 

The cool sponge station also located there was an essential part of surviving the searing heat as morning turned into midday and midday turned into scorchio o’clock. 

On the other side of the course, team IWRR had set up their own private aid station on the course to provide a safe haven to rest in the shade and hydrate after making the most of the ice cold run through shower.

Paul and Julie ran alternate laps exchanging their squeaky baton each time and enjoying watching everyone else come through. 

Darren Dollery and Sean Williams were aiming for 7 laps of the course to give them their first marathons each. They both ran brilliantly for the first 20 miles, rarely stopping and keeping up a good pace. However the heat started to take its toll, as they both considered giving up after 5 laps.

“I was done” said Darren “I really wanted to do it all in one go but I was just so hot I felt I couldn’t go on. I got a talking to from Holmsie in our aid station. She said take a break … you’ve got all day to do 2 more laps… whatever you do DO NOT QUIT! You’ll kick yourself later. I did as she said, took a little break then I cracked on and got my Marathon after all, I am so pleased”

Similar story for Sean, he also took a break before completing his marathon distance, but unlike Darren he didn’t hand his chip in… he hopped on the free bus down the pub to watch the England match.

The others were still out there. Dan was in the lead lapping the field in his seemingly effortless style, putting in the graft lap after lap. Andy, Michael and Sarah were still chugging out the miles as they also passed their marathon distances but carried on into ultra territory.

“I’ve never run any further than 27 miles before, so I had no idea what I could do” said Sarah “I had a figure in my head that I wanted to reach, but had no idea if I was physically capable” said Sarah

Distance supremo Michael suffered cramp from 16 miles onward.

“I was going to quit after I’d run the marathon distance, it was agony!”

But after a little rest he decided to run a few laps with his little protégée Holmes. 

“I knew this would be the hardest couple of laps for her. She hadn’t eaten anything other than gels so I knew she might need a bit of support”

Onward they all went, ticking off the laps, Andy calling it a day after 10 circuits and a whopping 37.5 miles. Michael had gotten a second wind, Holmsie hanging on in there.

Sean had reappeared on the course, refreshed after England’s triumph over Sweden, blasting his way around to complete another 2 laps giving him more than he came for, 33.5 miles his first Ultra! Paul and Julie managed a fantastic 20 miles each. Phenomenal considering they both hadn’t run for weeks due to Julie’s broken hand and Paul working away.

Dan ran his 15th lap and retired 

“I had a wobble at the Lovestation. I knew no one would be able to catch me in the time remaining so I decided that I would make this my last one”

He’d done it again! He’d won! With an hour and a half to spare, he’d proved his class as an endurance magnate despite the extreme conditions. 56 miles behind him.

That left just Mick and Sarah out there. The heat was finally starting to wane as the final hour approached. Sarah had reached her goal of 40 miles but after checking the leaderboard after her 11th lap it emerged that she may or may not be in 3rd (internet updates were slow in the fields of Dorset). Despite having already been on the course for 11 hours and 45 minutes, she made the decision to go out and do 1 more lap to try to ensure that she got on the leaderboard. Michael went out with her.

“I never entered the event expecting to place at all, but as soon as I realised that it might happen I was determined to push until the end and give it everything I could. I am so greatful to Mick for helping me through the tough miles”

And boy was it worth it! That last lap put her not just third but elevated her into 2nd place lady and a staggering 5th overall and put Michael into 3rd place Male and 4th overall. A 1,2,3 for the roadrunners. A masterclass in the power of the mind, of determination and of the pure stubbornness to not relent. 

Veni, Vidi, Vici. Time for a cider.