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Run the Wight

Started in 1991 by our very own Elaine Harris’ father Bill Bradley and his mate Frank Stevens. It started as a team building exercise for the staff at Moreys it has evolved into the largest sponsored walk of its kind not just in England, but in Europe! Mind blowing!! 

“Dad was hoping for 2000 walkers in the year 2000, not knowing that he sadly wouldn’t be there to see it (he died in September 1999) But we surpassed 2000 that year and look at it now! He would be blown away!” 

“I’ve done it every year apart from when I’ve been pregnant with my girls, and on those years I marshalled” Elaine tells me 

The event has raised a prodigious £4 million for patient care at The Earl Mountbatten Hospice since 1991. It takes a phenomenal amount of organisation to make this colossal event happen. Over 300 volunteers and marshalls on the day keep everyone on track, watered, timed and cheery. 

Being runners, we for some reason decide that walking some of the steepest climbs on the island all in one day is not challenge enough. Oh no, we have to ramp up the effort levels and run them instead. 

With a choice of distances and levels of difficulty on offer, it is an event accessible to most. 8000 walkers (and runners!) stretched from point to point like a slithering golden snake across our beautiful diamond island. 27.5 miles of country lanes, ups, downs, hills, golf courses and cliffs. Each participant taking every step with someone’s memory held dear in their hearts, keeping them going over the ever increasing difficulty, spurring them them on to reach that finish line on the Western point of the Island.

Starting at Britten Norton, there were 2 main groups of starters, some going at 6am to beat the crowds, the others at 8, conversely to enjoy them.

“I actually enjoy squeezing past the walkers. Most of them are so encouraging” said Sarah Holmes, completing this for the 3rd year in a row.

The first “half” of 12.5 miles takes in Culver Down, through to Mersley Down and onward over some of the only flat sections to Arreton Barns where there is always a lovely atmosphere.

Continuing on and inevitably upward onto St George’s Down, skirting along the golf course there and then back down to the infamous Nunnery Lane and finishing at Carisbrooke Castle where there is a buzzy, party vibe. Here again there were 2 groups starting at different times, one group setting off at 9am. The other group, waiting to act as support crew for the second group of full runners. 

The first group set off to enjoy the views and the fabulous company. 

The second group of full course Runners appeared at Carisbrooke to a warm reception. After a quick break to fill up their drink bottles and buoyed up by their new buddies, they continued up and up and up on to the Tennyson trail from Newport.

Continuing on the high ground along through Brightstone Forest to Mottistone Down and on to Brook Down.

It is at this point that the challenge really goes up a gear. From this 18 mile point, the hills become sharper and one after the other. On tired legs, the runners really had to start digging deeper here. 

It was here that our favourite photographer, Peter Billington, was spotted hiding in the bushes.
Once they reached Freshwater Golf Course, a little bit of relief started to set in as Freshwater Bay comes into view.

This is the last checkpoint before the finish. However with Tennyson Monument looming in the background, the last 4 miles are indeed a battle of will, grit and determination. 

Continuing ever forward, suddenly the sea is front, right and left. The Western point was beneath their feet. A sharp right turn at the battery, fired the runners downhill (at last) and the finishing line swung into view. The marathon distance is surpassed along this stretch along with the realisation that they have indeed made it, all they gotta do is put one foot in front of the other and hold on.

But hold on they did. They all crossed the golden arch at the finish and collected their medals, drinking in the feel good factor, knowing not only that they had done themselves proud, but that they had contributed to this amazing event and this amazing cause. 

I think it only fitting that the last quote should go to Elaine 

“I have so many memories of doing this with my Dad, or seeing him pop up along the way. I really, really miss him on the day, but I am stupidly proud of Walk the Wight”

Second Half

Julie Ray

Bridget Keyte

Claire Howard

Jane Andrew 

Caroline Curliss

Faye Tosdevin 

Callie Hatcher

Dave Wilcock

Nick Carter

Sarah Sharp

Jess Hill

Claire Mucklow

Sarah Ward

Ivan Ward

Steve Bennett 

 

Full Course

Stuart Backhouse 

Michael Coultrup 

Tarnia Eldridge 

George Butler 

Andy MacArthur 

Hayley Baxter

Tim Keyte

Harry Rann 

Lou Howell

Nick Dover 

Sarah Holmes

Ox Races

Set in the Rushmore Estate near Tollard Royal in Wiltshire, this glorious part of the English countryside is nestled within Cranbourne Chase, an ancient deer forest. Formerly the royal hunting grounds of King John, the last 10 years have seen some major restoration work resulting in the area now being recognised as a wildlife site of national importance.

In it’s 5th year now the Ox races have evolved. They are now largely based around the 10k circuit used for the light/dark races, runners wanting to compete at distance could either take on the 50 miler or the 12 hour challenge (run as many loops as you can) 

Two of our tenacious ultra specialists, Dan Williams and Ian Russell took not the bull, but the Ox by the horns by running just about everything on offer over the course of 2 and a half days. 

Starting on Saturday night they started their monster weekend of running by competing in the “Dark Ox” A 10k single lap of the course setting off at sunset. They both got off to a cracking start with Dan coming over the line in 12th and Ian in 13th

“We were meant to take the 1st race easy” Ian tells me “but we both got a bit carried away running 8 minute miles”

Off they went to bed using the onsite camping facilities. Getting themselves a good nights sleep for the main event in the morning- the 50 miler!

“I woke up feeling really good for the 50” said Ian 

They both got off to a brilliant start with Dan and Ian clocking the 3rd & 5th fastest laps respectively of the whole competition. 

They had to complete 8 laps to reach the 50 miles, (or 53.6 as it turned out! – good old White Star Running giving out free miles again!) As if that wasn’t hard enough, there was also 6100ft of elevation to contend with.

“I suffered bad tummy cramp between 16 and 26 miles, but it wore off thankfully. I only had 4 laps left by then so I kept going. I chose not to take any rest stops and just kept going. I’m glad I did as I reached the 50 mile mark in a pb time of about 9hrs 30mins” 

But they done it! 53.6 miles each for the day, Dan in 5th place and Ian in 6th. A few beers to celebrate and another night in camp. Not too many though as it was business again the next day. 

Dan was on the startline of the Light Ox bright and early. 

“I was going to take it steady. In fact I did….. for 1 mile….. then I got all competitive and started picking people off. I don’t know how the hell I managed to hammer it” he told me “I felt like I was flying!”

Fly? You could say that! Dan managed to work his way through the field to finish in 6th place.

Unbelievably, within an hour, he was back on the startline for the last race of the weekend. This time joined by not only Ian, but also club “national treasure” Lyn Snow. 

Last but by no means least, the half marathon was still a bit of a beast. 1700ft of elevation and classically White Star overmeasured it was no easy finish to the weekend.

“After Saturday’s race, the half didn’t feel very long at all” said Ian

Dan found the last race surprisingly emotional.

“There was a big announcement on the startline that 2 others and I were the top 3 finishers over the previous 3 races” said Dan 

Those completing all 4 races were vying for the pole position in the Ox Epic. An additional set of prizes for the top scorers all weekend. Suddenly everyone knew Dans name and were cheering him on, willing him to complete this amazing challenge and become… well… epic.

No super fast times in this last race, hardly a surprise as Ian’s total mileage for the weekend hit close to 74 miles and Dan almost 80. Temperatures were considerably higher than the previous day too, as the sun peeked through and the Mercury was hitting the early 20s.

“I don’t know how I did it” Dan says “I felt really emotional at the end of the half. I was so pleased with my positions in all the races, despite my tired legs”

His time was quick enough to give him 2nd place overall. 

“I am so chuffed to come 2nd, especially to such a quality runner. Maybe I’ll give up smoking and try and beat him next time” he quips “it just all came together nicely. I found that special place and lit that fire inside”

Lyn also enjoyed her outing over the 13.75 miles. 

“That was tough” she says.

But she smashed her way through it and was treated to a rapturous welcome across the line by the others and cheerleader and fellow club member Lucy Deville.

A good weekend had by all.

Dark Ox 

D.Williams – 49.48 12th overall

I. Russell – 50.35 13th overall

50 mile

D.Williams – 9.21.33 5th overall 

I.Russell – 10.03.03 6th overall

Light Ox 

D.Williams – 48.27 6th overall

Half Marathon

D.Williams – 2.13.51

I.Russell – 2.21.49

L.Snow – 3.50.07

Epic 

D.Williams – 13.17.33 2nd overall 

Lymington 10k

The 17th Lymington 10k was once again a resounding success. Raising money for the local RNLI, this is running for a good cause at its finest.

 Just one of our trusty roadrunners made the journey across the water to compete in the glorious May sunshine. 

Starting in Woodside Park, Steve Rumsey tackled this fast and flat course as it wound it’s way around quiet country lanes and wide gravel tracks around the area, before finally emerging out onto the sea wall and back to Woodside Park. 

He flew round in a nippy 38.37 to cross the line in 16th place and 2nd V50 bagging himself a PB in the process. Not a bad day at the office considering he’s been nursing a knee injury! 

Great running as always Steve! 

Alton 10 #HRRL9

The winding country lanes of the Hampshire countryside were the setting for the 9th race in the Hampshire Road Race League. With only 3 races left in the this years series the league placings are really hotting up.

Despite a cool and cloudy forecast, the sun definitely had his hat on by the time our team had made the drive right. up to the top of Hampshire county, into Jane Austen country, arriving at the village of Holybourne. 

Starting at Eggars School, the 10 mile course then wound itself around a circuit of undulating countryside. 

Despite the rising temperatures our indomitable roadrunners attacked the course, powering up the hills and even quicker on the down.   

In his first league race in a very long time, our Paul Cameron showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with as he smashed through the field to finish well under the hour in 3rd place and 1st in his age category. Brilliant to see him recovered from the injuries that have dogged him repeatedly over the past couple of years and back to his best. 

Next home was Ross Wilkes in Just over 65 minutes, showing what a consistent performer he is becoming. Next home was Matt Fletcher in 68 minutes, who was supposed to be taking it easy due to his double hernia! Closely followed by Nick Kenney in 69 minutes to complete the first men’s team.

First home for the ladies was Trish Train in 72 minutes and 15th lady overall and 4th in her age category. 

Next in were Kev Rann and Zoe Sherwin, both maintaining their recent good form. Nick Scott-Denness and Steve Hickman bought the teams bidding to a conclusion both making it home within 90 minutes. 

Well done gang -great running 

Paul Cameron – 58.34

Ross Wilkes – 1.05.41

Matt Fletcher – 1.08.44

Nick Kenney – 1.09.43

Trish Train – 1.12.42

Kev Rann – 1.20.00

Zoe Sherwin – 1.23.06

Nick Scott-Denness – 1.29.11

Steve Hickman – 1.29.28

Shakespeare Marathon

Our Chairman may not have broken his weather curse this weekend, but he did manage to break four hours at last.

“I’ve run 6 marathons before this one and every single one of them has been a warm sunny day.. even those in October”. 

I can vouch for that statement. Even when I talked him into his first sojourne over the distance back in october 2015 it was about 20c. 

Despite the forecast promising a cool and cloudy day, the sun was still at full blaze for the entirety of the race. 

Starting in front of Shakespeare’s old school houses in Stratford-upon-Avon, this 2 lap marathon promises much. History, scenery and more importantly a fast and mainly flat course. 

After weaving it’s way past the historic buildings of the town, the course then takes the runners out into the beautiful Warwickshire countryside before they return to the town to run it all again. 

Run concurrently with the half race it could be easy to get swept along too quickly. But Glen ran the first lap with a friend who was only running the half.

“Having a running buddy for the first half was great. It meant I kept up a good pace and got myself 7 minutes in hand for the second half. He even carried my second bottle of Lucozade for me and handed it over when we split” he tells me 

“It suddenly felt really quiet on the second lap as most people were running the half. I just kept checking my watch and my paceband so I knew I still had a few minutes to spare” 

And what a second lap it was! Glen only slowed slightly and came over the line in 3.57.45. 

“To say I am happy is an understatement” he beams on Facebook that afternoon.  

He has been saying he will retire from marathon running when he broke the 4 hour mark……. 

We’ll see……..

 

Milton Keynes Rocket 5k

The promise of a pb course lured our “oldest club junior” upto the streets of Milton Keynes to rocket his way down this point to point 5k course.Starting at  Midsummer Boulevard the flying fledgling lined up alongside almost 2000 others to literally rocket his way through the streets of Milton Keynes toward the finish at the Stadium MK.

True to form our young rapido shot out from the startline to power his way through the town and past the hospital to cross the line in the stadium in an impressive 17 minutes and 27 seconds, making him an impressive 18th overall and 3rd U20.

Great running Harry

Newchurch Nine

A bright and sunny morning greeted runners of all ages and abilities as they warmed up to compete at the Newchurch Primary School’s fun run. 

Parents and grandparents, children and grandchildren, all lined up to help raise money for a new school minibus. The brainchild of the schools PE teacher Adam Tuck, the event is designed to be accessible to all.

“We have 425 sign ups this year” he says “way more than we ever envisaged in 2015 when we started”

Entrants could choose either 9k, 4.5k or 900m in distance to earn their bespoke bamboo bling at the finishline.

Plenty of roadrunners gave up their Sunday mornings to support the event, and were duly rewarded. With Laura Holme coming 1st and Lizzie Pilcher 3rd in the 4.5k race, Simon Pilcher 3rd in the men’s 9k race and Holly Newton and Jodie Wilmott 1st and 2nd respectively in the ladies 9k.

Sounds like it was great fun all round. Well done gang for supporting another local event and another local cause. 

Three Forts Half Marathon

Having been the first man home in last year’s marathon, our eminence of elevation, Stuart Backhouse was back this year to tackle the half. 

Billed as “The Tough One” this is no walk in the park. Over 1555ft of ascent faced Stu over the 13.1 miles of rough tracks peppered with tricky stiles.

Starting at the Recreational Ground in Hill Barn Lane Worthing, a 2 mile uphill start took Stu and the 332 other competitors up to the first of the 3 forts, Cissbury Ring, an Iron Age Hill Fort with a rich history. 

It is here that the course splits from the marathon and takes a loop toward the Steyning Bowl and along the South Downs Way to the 2nd fort of Chanctonbury Ring. 

This hill top vantage point is steeped in mystery. Legend has it that the devil can be summoned here by running around the ring backwards 6 times! No time for that on Sunday though, as Stuart powered his way past the landmark and onward toward Findon before returning back to the Cissbury Ring and the relief of running 2 miles of descent back to Hill Barn Lane and the finish in a very tidy 1.38.50.

“I am pleased with that” he tells me later in the day “I’ve still got London in my legs. It was very hot, my heart rate was going mad! But I managed some good mile splits. That last hill was a killer though” 

And pleased he should be, that cracking time bagged him 6th place overall – Well done Stu! 

Bad Cow Frolic

Nestled between Wareham, Corfe Castle and the Purbecks is Burnbake Campsite. A secluded haven adjoining the beautiful area of Rempstone Heath and the host for a weekend of racing. 

With a marathon, a half and a 12 hour Frolic on offer, organisers White Star Running promise a flattish course. Flat? White Star? Yes you did hear those 2 phrases in the same sentence! Normally unmerciful in their elevation, White Star races are not for the faint hearted. Not the case here though, as planate woodland track, bridle paths and open fields constituted the course. 

Distance was the name of the game for 2 Roadrunners as they endeavoured to run further than they ever had before, to test themselves, to see just how far they could go in the 12 hour Frolic event. 

For those not familiar with the term Frolic… it’s an event run over a set period of time and around a lapped course. Participants run as many or as few laps over the timeframe as they can or indeed want to. 

Daring duo Tarnia Eldridge and George Butler lined up for the freezing early 7.30am start, not really knowing how many miles lay ahead of them.

“I had cramp before I even started” said George

Not the best start, especially as George has been plagued by this condition. But plenty of electrolyte and salt tablets solved the problem.

“I managed to keep it at bay for the entire race!” 

Good news George! And off they went….taking each 4.4 mile lap at a time

“Lap 1 was freezing!” Said Tarnia “I had to run it by lap and not look at the miles clocking up on my watch or I would have panicked!”

“The laps actually went by really quickly” said George

“We just messed about to take our mind off our tiredness… we laughed all the way round” said T

6 laps went by… marathon distance…. done! 

Our plucky pair didn’t stop there. They embarked into unknown territory as the 7th and 8th laps ticked by. 

“I didn’t want to get to the stage where we were walking the laps. So at the end of the 8th lap (that’s a mere 35 miles peeps!), we decided we’d do one more and call it a day. That would take us to 40 miles. It was the hardest 4 and a half miles I’ve ever run. But the Marshalls were amazing and really encouraged us” said Tarnia

“We really had to work together to get each other to the finish. I can honestly say I’ve never felt so proud” said George 

And proud they should be! Two brand new ultra runners emerged victorious across the line.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m very proud and it was an experience that I’ll never forget” said Tarnia

Despite finishing their quest with 4 hours to spare, our tenacious twosome still finished in 11th and 12th place overall and both took 1st in their age categories.

Great running guys

T.Eldridge – 7.56.36

G.Butler – 7.56.38 

The 38th London Marathon

Some would say it’s the most famous marathon in the world. It’s 26 miles and 385 yards, the same as any other. But there is something unquantifiable that sets this one apart. A magic, a feeling, an emotion that has been eloquently hashtagged by them media types this year as the #spiritoflondon.

Maybe it has something to do with the history, the fact we have all watched it on the telly box as kids, that is record breaking, heart wrenching, full of smiles, tears and every emotion inbetween, a carnival of human endurance, of ordinary people doing an
extraordinary thing, turning I can’t into I can, the weak becoming heroes, a display of the true #spiritoflondon

Started in 1981 by Olympic champion Chris Brasher and John Disley when 6255 runners crossed the startline, the event has grown and grown. A record 386,050 people applied what’s left of the 41 000 places this year once the good for age, club and charity places are given. Maybe that’s part of the magic. It’s Willy Wonka’s Golden ticket, the prize that any runner would give their high teeth for.

This year a record 7 IWRR gained their places in the public ballot, unfortunately most of them had to defer through niggles and injuries, leaving only Karen Phillips, Zoe Sherwin and Clare Adams left on the startline on race day. Unusually only 2 club members took a charity places. Alison Batchelor ran for Get Kidz Going and Garry Sharp running for Sense (his wife Sarah got him the place as a surprise 50th birthday present!) Dean Pike and Glen Jones won their places at the annual Christmas Awards Party via a game of musical chairs, whilst all our other runners gained their places via the Good For Age qualification process, showing what an amazing year of running the Roadrunners have had.

The runners were visibly nervous but excited as they made their way to Blackheath for the start. A few tears were shed as they kissed goodbye to their loved ones and entered the runners only enclosure.

10 am on the dot came and they were off. Started by none other than Her Majesty The Queen via a video link from Windsor Castle.

In true Roadrunners style there was a huge support crew sent up to cheer, scream and make as much noise as possible, and not just at our Roadrunners either
”You know exactly what runners need to hear from the crowd, because you’ve run a marathon” said Ladies Captain Julie Ray. “It can really spur on tired legs in the final stages”

After leaving mile 6 the support crew split to go to miles 22, 23 and 25 to catch their loved ones and club mates towards the end of the race when a boost from the sidelines is vital.
“It’s so emotional waiting for all your friends to come past you safe and sound” said Sarah Holmes “especially this year with the hot weather, it was such a relief to see them one by one and see that they were smiling still”

First across the line was Speedster Michael Douglas in a lightning PB of just over 2hrs and 55 mins. In just his 2nd marathon, I’m sure there is more to come from this amazing young man. 

Bill Goozee was next to make his way down The Mall as he nipped just under 3 hours with Stuart Backhouse not quite 15 minutes later.

“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done” Stuart said afterwards “The heat was a killer”

Punk Rock king Dean Pike was the next to make his way down the finishing straight outside Buckingham Palace. His trade mark Mohican hair was looking a bit worse for wear, as he ran his socks off to get himself a 4 minute PB.

Richard Harvey, Pete Sexton and Nick Kenney all came in within 5 minutes of each other to collect their medals. 

The 1st of the girls was next in as Zoe Sherwin romped home in under 4 hours. A remarkable achievement for her debut at the distance.

“I ran that with everything I had. I was so hoping to go under 4 hours but I didn’t quite believe that it could happen given the conditions. But it did, I am so happy I could burst!”

Chairman Glen Jones got his medal next in yet another PB for him.

“That’s the best I’ve ever felt at the end of a marathon. I even managed to sprint down The Mall. The support on the way was fantastic, especially at Tower Bridge. It was a real OMG! moment that I’ll never forget!”

It was Julie Dixon and Garry Sharp though who both started out brilliantly but struggled in the latter stages of the race. Julie’s foot injury reared it’s ugly head and Garry suffered in the heat. Somehow despite there being 40000 other runners they happened to find each other in the last half a mile of the race. They stuck together and pulled each other through the never ending final furlong in the true #spiritoflondon

“I was so pleased to see Garry” said Julie “I had been walk/running for miles in tears. It was an amazing feeling to cross the finishline with a friend after such a hard battle”

Karen was next to see the finish closely followed by Nicky Thompson.

“I loved the crowds and especially seeing the Roadrunners on route, it really kept me going” said Karen

A very smiley Gill Bushell collected her medal next, with Alison Batchelor running with her brother soon after. Clare Adams bought the teams bidding to a close. Brilliant to see her back after a period away from running, she was also lucky enough to get a place in the ballot for the New York Marathon at the end of the year…. can’t wait to see how you get on there Clare.

So that’s it for another year. The roads are back open, the empty bottles swept away, the mile markers packed down and our capital city is back to normal again. Heroes made, stories to tell, memories forever. Team London you ran your club proud.

Same time, same place next year?…. oh go on then!

BALLOT OPENS MONDAY!!!! 

M.Douglas- 2.55.37

B.Goozee- 2.59.02

S.Backhouse- 3.15.40

D.Pike- 3.28.17

R.Harvey- 3.29.25

P.Sexton- 3.31.25

N.Kenney- 3.34.02

Z.Sherwin- 3.57.30

G.Jones- 4.03.00

J.Dixon- 4.12.49

G.Sharp- 4.13.06

K.Phillips- 4.42.12

N.Thompson- 4.45.04

G.Bushell- 5.15.33

A.Batchelor- 5.17.29

C.Adams-5.42.09