All posts by Sarah Holmes

Combe Gibbet to Overton Race

Unseasonably warm conditions didn’t hamper Roadrunners Steve Bennett and Judy McCabe on this 16.2  mile off road race through the beautiful rolling countryside of Berkshire and Hampshire.


Unusually this race was not a loop. Runners assembled at the finish line at Overton Primary School and were then transported over to the start by the race organisers at Combe Gibbet.


Gradual steady climbs of upto 1.5 miles proved no obstacle for this formidable running partnership.
“It was hilly, but not Isle of Wight steep” said Steve


Judy is well versed in challenging off road courses, and this race proved no different. They both romped home in a very nimble 2.07.42 placing Judy in a superb ladies 3rd place and 43rd overall and 44th for Steve.


Great running guys!!!


Bournemouth Bay 10k

Husband and wife super duo Michael and Ashleigh Douglas made the journey west to compete on the coastal course.


In association with the British Heart Foundation, there were 4 distances on offer. From family orientated 1k and 5k options to chip timed 10k and 1/2 marathon.  All set with the backdrop of Bournemouth’s 7 mile stretch of golden sands and sparkling sea. Being the 35th anniversary of the race it was 1980s themed with runners encouraged to run in fancy dress to add to the party atmosphere.


But it was business heads on for our dynamic duo as they tackled the 10k route, taking Ashleigh’s older sister Danni along for her first ever competitive race.


Michael blasted his way around to finish an amazing 4th overall in a super speedy 36.05. Ashleigh continued her recent good form with a fantastic 48.15 and 23rd female.


Great running Team Douglas xxx

The Rog Run 2017

They say that the sun always shines on the righteous. And so it must be true, as glorious sunshine bathed all the runners that gave up their time on Mothers Day to celebrate the life of Isle of Wight Road Runners member Roger Walker-Reed and his massive contribution to the club.


Following one of Roger’s favourite training routes, the 7ish mile loop started at Ventnors iconic paddling pool, the runners made their way along the seafront and cliff path before embarking upon the routes only climb.


Starting at Castle Road, then Gills Cliff Road, the runners made their way up all 800 feet of ascent to the crest of the formidable St Boniface Down.


But the view was worth the effort. Our beautiful Island was absolutely resplendent in the Spring sunshine.


“OK, so imagine the steepest hill you’ve ever walked up. Now imagine running up that hill for 3 continuous miles and when you get to the water stop at the top, they serve wine spritzers and peach schnapps! Only on the Isle of Wight are these things a reality!” Said Alice Baker, an unattached runner from Southampton. It was the first time she had participated in such an event, but judging from her picture, her and fiancé David, will be back next year.


But what goes up, must come down, and come down they did. Hurtling along Cowleaze Hill, down Bonchurch Shute and onto the seafront and back along to Ventnor Haven

First across the line was Paul Cameron, in just shy of 51 minutes. His first appearance after quite a period of injury, so it’s great to see you back Paul. First Lady was Woking AC runner Bel Levene in a speedy 56.08.


However speed was not the deciding factor in dishing out the amazing bling! (Roger’s family have kindly donated some of the running legends old running trophies)
Those who can guess most accurately how long it will take them to complete the course, (nomination), are those which emerge victorious. Thus making the race wide open.


So this years winners were…. (drum roll please!)

1st man: Graham Maitland 36 sec out
2nd man: Nick Scott-Denness 55 sec out
3rd man: Keith Ruth 1 min 57 sec out

1st lady: Julie Ray, Phillipa Daley and Sally Roberts 2 sec out
2nd lady: Angela Thornton 6 sec out.
3rd lady: Clare Mucklow 22 sec out.


Entrants also made up self titled teams of 4 for the final trophy.
1st team: GB – Julie Ray, Elaine Harris, Garry Sharp & Steve Hickman.
2nd team: Bats Out of Fell – Rosie Eldridge, Nigel Eldridge, Elaine Parry & Richard Melville
3rd team: Go Go Girls – Ian Dyer, Fay Tosdevin, Nick Scott-Denness & Clare Mucklow.

Most importantly, the event is a fund raiser for 2 charities in Roger’s name. Macmillan and SSAFA (providers of lifelong support for our forces and their families)
In total the runners raised a fantastic £515.

Great day, Great causes, Great bloke.


Reading Half Marathon

Two Roadrunners made the journey to Berkshire for the Reading Half. An electric atmosphere, supporter lined streets and a heroes finish is the Madjeski Stadium prove why this is one of the most popular half marathons in the country.


Another race in the well organised Vitality series, over 10,000 runners took part. Started by former World, European and Commonwealth 400m champion Iwan Thomas, the field was awash with Team GB elites. Andy Vernon, Chris Thompson, Charlotte Purdue and Gemma Steel all going on to take the top spots in the race.


First roadrunner back was Steve Morris. Having completed this race in 2015 and 2016, it proved to be third time lucky for Steve as he took a whopping 4 minutes off his course PB to cross the line in 1.49.49.

“The course was good, lots of support and the weather was kind to us” said Jane “I would thoroughly recommend it for Roadrunners”


Jane ran the course with her daughter Louise, after Louise’s husband bought it as an anniversary present. Jane used her experience to get Louise to run it nearly 10 minutes quicker than she thought she could in 2.06.43.


Eastleigh 10k – HRRL #8

A bracing South Westerly greeted runners for the 33rd Eastleigh 10k race on Sunday. This sold out race is number 8 of 12 on the Hampshire Road Race League calendar and is known to be a fast and furious course. With 2800 runners, and nearly £4000 in the prize kitty, it’s become the largest 10k in the South.


Starting at the unthinkably early 9am at the Fleming Park Leisure Centre, the course flips a right on Shakespeare Road, loops around bringing the runners into the long and straight Woodside Avenue. A couple more little twists and turns and they head for home along Chestnut Avenue.


Some great performances by our Roadrunners, with Peter Sexton being the first to cross the line in 38.23 and 10th V50. Men’s Captain Darren Cole took a fantastic 1.56 off his PB to come home in 38.59, whilst his girlfriend Abigail Farwell also bagged herself her best time with a 48 second improvement. Trish Train won her V50 category with 39.41, whilst Sharon McNally made her first club appearance since 2011 to finish 2nd V50 in 43.50. Also gaining fantastic PBS today were Julie Dixon and James Shoulder, both of which are training for the London Marathon in a few weeks.


Superb team performances, (teams of 4 men, 3 ladies) should increase our positions in the league.


Great running team IWRR!


Bath Half Marathon

Beautiful, historic Bath. First run in 1980 the “Bath Half” as it’s more commonly known, is a sell out race every year. Part of the slick and well organised Vitality series, this half marathon is fast and flat and somewhere along the way has become the largest single charity fundraising event in the South West.


Family team, Pete and Rosie Sexton were the only Roadrunners to make the journey West to tackle the 2 lap course of this picturesque Georgian city.
Starting in Great Pulteney Street the course straddles both sides of the Avon River. It then progresses westbound over New Bridge out then back over Churchill Bridge and back to Pulteney Street for a good sprint finish down one of Europes widest boulevards.


Pete was the first one over the finish line, but it wasn’t long to wait before Rosie stormed home to a PB of over 2 minutes. Not bad considering it was her first race since November 2015! Cracking come back Rosie!


A huge 12,748 runners finished the race this year. So many so that the organisers were caught out unawares and actually ran out of medals!!!! Not a problem though for our double quick dynasty, as they picked up their well deserved bling on the finish line.

Peter Sexton – 1.28.41
Rosanna Sexton – 1.34.06


Silverstone Half Marathon

Husband and wife superteam Michael and Ashleigh Douglas were the only runners to make the journey up to the iconic Formula One track in Northamptonshire. Organised by the London Marathon, this race is seen as a well timed marker for upcoming Spring Marathons.


Home to the British Grand Prix, the half marathon is made up of 3 slightly varying laps of the famous circuit. This was Ashleigh’s first attempt at the distance and was jangling with nerves. But she channelled them brilliantly and romped home in a fantastic 1.44.45! Great debut half Ashleigh!

Husband Michael, also played a blinder and secured himself a tidy PB of over 4 minutes, finishing in 31st overall and 24th in the senior mens category.


Michael Douglas – 1.19.32
Ashleigh Douglas – 1.44.45

Go #teamdouglas


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!!