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Southampton Races

In it’s 4th year of running, the Southampton races are growing in success year on year. A south coast alternative to London’s famous marathon, this race has become very popular, very quickly. With a 10k and a half marathon in addition to the full course on offer, the event is accessible to all ages and all abilities. 

Taking in some of the landmarks of the city, the courses take in Bargate, the QE2 Anchor, St Mary’s Stadium and of course the Itchen Bridge, there were some excited Roadrunners on the startline.

For the marathon runners 2 laps of the half marathon course faced the 1500 hopefuls as they lined up for the 9am kick off. Everyone of them hoping that the clouds would remain as forecast to sheild them from the sun in Palmerston Park. 10 plucky Roadrunners took on the challenge, 2 of those tackling the distance for the very first time.

Unfortunately the promised cooler air didn’t materialise and the sky got bluer and bluer making the temperatures rise to an unseasonably warm 20c. 

Steve Bennett was the first roadrunner across the line to comfortably gain himself a good for age place and a fantastic 3rd place in his age category. 

“That’s all I wanted!” He tells me later in the day “That gets me into the London Marathon next year, I am so pleased”

Next to complete the 26.2 mile journey was Matt Fletcher in 3hrs 52 mins a remarkable achievement considering his recent double hernia diagnosis. Not far behind him was Marathon rookie Richard Bezer who ran a blinding debut to finish a minute later. 

“I was so tired when I’d finished I could hardly open my eyes!”

Kev Rann was over the line next, followed by the first of the ladies Lou Howell, both a little slower than they’d hoped as the sunshine took its toll.

“Sun, heat, hills…. that was tough!!” the pocket rocket Howell says on Facebook.

The weather didn’t affect everyone however as Steve Horsey smashed it out the park with a 13 minute PB. Next home was Judy McCabe who battled a recurring back injury from 8 miles onwards to still finish in 4 and a half hours. Our other debutant Nick Dover, (Lou Howells brother) was the next to complete the 26.2 mile challenge, showing real grit and determination to finish the job in under 5 hours. Last but by no means least was Nick Scott-Denness to close the show for the Roadrunners team.


Steve Bennett- 3.41.02

Matt Fletcher- 3.52.51

Richard Bezer- 3.53.51 

Kevin Rann- 4.20.49

Lou Dover- 4.26.00

Steve Horsey- 4.26.16

Judy McCabe- 4.30.16

Nick Dover-4.53.08 

Nick Scott-Denness- 5.04.02

The 1/2 marathon started an hour later, again from Palmerston Park. A fantastic turn out of 4700 lined up to tackle the single lap race, 12 of them Roadrunners. The course was just the 1 lap, but the sun was creeping ever higher in the sky and the temperature rising.

Ivan Ward was the first Roadrunner home being the only club member to make it home in under 2 hours. It was hard graft as they made their way around the 13 mile course, but they all made it safely round and collected their medals at the finish.

Half Marathon

Ivan Ward- 1.54.37

Keith Ruth- 2.03.22

Sue Meredith – 2.13.00

Dave Wilcock – 2.14.56

Alison Butcher – 2.19.13

Nick Carter – 2.22.39

Bridget Keyte – 2.30.16

Callie Hatcher – 2.33.47

Sam Grist – 2.35.43

Suzannah Lovett – 2.41.29

Debbie Radestock – 2.41.30

Jo Randall – 2.51.00

Lyn Snow – 3.09.43


10.30am saw the last race of the day get underway. The 10k saw 1600 runners participate. Only 2 Roadrunners chose the shorter distance. Dave Cass after a long period of injury, tackled his first race for a while. He came into the finish at Guildhall Square in the respectable time of under 50 mins whilst Sarah Ward crossed the line less than 5 minutes later.

Dave Cass – 49.45

Sarah Ward – 53.27

Pewsey Downsaround

Wiltshire Long Distance Walkers Association are the hosts for this self navigated tour of the Vale of Pewsey and the Marlborough Downs. 

Intrepid ultra Runner Dan Williams was the only club member taking on the challenge, having competed at this for the last 2 years. From the 4 distances on offer, Dan selected the marathon route (26.8 miles to be more exact). Armed with a sheet of directions, he set off along the footpaths and bridleways to find all 3 checkpoints and taking in some historic sights, such as the Avebury Stone Circle, The Sanctuary and a Windmill Hill along the way. 

“I was using this race as a part of my ultra training. I’ve been on holiday here all week clocking up my first 100 mile week”

It may have been a training run for our Dan but it was 3100 feet of ascent, sprinkled in and around some pretty muddy tracks.

“After 2 miles it was clear that I was going to be leading the field so I went ahead. I ran every hill including the Giants Grave (320 feet worth). I ran the last hill at 20 miles and still felt good so I went for it at the end”

And what an effort it was! Our Dan crossed the line in 1st place in 3 hours and 47 minutes. One could say it was a comfortable win as the 2nd place runner arrived over an hour later!

Fantastic running Dan.

Frenchay 10k

First run in 1980, this little jaunt around the Bristol countryside is one of the oldest 10k races in the UK.

Starting at UWE campus, BlackBerry Hill, this scenic but undulating course winds its way around the Frenchay area visiting the Bridge, the Common and the Park before returning to the UWE.

Our studious Immanuel Skeet, donned his Roadrunners vest to take on the course whilst studying in the city.

“Hopefully that was the first race of many” he says on Facebook later in the evening  “All in all it was very nice, even with those naughty hills”

Immanuel ran brilliantly to romp home in a respectable 45.57.

Boston Half Marathon

Run on the same day as the more famous US marathon the Boston races have a very appealing factor… they are the flattest marathon and half marathon courses in the country… FACT.

This year is only the 3rd running of these events, but given the lack of elevation, the entry for them is set to grow and grow.

It was Lyn Snow that made the journey northbound to Lincolnshire. 170 miles away on the East Coast, halfway between Kings Lynn and Skegness, lies the port of Boston and the home of this new race.

Starting at the towns Market area the course meanders to Freistin and then Butterwick. It is here that the course splits as the marathoners head northerly along The Wash toward Wrangle, but our Lyn continued her journey out to RSPB reserve near the coast before returning to the finish at Boston College.

“That was a lovely flat run” Lyn tells us all on Facebook “Bring on Southampton Half!”

She finished in 3.09.26 – well done Lyn

Brighton Marathon

The backdrop of glistening sea, it’s bustling town and its reputation as the 2nd fastest course in the country is enough to draw over 12000 Runners to the Seaside resort of Brighton to take part in the ninth running of the marathon there.

Six Roadrunners took on the challenge this year, a real spectrum of experience. From Steve Hickman running his 147th to Kim Hulacka running her 1st.

Starting at a Preston Park, the course snakes its way through the city, before heading out to Ovingdean. The runners then made their way back towards the pier and along the seafront into Hove. They then emerge back onto the seafront and out to the dreaded power station at Southwick. From there the welcome sight of Hove lawns take the runners back along the Kingsway with the mirage of the never approaching Pier (and the finish line) dangling in front of them like a carrot.

Luckily the promised warm weather hadn’t yet arrived and conditions were perfect as they made their way around the course. They all smashed their way around the first half of the distance, passing the pier, knowing that the next time they see it, they’ll be at mile 26.

Steve Rumsey was the first roadrunner back in a phenomenal 3hrs 5 minutes, improving on his time from last year. No mean feat considering a lengthy absence from training through injury.

“I’m pleased with how it went, especially the first 20 miles. The lack of training took its toll then”

Next home were friends of 34 years Jess Hill and Kim Hulacka. Despite their misgivings before the race they managed to beat their demons, and run their socks off.

“Amazingly I loved it! I went into the race not feeling confident at all… in fact I deferred my London place this year because I felt I hadn’t trained well enough” Jess tells me “but I felt good most of the way… I can’t wait for London next year now!”

Excited she should be. Jess managed to storm home with a massive 17 minute Pb to cross the line in just over 4 and a quarter hours.

Kim wasn’t far behind her. What a result for the rookie! Despite telling me how nervous she was when I bumped into her the week before the race, she showed no sign of it on the day as she rose to the occasion.

“I really enjoyed all of it! I never hit the dreaded wall! I am so happy with my time”

Pete Dixon was next down the finishing straight, also cracking his pb by 9 minutes to finish in under 4 and a half hours.

“I was running well until I got to 16 miles and I had a bit of a wobble” he tells me “I nearly passed out”

But Pete recovered himself and got the job finished in an amazing time. New member Sam Grist was next to receive his medal as he annihilated his previous PB by a eye watering 38 minutes. Fantastic running fellas well done!

Last by no means least was our marathon magnate Steve Hickman. Having run this event every single year since it’s inception, steve chose to do things a little differently this year. Instead of running it for himself, he chose to pace round his “marathon pupil” Sarah Homewood from his 2nd claim club Ashford and District. What a great job he did too! With a target time of under 5 hours, Steve paced Sarah round to a cracking time of 4 hours and 50 minutes on the nose.

S.Rumsey – 3.05.50
J.Hill – 4.16.33
K.Hulacka – 4.23.48
P.Dixon – 4.29.24
S.Grist – 4.40.12
S.Hickman – 4.50.00

Testway Ultra

Not one to follow the rules, Marathon supremeo Steve Hickman began his tapering for next weekend’s Brighton marathon by running this 44 mile ultra.

Self navigating, the course follows the River Test from Combe Gibbet in Berkshire via trails and footpaths through Hurstbourne Tarrent, Longparish, Chilbolton and Mottisfont before reaching the finish at Totton.

Unfortunately the recent wet weather made the already challenging course all the more difficult with mile upon mile of thick mud.

“The first 30 miles were hilly, but lovely trails” Steve tells me “then the mud started!”

Our Steve is no stranger to running in mud, in fact he quite likes it! But it was so bad that he swore that he will not return to this event… and he never says that!

“It was miles on end of ankle deep boggy and smelly mud. My legs were already tired and I lost the will to live at times”

But he dug deep and got his head down and got the job done.

44 miles – 10.05.44

Bournemouth Bay 10k

Husband and wife super duo Michael and Ashleigh Douglas made the journey west to compete on the coastal 10k course for the 2nd year running.

A long standing event in the area, it’s popularity is still strong. 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 options. All set with the backdrop of Bournemouth’s 7 mile stretch of golden sands. Unfortunately the weather didn’t lend itself to the coastal location this year as drizzle dampened the runners and spectators alike.

The weather didn’t deter Michael however as he zoomed around the course to finish in 4th overall, (the same position as the previous year). He did however managed to improve on his time somewhat as he improved upon last year’s time by 42 seconds equalling his Pb.his way around to finish an amazing 4th overall in a super speedy 36.05. Ashleigh also ran brilliantly to finish under 50 minutes and 16th in her age category.

Michael Douglas – 35.14
Ashleigh Douglas – 49.54

Manchester Marathon

The allure of the flattest course in the UK tempted 6 road runners into entering the Greater Manchester Marathon on Sunday. Just 180ft of elevation across the entire course makes this a perfect opportunity to run a PB.

Keith Ruth, Julie Salter, Lucy Deville, Sarah Holmes, Michael Coultrup and Paul Butcher kicked off the Roadrunners road marathon season. Unbelievably Paul has been working away for 3 months and has been unable to train. Undeterred, he returned to the UK on Monday, dusted off his running shoes and got out on the roads to train and taper all in one week.

Organised by the Salford Harriers, it was first run in 1909, this marathon has had several periods of absence and accompanying course variations. In 2012 the marathon was revived and brought back to Trafford, the heart of sport in the city.

It was nippy but dry as they nervously lined up amongst the 13 500 strong field outside  Old Trafford for the early 9am start.

Winding through leafy Sale, Timperly, Altrincham and Carrington, the course takes the Runners on a tour of Manchester’s suburbs. as they was well supported and well marshalled, with plenty of entertainment on route. From blues bands to choirs, the local community really get behind this fantastically organised event.

Keith Ruth took full advantage of the flat course as he shattered his target of running under 4 hours as he stormed home 11 minutes quicker.

“I’d said this was to be my penultimate marathon ages ago. I have been wanting to get under 4 hours for so long. To say I am happy is a huge understatement. I blubbed like a baby at the end”

Next in was Michael Coultrup who was pleased to finish under 4 hours as he suffered badly with an injured knee from 10 miles onwards. First home for the girls was pocket rocket Sarah Holmes in 4hrs 08mins. A pleasing result for her considering she’d been struck down with a chest infection only a week before the race. Just a couple of minutes later Julie crossed the line with her son Bradley. It was his first marathon and she ran the the whole distance with him.
“I am a proud and emotional mum” she said after the race

Next across the finish line outside Old Trafford Cricket Ground was Paul comfortabley under 5 hours. A remarkable feat with no training. Last but by no means least was Wonder Woman Lucy Deville who was all smiles despite also being poorly. She was met with a warm reception in the finish area by the rest of the team.

K.Ruth- 3.49.06
M.Coultrup- 3.50.58
S.Holmes- 4.08.37
J.Salter- 4.10.25
P.Butcher- 4.56.27
L.Deville- 5.54.48

Salisbury 10 #hrrl9

The banks of the River Avon were the backdrop of the eighth Hampshire Road Race League race. Starting in the City of Salisbury Athletics track, some 23 Roadrunners made trip across the Solent to compete in the 10 mile race.

Winding North from the city, the runners made their way along the undulating course to the Woodford Valley and then returning with the Cathedral spires in view to finish back on the track.

Bill Goozee was the first roadrunner back in 25th place overall and just over an hour, closely followed by Cole Pearce in 27th. Ross Wilkes continued his recent good form coming over the line in 63 minutes, with Nick Kenney finishing in 68 minutes completing the first men’s team.

For the ladies it was Trish Train that returned back to the track first in 68 minutes and 10th lady, giving herself the 3rd place V45. Next in was Jodie Wilmott, continuing her return to form with the reward of her first Pb in 3 years. Lou Howell completed the First Ladies team also bagging herself a Pb along the way.

Despite the soggy conditions, everyone ran their hearts out. Bill Goozee, Ross Wilkes, George Butler, Zoe Sherwin, Giorgio Marinelli and Julia Parker all joining Jodie and Lou in getting a PB.

B.Goozee – 1.00.31
C.Pearce – 1.00.44
R.Wilkes – 1.03.42
N.Kenney – 1.08.23
T.Train – 1.08.23
G.Butler – 1.09.50
P.Wilmott – 1.13.35
J.Wilmott – 1.13.35
G.Sharp – 1.13.44
K.Rann – 1.18.55
L.Howell – 1.19.27
T.Eldridge – 1.20.53
I.Ward – 1.20.58
Z.Sherwin – 1.20.59
I.Dyer- 1.21.21
G.Marinelli – 1.23.22
N.Scott-Denness – 1.23.31
M.Fletcher – 1.29.15
K.Phillips – 1.29.35
J.Ray – 1.29.38
J.Parker – 1.29.40
T.Martin – 1.35.41
B.Keyte – 1.39.14

The West Wight 3 Hills

Living upto it’s tough reputation, this year’s West Wight 3 Hills didn’t disappoint. Some brutal “undulation” faced the runners as they tackled the 900ft of ascent crammed into 8 miles, hampered further by the recent soggy bank holiday weather.

Held every Easter Monday since the early 80s this challenging course was the brainchild of the Harriers’ current Chairman’s father. It was originally marshalled by local Boy Scouts. And what a fantastic idea it was to hold a race of this length on Easter Monday. It weirdly will burn off almost the exact amount of calories contained in an average size Easter Egg. WIN! No wonder 136 runners signed up to face the challenge.

The threatened rain held off as the eager, (and the not eager!), runners on the startline at the West Wight Sports Centre in Freshwater. Great turnout from not just the local clubs but plenty of mainland club runners too. Obviously making the most of an Easter break on the Isle of Wight.

Starting at the Sports Centre the course went straight into the 1st little hill through to Norton and then back down into Freshwater. Then off up to Golden a Hill Fort and continuing up (yes still going up!) to Headon Warren. A little bit of downhill relief as they made their way along to Alum Bay, bracing themselves for the hill that no-one can run all the way up …. Highdown.

By this time the poor runners are heavy legged. And they still have the longest climb to go. But up the went, all the way up to the glorious Tennyson Monument to be rewarded with a whole mile of downhill to pick up their pace and get themselves back to the finish at the Sports Centre.

First roadrunner home was newly returned member Stuart Backhouse in just over 58 minutes to take 8th overall with second claim member Sean Williams not too far behind him taking 9th. Harry Rann was next home in 14th place despite pulling a hamstring in the first couple of miles. Dan Williams and Ian Russell the off road specialists were unsurprisingly next over the line.

For the ladies it was the unstoppable Hayley Baxter that romped home in 6th place in 69 minutes, with Jenny Dewing home next in 72 minutes and 7th. Margaret Niland-Murphy continued her return to good form to finish in 9th.

There was a sprinkling of age category successes with Steve Bennett, Hayley Baxter, Tarnia Eldridge and Abigail Keyte (on her club debut too!) taking the pole position in theirs.

Stuart Backhouse, Harry Rann, Dan Williams, Jenny Dewing, Jane Andrew and Sue Hunter taking 2nd places in their categories and Sean Williams, Charlotte Williams and Fay Tosdevin grabbing the 3rd prizes in theirs.

S.Backhouse – 58.16
S.Williams – 58.56
H.Rann – 1.02.51
D.Williams – 1.02.51
I.Russell – 1.03.24
S.Bennett – 1.04.54
G.Butler – 1.05.24
G.Mattinson – 1.05.57
D.Blake – 1.07.15
G.Mucklow – 1.08.52
C.Wright – 1.09.25
H.Baxter – 1.09.38
M.Coultrup – 1.10.03
N.Finn – 1.11.09
J.Dewing – 1.12.00
M.Niland-Murphy – 1.12.50
I.Ward – 1.13.46
T.Eldridge – 1.14.40
G.Marinelli – 1.15.48
C.Williams – 1.16.12
S.Hickman – 1.21.03
A.Keyte – 1.22.19
C.Howard – 1.22.11
J.Andrew – 1.22.11
D.Wilcock – 1.24.36
I.Williams – 1.27.14
F.Tosdevin – 1.28.40
S.Grist – 1.28.48
S.Hunter – 1.35.50
N.Carter – 1.37.39
Caroline Curliss – 1.38.32
A.Butcher – 1.38.32
J.Parker – 1.38.33
B.Keyte – 1.38.33

The team competition was dominated by the white red and blue vests with the men taking the 2nd and 3rd medals and the ladies winning 2nd and 3rd.


2nd Rann, Williams, Russell
3rd Bennett, Butler, Mattinson
6th Blake, Mucklow, Wright
9th Coultrup, Finn, Ward
10th Marinelli, Hickman, Wilcock

Ladies Teams

1st Baxter, Dewing, Niland-Murphy
2nd Eldridge, Williams, Keyte
4th Howard, Andrew, Tosdevin
5th Hunter, Parker, Butcher

Great muddy fun – Well done gang!