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The Great North to South Run

A 20 mile run for fun. For FUN!!!
But that is exactly what this is. It’s a day away from the pressure of running personal bests and racing. It’s a run just the joy of running.

Started in 2012 by Richard Pearson of the Isle of Wight Hash House Harriers. It was intended to be run every other year, but it’s year on year growth in popularity has put it on the annual calendar.

From the furthest point on the North in our Island (Egypt Point) through to the most Southerly at St. Catherines Lighthouse. This event is in the format of a hash. That is, minimally marked, unmarshalled and water stops in the form of Pubs on the route.

No fewer than 30 roadrunners assembled at Egypt Point for the 5th running of this event. Some runners are fluent at this sort of distance, for others, it was their first ever 20 mile run, many however using this as a part of their marathon training.

The first leg of the journey takes the runners from the seafront straight up the sharp incline of Egypt Hill and along to Northwood where it steps onto trail. Through Parkhurst Forest before emerging the other side and on to the first stop at the Blacksmiths Arms on the Calbourne Road. The first 7 miles behind them.

After the first hydration stop of the journey, the continued up and over the Tennyson Trail, through Bowcombe, Gatcombe and Chillerton. Poor Alison Batchelor had a tumble along this leg (no pun intended)

But she managed to pick herself up and continue along to The Chequers Inn at Rookley at the half marathon distance.

Onward they went on the third leg. Only 4 miles to the next stop. Running through Roud and the aptly named Nettlecombe.

“There was a ridiculous amount of stingers on the 3rd leg” said ladies captain Julie Ray “my legs have never tingled so much”

The White Horse in Whitwell was before them before they knew it.

Only 2.6 miles left to go to make it to the Lighthouse.


For those that weren’t adequately “hydrated” on the way, celebratory drinks were flowing in The Buddle Inn afterwards.

 

Ironman Emilia Romagna

An Ironman. A man made of Iron. Tough, unyielding, immovable. Built with strength, resilience and determination.

It’s not hard then to imagine how much grit and determination it takes to be crowned one. A massive feat of endurance, of will and of courage.

But that is what Nick Kenney became on Saturday. Years of multi disciplined training, hours of blood sweat and tears all came to fruition as he achieved his ultimate goal.

“The race is just the end of a very long journey” he tells me

Nestled between Ravenna, Forli and Rimini on the Adriatic Coast lays Cervia. An ancient fishing village nicknamed the City of Salt. It is here that Italy staged its first ever ironman competition. 2500 hopefuls, all wishing to test their metal in this ultimate test.

Before him lay 226k (140 miles) of continuous exertion. A 3.8k sea swim, straight into a 180k bike ride followed by a marathon to run and all within the cut off time of 16 hours. The marathon is something we know Nick is more than competent at but the swim and bike distances were measures that Nick had not completed individually, let alone in direct succession, so it really was stepping into the unknown. He’d spent years racing triathlons, building his core strength and pushing his endurance levels to prepare himself for this.

Race day.
Perfect conditions
Air temperature 21c – Sea temperature 18.4c

“I arrived at Race HQ and watched the Sun rise over the sea as I put on my wetsuit. It was daunting to think that that same sun would have crossed the entire sky and set by the time I would finish”

After what seemed like an age, waiting for his staggered start, Nick got his 3-2-1 GO! And he was off! Into the water, into the unknown.

The swim, by Nicks own admission, is his weakest element. But he went in, and went for it. Following the trail of swimmers in front of him he soon started to pick them off one by one.

“I couldn’t believe how well I was swimming, all those hours spent in the water at Totland Bay were paying off”

70 minutes later he was back on dry land having smashed his predicted time and feeling he could have gone quicker. This really filled him with confidence as he knew his better strengths were still to come. Transition onto the bike was seamless and buoyed along by the presence of Nicks girlfriend, Julie Rasmussen, in the crowd.

“I was thrilled to see her”

The bike leg was 2 laps of a 90k course. Beginning and ending amongst the cheering crowds of Cervia, the route was mostly out on the winding roads and countryside of the surrounding area. Quiet and peaceful with only the steady whir of chains rotating on cogs and wheels rotating on tarmac.

“I just got into my aero position, eyes fixed on the road and thought only 6 hours of this”

His peace was disturbed somewhat as he was hauled into the “sin bin” penalty tent for a frustrating 5 minutes as he was penalised (unfairly in his opinion) for drafting another competitor. Triathlon rules state that to not have an unfair advantage, you must remain 12m away from your next competitor. A rule very difficult to adhere to in a busy event

But he took his punishment and set back out on the road. His energy levels starting to diminish by this point and his output beginning to slow.

“I was feeling tired approaching the town for the last time. The thought of having to run a marathon was daunting to say the least”

He was still on target for his sub 12 goal. He just (JUST!!) had to get through the last 26.2 miles on foot without hitting the dreaded wall. A difficult ask in any marathon when your energy tank is full at the start, but to ask this from your body when you are already on empty is brutal. And he only had 4hrs 15mins left to make it under his target time.

4 laps of a thankfully shady 10k loop of Cervia that’s all that stood between Nick and the finishline. Crowds were lining the streets the whole way, willing on these remarkable human beings. It is with no question that this is the leg of the journey that makes or breaks the race.

“It was without doubt the toughest and most painful run of my life”

As the laps ticked by, the scene became more and more like a scene from the walking dead. Those bright eyed warriors, full of adrenaline, that graced the beach at sunrise were reduced to lurching zombies at sunset. Their stares fixed, their feet metronomic. One foot in front of the other, desperately trying to keep going.

Nick kept going, his quads searing in pain with every step, his stomach lurching with nausea and cramp. Treading a frightening path of hypoglycaemic shock as his glycogen reserves were long gone.

The final lap. 10k left.

“For one last time, I took the right turn away from the finishing straight knowing that next time I saw it I would be turning left towards glory”

Despite all the pain and discomfort he was still working his way through the field, overtaking competitors as he went. A quick glance at his watch. The 4 hour marathon was still on. All he had to do was hold on. His stomach still bloating and causing him great distress. He knew he couldn’t swallow any more sickly gels. This last hour was going to be mind over matter.

“I knew I would either pass out with the other zombies lying on the side of the road or make it with pure determination”

Nick latched onto the back of an Italian competitor. He focused upon his stride and matched him step for step, keeping the rhythm, switching off the voices in his head telling him about the pain he was in.

Finally he made it to the turn off point. Left this time. Toward the cheers, toward the bright lights and down the red carpet . Arms aloft, eyes to the sky, he crossed the line to the immortal words

“Nick Kenney, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

“So many times in life the reality of a dream does not meet the expectation. Not this time however. My emotions heightened by physical exhaustion was an unsurpassed high. The feeling of relief, satisfaction, pride and just happiness was incredible.
Then i saw my finish time of 11:42 and another wave of joy swept through me. I battled through the crowds to find Julie for a very loving embrace and my race was complete”

A dream come true. An amazing feat of perseverance, determination, strength and dedication. I’m going to leave the last word to Nick, as his words were so humbling, so beautifully put, written as he was reflecting on his experience on the plane home.

“I have no doubt that many people go through far harder challenges than this in the world today, often just to exist on a day to day basis or battle against life threatening illnesses. I still don’t really know quite why i wanted to complete an ironman so much. Maybe it was vanity. I hope not. I’d like to think its because im fortunate enough to be fit and healthy and have time to devote towards achieving such goals rather than just exist.
Whatever the reason i am now an ironman for the rest of my life and actually feel some responsibility to behave how an ironman should, with humility and respect for all of humanity and never forgetting how lucky we are for having the opportunity to just do it”

One word…. inspirational.

HRRL #2 – Solent Half Marathon

A gorgeous Autumn sunny sky prevailed as our team of runners lined up for the second league race of the season.

Hosted by Hardley Runners, the 13.1 miles began at Gang Warily Recreation Centre in Blackfield.

A beautifully scenic course stretched out before them, taking in winding country lanes. The first few miles took them toward the edge of the New Forest, (complete with wild ponies wandering around) It was here that our Dave Wilcock interrupted his race. He saw a runner collapsed on the side of the road. As a nurse he couldn’t just run on by.

“It became obvious she was having an epileptic seizure. I stayed until the ambulance arrived”

Showing Roadrunner spirit, Dave sacrificed his chance of running a PB, to help someone else, a stranger. What an amazing thing to do, good sportsmanship on his part.

Onward the runners went heading toward Exbury then down to the shoreline at Lepe where the runners turned for home. More country lanes snaked before them taking them to Fawley and then finally returning to the recreation centre.

Cole Pearce was the first Roadrunner to cross the finish line in a fantastic 8th overall, just dipping under 78 minutes and winning his age group category and getting himself a PB. Simon Randall was next home in under 85 minutes and 2nd V40 followed by Tom Forster in 87 mins. Matt Fletcher and Michael Coultrup crossed the line together, Matt in 10th V40 and Michael 8th V50 and in another PB for him. Holly led the girls home in a blistering PB of 1.40.40 and 20th female overall. Kev Rann was next to finish in just over 1hr 45min, with Sarah Holmes not too far behind to claim 8th FV40 and a 7 minute PB. Zoe Sherwin also stomped home to a PB, sneaking just under 1hr 55m. Dave Wilcock was home next, cheered in by his team mates, with Jo Randall and Coral Leach turning into the home straight having run the entire race together, with beaming smiles.

Great performance by the IWRR in the league competition, maintaining a great start in the team competition overall.

Cole Pearce – 1.17.59
Simon Randall – 1.24.53
Tom Forster – 1.27.09
Matt Fletcher – 1.33.38
Michael Coultrup – 1.33.38
Holly Newton – 1.40.40
Kevin Rann – 1.45.31
Sarah Holmes – 1.46.27
Zoe Sherwin – 1.54.46
Dave Wilcock – 2.14.42
Coral Leach – 2.41.47
Jo Randall – 2.41.47

Island Games – Gotland

Today, in case you didn’t already know, is Isle of Wight Day. A day to celebrate all that is good and great about our beautiful diamond shaped oasis of calm.

So I thought it fitting to choose today to celebrate  our doughty duo of amazingly talented Island Games heroes,  Nick Kenney and Trish Train.

Started in 1985 on the Isle of Man , the Island Games were organised to celebrate “The Year of Sports” and to give athletes from different Islands the opportunity to compete internationally. Intended as a one off occasion, 700 athletes competed from 15 islands over 7 sports. It was such a success that Guernsey decided to take it on 2 years later and the rest, as they say, is history. 30 years on and the biannual event now sees 2500 competitors from 24 islands taking part across 19 sports.

2017 saw the turn of the Swedish island of Gotland. A peaceful idyll off the east coast of the Swedish mainland, it is a popular holiday destination for the Swedes. But despite its tranquil nature, it is by no means it’s literal translation, (the different land). It’s main town, Visby, has modern facilities to rival any city, despite the quaint appearance of quaint old walled town with its narrow streets and spires.

The proceedings began, just as any international games does, with an opening ceremony. With every participating team parading the venue, flying their team flag and wearing their team colours, it really adds to the excitement and anticipation of the week of eventing ahead.

Kevin Winchcombe also accompanied the team in his role as Team General Manager. His role was to ensure every single competitor was registered for their events and co-ordinate the team as a whole.

“I managed to see 13 sports over the week. It was tiring, but amazing”

Nick was the first to compete as his event was scheduled early on in the week of competition. He’d trained hard across all his 3 disciplines all through the cold winter months and this was his time to put all those minutes, seconds and hours of blood, sweat and tears to work.

However, Mother nature had other ideas that morning. With gusting winds of 25 mph and 2m waves, the sea swim was deemed too dangerous by officials and was reduced in length from 1500m to 600m. Nerves already jangling, this did nothing but heighten the anxiety of the field.

“It’s my weakest discipline anyway” said Nick after I quizzed him on his Facebook post describing the swim as a “near death experience”

“It was the hardest swim I have ever done. It was so hard to get into a rythmn because breathing was so difficult. Going into such massive waves so beyond anything I had trained for. I had to stop to catch my breath and I drifted off a bit. It was scary. I came out quite near the back

But he did it ! He completed his swim in just over 13 minutes. He had to compose himself and perform a seamless transition onto his bike for the second part of this 3 leg journey.

The cycle leg consisted of 4 laps of a 10k course around the surrounding area of Visby. The weather was still hampering the triathletes as the wind was still gusting and it was now raining. It was quite a technically challenging loop as the competitors found themselves flying down fast descents into sharp turns and negotiating cobblestones, made slippery under their tyres from the recent downpours.

But despite the demands of the circuit, Nick was determined to make up some of the time he’d lost on the swim. He managed to overtake quite a few of the competition on the way. Confidence back, he made another good transition and embarked upon the final segment – the 10k run.

2 loops of a 5k course through the heart of the historical walls of Visby was all Nick had to conquer to find glory at the finish line.

“The support through the town was great. The locals really got behind the event, the atmosphere was fantastic”

Nick has worked tirelessly on bringing his 10k times down all year and it paid off as he stormed through this section of the event, overtaking more competitors as he went. He came over the finishline in 43.19 making him 46th overall and 3rd out of the IOW team.

“I was hoping to finish in the top 50, so I was delighted with my result. The sense of team spirit really spurred me on. I really wanted to do well for the Island. It was one of the proudest moments of my life”

Our Trish had a rather different journey toward her event. It began in November last year when, after a Summer season of pure brilliance, she ran her qualifying time at the Gosport Half marathon.
Hours of training ensued, concentrating solely on getting quicker, running harder, getting stronger. She took being granted her place at the games very seriously, giving it the respect it deserved.
And then disaster struck. On a club run in March, Trishs’s foot suddenly became excruciatingly painful and she had to stop immediately. A misdiagnosis followed as she was told it was a sprain and it would heal shortly. However it soon became apparent that there was a lot more afoot (sorry -dreadful pun!), and she was finally diagnosed with a stress fracture. By this time though, the games were only 8 weeks away and it seemed that Trishs dream of competing at this international competition were over.

She was given a removable cast to wear as she was relegated helplessly to the sidelines, watching her fellow clubmates compete, always with a smile, but all the while watching the clock ticktocking away on her dream.

Finally with only 4 weeks until the games kicked off, the cast was binned for good. A week later, she was given the go ahead to try running again.

“I was terrified” she said “I’m on my feet for my job too, I was so worried it would knock me out from work again. My coach Geoff Watkin, set me a plan”

It was trepidacous to begin with. Running 1 minute at a time to start with, until she made it to 20 minutes. The journey to recovery was a long road stretching before her, feeling all the more further away, knowing how hard she’d trained before and how frustrating it was to have been so near and now feeling so far. She only had 3 weeks to recover when it should have taken months, but she had to try, she had to do what Trish does best…she dug deep and kept her focus.

As the days ticked by and the games drew ever closer, Trish was still unsure of her fit to run status. She kept plugging away, getting upto 7 miles until the day arrived when it was time to leave and she boarded the plane on the journey she had almost given up on.

She spent her time in Gotland wisely. Enjoying the atmosphere and watching some of the events but kept her main attention on her training still. Making good use of the facilities and services that were on offer toto athletes.

“It was nerve wracking having to wait until the end of the week to compete” she said “although it did give me a few extra days to train. We could use the track there which was handy. I managed to run 9 miles a few days before the race which was good but tiring, I couldn’t believe how much of my fitness had disappeared. I knew it may not be enough. I was so scared”

Race day arrived.

“I have never stood on the startline of a race really not knowing if I could finish it. It’s the most nervous I have ever been”

The weather wasn’t kind as the runners set off in the rain around the course. Starting at the Athletics Stadium, the course then took them on 2 laps around Visby town. As with the 10k of Nicks event, the support on the route from both locals and other competitors was uplifting. Trish battled her way around.

“I felt awful the whole way through” she says “After 7 miles, I was shattered. My feet were sore and the rain was making them worse”

But she battled through it. Deliberately not wearing her watch so that she couldn’t worry about her pacing and her time, she tuned out from the pain and kept putting one foot in front of the other until there was 13.1 miles behind her.

“I was so relieved to see the finish”

She’d made it! A little slower than her pace when she’s fully fit, but 20 minutes faster than she thought she had run (no watch on her wrist remember!) Waiting for her was teammate and fellow runner Charlie Metcalfe, who had been a great source of support and encouragement during their week in Gotland.

“I’m so glad I didn’t pull out. It made me feel so proud to represent the Island. I’ve had such an amazing experience here. It’s made me so determined to qualify for the next games in 2 years. It’s unfinished business. I want to come back and compete when I am at full fitness”

As if Nick hadn’t been put through his paces enough during his event, he took part in an open Half Marathon race which took place after Trish’s race had finished. It followed same route that Trish took. He proudly stool on the startline in his trusty Roadrunners vest, flying the flag for our wonderful club. Having not done any distance training for months, he was running it for fun.

But what fun it was! He stormed round. No sign of any tiredness lingering from Monday’s Triathlon. All doubts disappeared. He absolutely smashed it. He finished in a remarkable 3rd place and even took 30 seconds off his pb! Crossing the line in 1.27.53!

Time to party!! A closing ceremony to bring the curtain down on a memorable week.

An enormous privilege and achievement for both of them. We are so proud of you. Gibraltar 2019 here you come!

West Wight Triathlon

Perfect conditions prevailed as our fab five embarked on their triple trials in West Wight on Sunday.

Darren Cole, Dean Pike, Julie Salter, Matt Fletcher and Nick Scott-Denness all congregated at West Wight Sports Centre to kick off their event with the swim.

All our roadrunners were competing solo with the exception of Dean, who competed as one third of his team “Punk Rock Academy” with old school mates Ian Pacey and Stuart Waite. It was Matt and Nicks first triathlon event, Matt having only learnt to swim earlier this year and Nick only ever swam 1 length of a pool at a time – this was 600 metres – that’s 24 lengths!

Darren got off to a cracking start coming in 7th overall in the swim. Nick was next to complete, with Julie next, then Matt.

“The swim was always going to be hard for me. I was nervous about it all week!” said Matt

Transition onto their bikes saw all of our roadrunners set off well on their 35k journey from Freshwater, out to Brighstone and back.

Darren was in contention amongst the top of the table, when another contender had a crash on his bike at around 9 miles. Darren in true roadrunner spirit got off his bike and directed traffic until the ambulance arrived.

“I feel a bit conflicted about it as obviously it would have been a good result for me had I not stopped, but also it could easily have been me on the deck”

Darren stayed with the injured cyclist for what seemed like forever before he got back on his bike to continue his quest. He made up as much ground as he could before transitioning to the run. Nick, Matt and Julie all completed their cycle legs without incident and finished within 5 minutes of each other.

Luckily for Darren, the run is his strongest element. With him smashing the flat 4 and a half mile out and back route along the old train track.
He stormed through it in just under 29 minutes giving him 3rd position in the run. Matt also ran a blinder finishing 8th in this leg, with Julie coming in next, then Nick.

Meanwhile in the team competition, Dean embarked on his leg of the event after his team mates rocketed through the swim and bike in just over 65 minutes combined! The baton handed over as it were, Dean knew he had to run well to keep the team highly placed. He didn’t disappoint! Running the 6 mile course in 28.35 secured the team a triumphant 2nd place overall.

Darren Cole – 2.11.26 S-12.09 B-1.30.19 R-28.58
Matt Fletcher – 2.22.49 S-27.47 B-1.22.42 R-32.20
Nick Scott-Denness – 2.22.55 S-22.22 B- 1.21.28 R-39.04
Julie Salter – 2.24.50 S-19.22 B-1.26.38 R-38.50

Punk Rock Academy Tri Team – 1.35.02 S-10.34 B-55.53 R-28.35

 

Dartmoor Volcano

10.25 miles in total.
3 river crossings
1 Clapper Bridge
2 Bogs
1 Volcano ascent
1 long uphill start
1 long downhill finish

Welcome to the Dartmoor Volcano. 500m of ascent, (that’s twice the size of St Boniface Down as a comparison for you), and most of it in one enormous climb from the get go.

“It’s all runnable” one of the organisers is quoted as saying on the races website.

Hmmm not so sure that’s entirely true….

Beginning at Scorriton, on the edge of Dartmoor. The course takes in Pupers Hill, Snowdon and South Devon’s highest point, Ryder’s Hill.

“I loved it!” said our Ian Dyer, with a huge post run grin on his face “It was the slowest, hardest 10 miles I’ve ever run. 6 miles of bogs and rocks. It was difficult to pick a route through the moor”

But he made it all the way to the peak of the Volcano and successfully negotiated the huge descent and back to the start in 2 hours and 58 seconds.

Isle of Wight Fell Series

Ventnor. Famous for its crabs, micro climate and hills. … big hills…. lots of big hills.

Fiercely competitive and famously challenging, these races are tough. The Ryde Harriers annual Fell series takes no prisoners. With ascent totalling 1165m over the 3 races, (that’s 3822 feet in old money), the tired legs of competitors will have climbed the equivalent of Mount Snowdon and then some by lunchtime on Sunday. To run one of the events is an achievement of grit, sweat and determination, but to run all three is deific.

Kicking off at 11am on Saturday morning, the first race is short and sweet. Well, it’s short at least! Just 2 and a half miles. However it is from sea level up the highest point on the Island and back. It’s beyond tough. So steep in fact it’s hard to run down, let alone run up.

All our plucky runners, negotiated the monolithic mount and returned safely to the finish line at the race HQ of St Catherine’s School in Grove Road.

Race 1 – The Boniface Fell
Harry Rann – 20.52
Andy MacArthur – 23.39
Dan Williams – 24.06
Hayley Baxter – 25.52
Jodie Wilmott – 27.16
George Butler – 27.46
Clare Mucklow – 28.54
Tarnia Eldridge – 31.10

A couple of hours recovery and the magnificent 7 were back down on the seafront for round two.

This time 7.5 miles and 443m (1453ft) of elevation lay before them. Once again they set off on the extreme uphill start as the first 2 and a half miles took them back to St Boniface Down, but this time up the other side and onto Down Lane.

Over toward Wroxall they went before some welcome flat ground heading along the cycle path to the the outskirts of Shanklin before they turned for home and back onto the downland and finally back to the school.


10 miles combined done.. 13 left in the morning….

Race 2 – The Ventnor Horseshoe
Harry Rann – 1.03.47
Andy MacArthur – 1.09.10
Dan Williams – 1.14.11
Hayley Baxter – 1.15.55
Jodie Wilmott – 1.18.35
George Butler – 1.22.14
Tarnia Eldridge – 1.32.53

Day 2 and most of yesterday’s competitors were joined by a few more club runners, taking on the longest and last of the events on its own.
The runners once again congregated at the paddling pool on Ventnor Seafront for the 10.30 start.

A more gentle start this time as the runners ran along the seafront and cliff path through the temperate Botanic Gardens before beginning the ascent through St Lawrence, passing the football ground at Watcombe Bottom before continuing upto Stenbury Down.

The runners then continued through the countryside skirting Wroxall and Godshill before passing through the Donkey Sanctuary. A welcome flat section along the old railway line was soon alighted as they then ascended what are lovingly referred to as “The Steps of Doom” returning them back onto St Boniface Down and the final descent to the welcome sight of the School for that last uphill push. Tired but triumphant.

Race 3 – The Wroxall Round
Michael Coultrup – 1.44.46
Tim Howell – 1.45.59
Dan Williams – 1.46.28
Andy MacArthur – 1.46.54
Harry Rann – 1.49.56
Hayley Baxter – 1.58.29
Lou Howell – 1.59.04
George Butler – 2.23.06
Tarnia Eldridge – 2.33.55

As is usual with this weekend of racing, most of the top prizes were swept away by the overwhelming presence of some very high class, experienced Fell runners from clubs such as Victoria Park, Serpentine and Clapham Chasers. However a particular mention must go to Hayley Baxter whose consistency all weekend earns her 16th lady overall and a top 3 Vet prize.

Prizes and overall positions

Hayley Baxter – 16th lady and 3rd v40
Tarnia Eldridge – 38th lady and 10th v40

Harry Rann – 34th male and 23rd SM
Andy MacArthur – 46th male and 15th v40
Dan Williams – 55th male and 17th v40
George Butler – 97th male and 46th SM

Canmore Half Marathon

Our Fay Tosdevin took time out from her holiday in Canada to squeeze in a race. So in between hiking and bear spotting, Fay took part in the Canmore Half Marathon.

“I’ve never felt so under prepared and nervous for a race” fretted Fay the day before the event.

Set in the Rocky Mountains this beautiful course ran through the city of Canmore, before meandering its way through woodland, along the Bow River before ascending the winding mountain paths. Recent forest fires had caused a hazy mist, but it cleared to to reveal some wonderful vistas at the top of the mountain.

“We’d done so much hiking, I decided to take it easy and just enjoy the views”

And what views they were.

She set herself a target of 2hrs 30mins, but Fay smashed it, coming in in 2hrs 23.

Great North Run

The worlds biggest half marathon. 54 000 people all following the same path, taking the same steps, sharing the same experience.

Started in 1981 by Athletics legend and commentator Brendan Foster, the run was inspired by the Round the Bays race in New Zealand. He devised a point to point race from Newcastle to Sunderland, his home town.

3 of our roadrunners were lucky enough to win places in the ballot. Keith Ruth, Glen Jones and Steve Hunt all made the journey right upto the north of the country.

“What a monster of an event!” beams Glen “I thought it would be like the Great South Run, but 43 000 people made it very different”

It kicked off at 10.40am from Claremont Drive in Newcastle with Sir Mo Farah leading them out at the front of the pack. The route took the field through the city centre and across the Tyne Bridge.

“I was lucky enough to have been on the Tyne Bridge when the Red Arrows did their flyover. It was a real highlight” said Glen

The runners then headed toward Gateshead and finally to the last mile on the seafront at South Shields.

Our terrific trio all ran well, with Glen and Steve both running themselves to a PB, and Keith being just outside his.

“Yes it was great. I started off well then slowed a bit near the end when the hill started. I got a pb and knocked 21 minutes off last years time. I was worried about my knee holding out but it was ok.  It was a fantastic weekend. I can’t wait for the Great South Run!” said Steve

“I am chuffed, I set myself a target and stuck to it” said Keith, a great result as he has been dogged by injury this year.

Glen Jones – 1.47.28
Keith Ruth – 1.52.33
Steve Hunt – 2.08.36

Bad Cow 12 Hour Frolic

Our ultra king Dan Williams was back out competing this weekend, just 2 weeks after coming 4th at the East Farm event with a triumphant 53 miles under his belt.
But after a successful recovery from the cramps that plagued him there, he was back, confidence restored and ready to rumble.

This time his race plan was just to run to feel and not get drawn into racing early on in the 12 hour event. To trust that his endurance ability would see off the competitors in the later stages of the race. Based at Burnbake Campsite at Corfe Castle, Wareham the course was 4.4 miles of undulating sandy, energy sapping footpaths and trail.

Dan started really well, sticking to his race plan and keeping a steady pace. He completed his first marathon in 3hrs 54mins and felt really good still. One and a half laps later though, he started to get Tummy cramp, but he soldiered on and managed to run it off.

Then the rain came.

“It washed all the sand away and the paths became muddy. Whilst it was raining my aches subsided and I felt as good as I did at 20miles again”

He ploughed on during this time, refreshed and renewed. He really took advantage of this purple patch and cracked on to 50 miles in 8hrs 35mins, 7 minutes quicker than he he’d run 50 miles before.

After 12 laps Dan was told he was leading.

“I was told that I was in the lead and had been leading for at least 2 hours! This put a little pressure on me. I had a lead of just over 10mins, but I knew how easy it would be to throw that away. So off out i went, trying to keep disciplined by walking every ‘up’, keeping in control and not be forced into a death march. By the end of lap 14 (61miles) the lead was 26mins so I knew I could set out to enjoy and walk this final lap, even having a good natter with the Love Station volunteers”

He’d done it! He’d only gone and won it! 15 laps – 66 miles – 11hrs 58mins 18 seconds.

“The Bad Cow has to be up there with my most enjoyed races, not just because of the win, (obviously I am chuffed to bits), but because I felt my overall physical management and how I approached it was better before. It’s a shame the next 12hour race is 8months away!”

Fantastic running Dan, a hard earnt and well deserved win!