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Dorchester Marathon and Casterbridge Half

Dorchester. A little cluster of historic buildings, poets, authors, martyrs and legends. All enveloped by rolling hills, chocolate box cottages, Piddle (that’s a river btw), puddles, forests and enough fiddley-diddley-dee to last you a lifetime. 

In only its second year, White Star Running’s only road race is fast growing, with over 2000 competitors taking the trip down West to take on the undulating courses and the much talked about Barn Dance after party.

Arriving early and making the most of the camping experience, most of our team pitched up in the sunshine with one eye on their weather apps as thunderstorms and flash flooding were forecast. 

“I was more worried about my tent leaking than running the race haha” quips camping newbie Sarah Holmes 

With heavy downpours during the night, the Roadrunners woke up to more rain which continued right upto about 15 minutes before the off.  But right on queue, as the race briefing began, the clouds parted like the Red Sea and the sun dried off its hat and popped it straight on, burning away the clouds and raising the humidity despite the early 8.30 start.

Not too many nerves on the startline as our awesome foursome have run this iconic distance many a time between them. It was more a case of careful race planning to account for the unrelenting undulation and the heat.

After being given the off from the Towncryer, they, along with over 700 others, began their 26.2 mile journey. White Star Running is also famous for it’s love of hills, not slopes, not graceful increases in gradient, hills…. proper hills. It wasn’t long before our 4 marathoners were making their way up their first one, (before they even reached mile 1 to be more precise), as they made their way through the historic town centre before they began their journeys into the lush green countryside and toward West Stafford and Tincleton.

Meanwhile our half runners, Michael Douglas, Sarah Sharp, Caroline Curliss and Giorgio Marinelli lined up on the banks of the River Frome with a huge field of over 1200 other runners for the Casterbridge Half Marathon. Again set off by the towncryer, they embarked on a different route cutting through Puddletown Forest, before joining the marathon route at around  7 miles.

Picturesque cottages were a plenty, along with pockets of locals sitting on drives and front lawns in their camping chairs. Clapping and cheering and offering varying goodies to the intrepid runners. Welcoming they certainly were,  embracing the event, seemingly making a day of it as the sun baked the Runners and spectators alike.

Perhaps the most welcome sight for both our teams was our very own Dan Williams who came along to help on the first water station.

“I’ve never done anything like that before” he tells me “it was great to see a race from a different perspective. It was much busier than I thought though. Proper hectic at one stage! We couldn’t keep up with getting the cups filled up” 

Onward the marathoners went through the leafy shade of Oakerswood, but the undulation wasn’t letting up and neither was the heat as the temperature hit 27c. For every down there was another up, coupled with the increasing humidity, the runners began to flag.  Themed aid stations along the way made fuelling more fun.

”They were playing some great tunes along the way” said Holmsie “It really picked me up in the second half”

Continuing forever up and down, up and down, past the 15th century Manor at Athlehampton, past the famous Tolpuddle Martyr Museum.

On to Mile 20 (mile 7 for the half) and the famous White Star Lovestation. Located in a real barn, complete with hay bales and stinky cows, a resident bevy of lovelies were there giving out ice cold wet cuddles, coke, sweets, cake and BEER!!

It was fair to say that our Half runners were in a more fit state to indulge themselves than the marathoners.

No hanging about at the Lovestation for our dynamo Douglas though.

The Lovestation provides a big mental marker for all of them as it signifies that there is only 10k left to run. At this point the courses converge and they run the rest of the route together. Up and down the most challenging part of the course.

The course saves the best hills for last, with a never ending rollercoaster of elevation, the runners tired legs start to slow as the Big Dipper at 24/11 miles does its damage. In the half, Michael Douglas held tight, pushing, pushing, pushing all the way up those final hills to smash his way into a magnificent 3rd place overall.

“I really enjoyed the route. It was a struggle with the heat toward the end, but I am over the moon to have come 3rd” Michael beams 

Giorgio Marinelli was the next Roadrunner to return to Cokers Farm. In only his 2nd proper half marathon, he ran well.

“I probably could have finished quicker. I spent far too much time enjoying the Lovestation tucking into to all the goodies there. Somehow though, I missed the beer! How did I manage that!” 

Next across the finish line was the first of our marathon quartet, Stuart Backhouse who ran a blinder of a race to arrive home in a fantastic 9th overall and 4th V45. No mean feat as the field had some top class athletes amongst them. Andy MacArthur was just 10 minutes behind him in 21st and 10th V45 as he also pitched it perfectly gaining ground in the second half of the race. 

The half girls were home next having had the most fun out of everyone.

“We just chatted the whole way, it was lovely” said Caroline, who, like Giorgio was completing only her second proper half. 

“We made the most of the Lovestation” said vice chair Sarah Sharp “It was great”

Next across the line was Michael Coultrup to claim 11th in his age category.

“I took it easy, chatting to people along the way. I really enjoyed it, despite my sunburn”

Last but by no means least was Sarah Holmes who was ecstatic to take 9th in her age category. Like Michael, she had run the inaugural event last year so she knew what to expect.

“I just wanted to beat last year’s time” she said. Mission accomplished, she took 11 minutes off last year’s time. “I am really pleased that I managed to run every step of the way as I had to walk lots last year. I was determined to not give in this time” 

All home in one piece.

Time for a bit of R&R in the campsite before scurrying off to get changed for what they considered the main event….. The Barn Dance. Now there is only one thing that us roadrunners take more seriously than our running and that’s our fancy dress. It’s fair to say, had there been a prize for fancy dress, we would’ve rocked it! (Well to be fair we were the only ones in fancy dress but that’s a minor detail) 

A prize for dancing… not so much!! 

Fantastic weekend was had by all. We’ll be back next year without a doubt. 

Marathon

Stuart Backhouse – 3.12.22

Andy MacArthur – 3.22.06

Michael Coultrup – 3.46.16

Sarah Holmes – 4.15.38

Half

Michael Douglas – 1.27.15

Giorgio Marinelli – 2.10.30

Caroline Curliss – 2.31.18

Sarah Sharp – 2.31.18

Thanks to DorsetBays Photography for their fantastic photos

Buckingham Half Marathon

Fresh from his high octane performance at the MK Rocket 5k, our junior Harry Rann was back in his white blue and red vest this time in Buckingham.

Starting at Maids Moreton Playing Fields, this scenic, undulating single lap winds it’s way around the glorious countryside of the county, visiting the towns and villiages of Leckhampstead, Wicker and Akeley along the way.

Temperatures rose sharply as Harry got off to a blistering start.

“It was so hot” said our superstar junior. “I was chucking water over my head at all the water stations”

Undeterred, Harry powered his way around the course, crossing the line back at the playing fields in 1.31.05 and a stonking 16th overall and 7th in his age category. 

“It was much hillier than the Island half and the heat was insane. I had a bit of a wobble when I’d finished. I think it was a bit of dehydration”

But after a bit of sugar and a drink, out amazing junior lives to fight another day.

Well done Harry.

Night Runner

Running around in the dark, with nothing but a map to guide you? Sound appealing?

Well it was just that for 8 Roadrunners on Saturday night. 

Starting at Cheverton Farm, this fundraiser for The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was well supported. With a good choice of distances on offer there was something for everyone, (well unless you’re scared of the dark!) and a party afterwards…. what’s not to like about this event? 

From the 5k, 10k, 20k and 35k on offer , Isle of Wight Road Runners had entries in the 10k (Laura Holme and Nick Stilwell), in the 20k (Sarah and Ivan Ward & Nick Carter) and in the 35k (Paul Cameron and Charlotte & Ian Williams)  

Setting off at dusk, this non timed event relies on the runners self navigating to a number of designated checkpoints along the way, (what can possibly go wrong right?)

The courses cover chalky trails, farm tracks, bridleways and grassland. The routes between them take in parts of the Tennyson Trail, Limerstone, Mottistone and Brook Downs, Yarmouth Cycle path, Thorley, Wellow, Shalcombe and Brighstone Forest. The 35k in particular covering some 462m (that’s 1515 feet in old money) of elevation along the way, so they are by no means a walk in the park.

As the clock tick ticked it’s way to 7.30pm the 3 Roadrunners (in fact the only 3 runners full stop) set off for the 35k. 

“It was beautiful running over to Freshwater with the sunset” Charlotte Williams tells me.

An hour later the rest of the Runners donned their head torches and set of on the 10 and 20k runs.

“That hill at Brighstone was as horrible as I remember” said Nick Stillwell afterwards. He should know that by now he’s competed in this event 3 years on the bounce. 

Sarah and Ivan had an interesting night out in the darkness. 

“We got lost!” They exclaim “maybe we should have paid more attention to the map, but the Marshalls sent us in the wrong direction!”

They ended up finding the finish too soon after their misdirection and only ran 11k out of the 20 

“It was a laugh, and it’s still 11k more than we would’ve run on Saturday night as we only decided to rock up last minute” Sarah tells me

In the 35k Paul Cameron was smashing it. Despite having to walk one of the nastier hills toward the end of the route, he still managed to beat some of the 50k cyclists home!

Charlotte and Ian ran the entire course together, with Ian stealing all of Charlottes water 

“I’m buying him his own rucksack next time” she laughs “It was really nice having all the bikes racing past us in the last 5 miles or so”

Sounds like a good time was had by all.

Riga Marathon Festival

The Latvian City of Riga.

An unlikely venue for a running festival…. or not as the case turned out as 2 or our intrepid trotting tourists Ian Dyer and Danny Faulkner found out.

“It was brilliantly organised with loads of different races on” Ian informs me 

After flying out on Thursday, the pair spent a couple of days exploring this historic city and collecting their numbers from the expo.

Set on the estuary of the River Daugava as it meets the Baltic Sea, this former European city of culture has a rich heritage. Famous for its 19th century wooden buildings, art nouveau architecture and medieval old town, it’s easy to see why this city played host to 1.4 million visitors last year. 

4243 of which have travelled there from 78 different nations to take part in the weekend’s racing.This bronze standard IAAF event is relatively new, but is growing year on year. 

With a variety of distances on offer this event is truly inclusive. From a kiddies race to the more grown up 6k, 10k, half marathon and a full 26.2, there are a real family festival atmosphere. Ian opted for the marathon whilst Danny went for the half. The unearthly start time of 8.30 didn’t sound too unappealing until they realised the 2 hour time difference

“I am not thrilled to be running at this time in the morning, but hey ho!” Danny quips on Facebook just before the race.

Unperturbed, they unusually started off at the same time in the heart of Old Riga. Following largely the same course, both the marathon and half straddle both sides of the Daugava River, crossing all three of its bridges at some point in the race inbetween touring the Pardaugava, the Hanseatic Old Town, Kipsala Island and Art Nouveau District, with the marathon taking a few extra out and back sections too. This virtually flat course also enjoys the luxury of traffic free roads. Add in bands, choirs, folk dancers and “flag avenue” and you can see why this event is on the path to becoming one of the greatest events in Europe.

Danny made it back to the embankment finishline in a fantastic 1.30.20. 

“The temperature was baking in places” he said 

It didn’t seem to affect his performance however as he finished in an amazing 43rd out of some 7000 competitors. 

Ian was still out there on the course, with the temperature going up and up.

“The atmosphere was brilliant” he said later in the day.

He enjoyed the race and practically danced down the finishing straight, waving his arms in the air and raising a cheer from the crowds with a big smile on his face to cross the line in 4.18.41. Watch his great finish here…..

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“I’m pleased with my time considering my injury” he beams

And so he should be. 

Time for a beer …. Priekā

Netley 10k – HRRL #10

The 10th race of the HRRL season took place just across the water in Southampton. The Royal Victoria Country Park was the venue for Southampton Athletic Clubs 10k race. 

Adjoining Netley Police College and close to the Hamble River, this race was sold out early, as runners scramble to improve their positions in the league in the last few races.

The runners blasted their way around the winding 3 laps of the Country Park to then muster all they have left for a last 600m dash to the finish line adjacent to the historic chapel.

Cole Pearce was the first Road runner back in a magnificent 36 minutes and 10th overall. Ross Wilkes wasn’t too far behind him in 20th place with Simon Pilcher hot on his heels in 21st. Both lads getting themselves PBs to boot.

“I’m so damn pleased” said Ross “I’ve finally broken the 6 minute mile barrier”

They also managed to take 3rd place men’s team between them, giving themselves a real chance of league promotion with only 2 races left to run. 

Stu Backhouse was next home in under 38 minutes grabbing 3rd V45, with Matt Fletcher still managing to defy his double hernia to arrive over the line in just under 40 minutes and Nick Kenney a minute later. Next was a tussle between the self proclaimed Punk rock King of awesomeness Dean Pike and George Butler, who took a staggering 4 minutes off his PB as he just pipped Dean on the line.

Trish lead the girls home to a a victory in the V50 category, with Jodie only a couple of minutes behind. Great running from these two ladies as they are finding their form once more after injury. Lizzie Pilcher was the next lady home (with a tidy PB), to complete the ladies team, giving them a fantastic 5th place overall.

Darren Dollery also secured himself a PB. In his first trip away with the club, he was pleased as punch. Tarnia Eldridge also continued her return to form with a fantastically paced race, followed by Sarah Holmes and 1 second later Zoe Sherwin. 

Ladies Captain was next home with a very smiley finish followed by Sarah Sharp and Bridget Keyte. Caroline Curliss finished strongly down the final straight with Claire Jasper and her 18 week baby bump looking fantastic as she crossed the line outside the Chapel.

Great running team 

 

Cole Pearce-36.09

Ross Wilkes- 36.53

Simon Pilcher-37.01

Stu Backhouse-37.40

Matt Fletcher-39.54

Nick Kenney-40.52

George Butler-41.13

Dean Pike- 41.14

Trish Train-42.28

Jodie Wilmott-44.58

Darren Dollery-45.36

Lizzie Pilcher-46.30

Tarnia Eldridge-48.15

Sarah Holmes-48.55

Zoe Sherwin-48.56

Julie Ray-52.27

Sarah Sharp-55.07

Bridget Keyte-1.01.04

Caroline Curliss-1.01.17

Claire Jasper-1.10.28

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……..