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New Forest Marathon Festival

The annual away day.
A coach load of sleepy roadrunners piling onto an obscenely early ferry. All blagging the free hot water on the ferry to chomp on their porridge, fuelling up for the day ahead.

A change of venue for this year’s little jaunt. Decided by the runners themselves via a Facebook poll, the New Forest Festival of Running became the chosen destination. With 4 distances on offer, there was instant take up for this day out, with the coach full up, and others travelling independently. 5k, 10k, a half marathon and full were on offer to attempt.

A beautiful sunrise gradually wiped the sleep from the runners eyes during their ferry journey across the water.

A short drive from Lymington into the forest, the runners arrived with an hour to spare for the marathoners to collect their numbers and perform their last minute preparations.

9am and the marathoners were off on their journeys. Our team of 10 set out into the forest, with a fantastic wave off from the rest of the roadrunners. Forest paths, wet under foot stretched out before them, interspersed with country roads and muddy track.

It wasn’t long before the half runners, were doing the same. All 30 of them followed the same course as the marathon for 9 miles before turning back for home,

The 10k went next for the off following a parts of the same routes as the others, all on forest track, as they ran from enclosure to enclosure.

Last but not least Sara Truckel and son Stanley set off on the 5k route, whilst they awaited daddy Steve Rumsey’s return from the marathon.

“It was really muddy the whole way” said Sara “Stanley just ploughed through the puddles”

Despite this they both ran brilliantly, with young Stanley taking after his speedy parents in a fantastic time of 37.24, just pipping his mum on the line!

The 10k finishers were also just starting to come across the line. With Micheal Douglas, fresh from his success in Andover last week coming over the line in a superb 6th place and under 40 minutes. Matt Fletcher was the next Roadrunner home in just over 43 minutes and 24th overall and Ashleigh Douglas finishing next in 23rd Female in were Julia, Julie R and Bridget, followed by Lucy and Tanya. Lucy bagging 5th V60 to boot.

The half marathoners were next to trickle across the line, the weather still holding out for the most part. Pete Wilmott was the first club member home and an amazing 28th overall and 2nd in his age category. Next in was Nick Kenney closely followed by Donnacha Deasy with a tidy PB and both making the top 20 in their age categories. Trish Train was next home in a fantastic 7th Female and 1st v50 follwed by Sharon McNally a few minutes later to take 2nd V50 and 17th Female.

In they came one by one, all having enjoyed the course and it’s beautiful views across the heathland with the wild ponies wandering about. Some ran in pairs for company, others going it alone. PBs were showered around like fairy dust with Steve Webb, James Shoulder, Nick Scott-Denness, Harry Vernon, Margaret Niland-Murphy (also 7th in her age category) Jenny Dewing, Bel Rockall, Alison Butcher and Sue Meredith all running out of their skins and achieving more than they ever had before.

But the best was yet to come….

The marathon was approaching the business end of the race with only the final miles left to negotiate.

“There was 2 of us up front for the entire race” said our little speed king Bill Goozee “I was feeling comfortable the whole way. There way a bit of downhill from about mile 20 onward, so I really opened up and pulled away”

And that is where he stayed, in front, Yes he did it again! He only went and won the damn thing! 2hours and 47 minutes and 44 seconds that’s all it took him! And in a PB too!

Next under the archway came Stanleys dad Steve claiming 18th place overall and 7th in his V40 category. With Andy MacArthur next in a massive 27 minute PB of 3.17.43, not bad considering he didn’t wear his watch! Kieron Snow was next home in under 3.20 (again a pb!) as was Michael Coultrup taking 7 minutes off his and finally gaining himself a good for age qualifying time.

Young Harry Rann came in next. Despite being only his second marathon, he ran a massive PB of 34 minutes. The was first of the girls not too far behind. Sarah Holmes stormed in as the 19th Female overall, 5th V40 and also getting herself a good for age time and a Pb.

“I am speechless”, unusual for her, “I really didn’t think that would happen today. I thought I’d start out at a reasonable pace and wait for the wheels to fall off… they stayed on! Can’t believe it!”

Tim, Paul (Pb for him too!) and Julie followed across the line.

All home. All safe. All happy. Time to celebrate!

Stanley Rumsey – 37.24
Sara Truckel – 37.28

Michael Douglas-39.08
Matt Fletcher-43.09
Ashleigh Douglas-51.29
Julia Parker-57.44
Julie Rasmussen-58.02
Bridget Keyte-1.04.52
Lucy Deville-1.05.43
Tanya Clifford-1.09.14

1/2 Marathon
Peter Wilmott-1.25.33
Nick Kenney-1.31.25
Donnacha Deasy-1.31.30
Trish Train-1.32.35
Sharon McNally-1.37.22
Gordon Mucklow-1.37.45
Steve Webb-1.44.00
Garry Sharp-1.44.54
Jodie Wilmott-1.46.17
Tim Keyte-1.46.17
James Shoulder-1.46.58
Nick Scott-Denness-1.47.18
Harry Vernon-1.48.12
Margaret Niland Murphy-1.50.39
Jenny Dewing-1.51.39
Zoe Sherwin-1.55.41
Charlotte Williams-1.56.26
Martin Keyworth-1.59.27
Stephen Hickman-2.01.10
George Butler-2.04.44
Tarnia Eldridge-2.04.45
Sarah Sharp-2.07.38
Bel Rockall-2.07.38
Kim Hulacka-2.07.38
Jess Hill-2.07.45
Alison Butcher-2.09.55
Sue Meredith-2.10.03
Callie Hatcher-2.14.03
Ian Williams-2.23.36
Lyn Snow-2.57.50

Bill Goozee-2.47.44
Steve Rumsey-3.10.56
Andrew MacArthur-3.17.43
Kieron Snow-3.19.24
Michael Coultrup-3.19.58
Harry Rann-3.37.13
Sarah Holmes-3.46.51
Tim Cordery-3.48.13
Paul Butcher-4.12.47
Julie Salter-4.23.27

Bayside 5k

Sharon McNally was the only Roadrunner make the midweek journey across the water to take part in the last of the Lakeside 5k series.

Starting at the North Harbour complex between Cosham and Port Solent, this 5k is one of a series of 5 in which participants gain points as they compete for an overall winner at the end.

“I went over as needed to do a race before the half at New Forest next weekend”

This was Sharon’s only race of the series however, so no overall position for her. She did however pull a tidy pb out of the bag! She was 2nd V50 and 24th female overall against some very stiff competition, so well done Sharon.

Andover Trail Races

A soggy start to September racing saw 3 of our team mates, tackle the trails of the Test Valley.

Michael and Ashleigh Douglas unconventionally celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary by running the 10k race and Steve Hickman celebrated his 141st anniversary (of running a marathon) by running, yes you’ve guessed it…… the marathon!

Both races began at Enham Alamein in Andover. The 10k wound its way along to Smannell, through Little London before taking the footpaths and bridleways back to the start.

“It was a good course. My first ever trail run. Not as flat as I thought, but still good fun. I haven’t been running as much lately due to tight hip flexors but I still finished around 53 mins. Not my fastest, but to be honest, I’m just glad I finished!” said Ashleigh

Not as glad as her husband was to finish though. He won! What an amazing anniversary present! His first ever overall win.

“I couldn’t be happier! To get my first win on our first wedding anniversary! It was a great course, a good mixture of terrain” said our champion ” I just felt good from the start. There was a pack of three of us for the first half, but I managed to pull clear and get the win by quite some way by the end”

The first of many wins I suspect for our Dynamo Douglas.

Scores on the doors…

Michael – 40.34
Ashleigh – 53.21

In the marathon, Steve also finished with a smile on his face, despite getting a bit lost at mile 21.

“I loved it! It was a good old fashioned, hard as nails, trail marathon in the pouring rain. It was a great run route”

The course meandered from Enham through Hurstbourne Tarrent, upto Combe and then slowly wound its way back via Vernham Dean and back to the start.

He finished, soaked to the skin, but happy in 5.05.28

Great trail running from our 3 “roadies”

Bayside Duathlon

Our very own track stars Darren Cole and Abigail Farwell were bright eyed and bushy tailed on the 6 am ferry for the the early 8am start of Bayside Tri’s Super Sprint Duathlon. No mean feat considering Abi had been at a music festival the day before and Darren attending a Zombie themed wedding!

“We only had 4 hours sleep” said Abi

But you’d never guess. They were on that startline at Stokes Bay in Gosport on time and ready to go.

The distance was a super sprint, which consists of a 2.5k run, a 10k cycle then a second 2.5k run. It was Abi’s first ever Duathlon. She is a more than competent cyclist and brilliant runner as we know, but doing it with seamless transition under pressure is difficult. For Darren it was less nerve wracking as he has competed in similar events before.

They set off on the first run. Fast and flat (including Gosport’s Golden Mile) along the promenade. Our track teamsters got a fantastic start. Both Darren and Abi pulled ahead of their competitors straight away, despite a unforgiving side wind.

They returned to the car park at the to transition seamlessly onto their bikes. They maintained their leads as they made their way on wheels through Lee-on-Solent on to the turning point at Dadealus Airfield. It was here that Abi was caught by the eventual women’s winnner. But she kept battling away, trying to not lose any more ground.

They then made the last switch back onto their feet. Darren still way out in front and Abi still chasing the leader. The wind wasn’t abating and Abi was feeling the effects.

“It was the weirdest sensation. I felt like I wasn’t moving, like I was in slo-mo” she shared with me the next day

But she was moving, moving at the speed of light, trying to claw back the lead. But the leader was too far ahead and Abi just ran out road. Darren had stormed in for the overall win, in a fantastic 34.42, ahead of a Team GB age group Triathlete!
Abi came over the line 2nd lady and 8th overall in super duper 40.50
What a fantastic duathlon debut from our dynamo duo.

Overton 5 – HRRL #1

First race of the Hampshire Road Race League. It heralds the end of Summer and the beginning of the new racing calendar.

Hosted by Overton Harriers, the season kicked off in damp conditions with 16 of our club members taking the journey over the water and up to the top of the County for the unusually late 2pm start.

The course is flat and fast, blowing away the cobwebs from the Summer break. Following country lanes, mostly closed to traffic, the course begins at Berrydown toward Quidhampton and then out toward Ashe Warren before returning back on itself and splitting at Quidhampton to return to the Race HQ at Overton Recreation Centre.

First in for the Roadrunners was Cole Pearce, making his league debut for the club in a tidy sub half an hour. Next in was Danny Faulkner, proving “the force is returning” after a little spell of resting. Speaking of return to form, Trish Train was next to march over the line in a magnificent 10th female position and 1st in her age category, showing that her days on the injury bench are behind her. Hot on her heels were Simon Riley and Matt Fletcher. Garry Sharp was next to arrive home, followed by running duo Judy McCabe and Steve Bennett. Next was Kev Rann, Nick Scott-Denness and James Shoulder. Then in came the rest of the girls. Ladies Captain Julie Ray, followed by Sarah Sharp (taking yet another PB) , Bridget Keyte, Tanya Clifford, Coral Leach and Lyn Snow all crossed the line a little soggy, but satisfied with their times.

PBs were achieved by Matt Fletcher, Nick Scott-Denness, James Shoulder and Sarah Sharp.

Great way to open the batting for the IWRR for the coming season in the league so well done gang

Cole Pearce – 29.52
Danny Faulkner – 30.08
Trish Train – 32.20
Simon Riley – 32.30
Matt Fletcher – 32.36
Garry Sharp – 35.01
Judy McCabe – 36.07
Steve Bennett – 36.08
Kevin Rann – 37.03
Nick Scott-Denness – 38.52
James Shoulder – 39.08
Julie Ray – 41.18
Sarah Sharp – 42.27
Bridget Keyte – 48.27
Tanya Clifford – 53.08
Coral Leach – 53.22
Lyn Snow – 58.37

Canterbury Half Marathon

It’s not very often I get to say this, but marathon supremo Steve Hickman ran a half on Bank Holiday Monday over in his home County Kent.

Scorching temperatures of 25c made an already challenging course all the more difficult. Starting at Merton Farm, just south of the city, the undulating course is a lollypop route following narrow country lanes out to Petham before turning for home at Waltham eventually back on itself to return to Merton Farm.

“It was boiling hot and very hilly, particularly at 11 miles. I had to climb up Heartbreak Hill” he said

Steve came in 2 seconds shy of two and a quarter hours, great running in that heat!The race was raising funds for the Pilgrims Hospices, a charity very close to Steve’s heart. So well done Steve, all that hot work was worth it. Nice bling!

“I’ll probably forget how hard it was and do it again next year!”

East Farm Frolic

The distance kings were at it again this weekend. 12 hours of ultra running. A lapped course through field and forest, uphill and downhill, climbing over hay bales and loving at the Lovestation. 6.2km every lap. This is White Star Running’s East Farm Frolic.

Our 3 musketeers of experienced ultra ubers Ian Russell, Dan Williams and Michael Coultrup had a new apprentice. Our little marathon wizard Bill Goozee went along for the ride, having never run an ultra or a lapped race of this sort.

Based around the farm near Winterbourne in Dorset. Our Fab Four (and Dan’s girlfriend Kay), set up camp on Saturday, in preparation for the early start on Sunday.

They all started off steadily. Michael, Dan and Bill going slightly ahead with Ian taking it a little easier.

They managed to keep together for 4 laps before Dan and Bill started to pull ahead.

After 7 laps their first marathons were complete. Dan and Bill coming in in just over 3 and a half hours, Michael and Ian just over 4.

“My knees were already hurting” said Michael. His long term injuries had been playing up of late “l’d decided to make it to marathon distance then jolly the rest. I took long breaks, stopped and chatted to folk”

Onward they went, round and round the course. Taking breaks as and when they needed. The mercury was really rising now, as the temperatures were hitting around 25c. Poor Dan started to suffer with cramp at mile 38, which then plagued him the rest of the way.

“My hamstrings and calves started to cramp constantly. I had to let Bill go on and turn into bit of a ramble after that” said Dan

Bill was 3 laps off the leader at this point. But after leaving Dan, he injected a bit of extra pace and set about trying to catch the leader. Dan and Ian battled on for another 2 laps, second marathons completed, each taking their tally to 16. It was then that they called it a day.

“I didn’t get lost this time! I did no training so I am very happy with distance! whoop whoop bring on the next one!” beams Ian

“That was a hot one and a sufferfest. I called it a day at 52.8 miles, a double marathon. Happy enough with that” said Dan

The light was fading. The 12 hours were almost up. It was 7.55pm and Michael decided to do one more lap. Bill was still out in the course, still making up ground on the leader.

Meanwhile Bill was triumphantly doing his last one …. 22 in total, unbelievably he’d made up those 3 missing laps, but was only just short on time in the end. He crossed the line for the final time coming 2nd place overall and 72 miles, (breaking the course record set by our own Mr. Coultrup the year before).

“I loved it! I found the environment great. That bit of time you get to slow down grab some food have a drink and a chat helped me get through the distance. It was one of them days for me when you just feel good running. A massive shout out for mick and dan from me for teaching me how to run it and Kay for her support”

Speaking of Mr. C, his second wind in the final stages earnt him 3rd place overall. Dan and Ian’s distances had bagged them 4th and 5th respectively. Great result for all of them. Even Kay surpassed herself and ran and unexpected marathon.

Fantastic results guys, we look forward to your next adventure.

Bill Goozee – 72 miles – 12.25.49
Michael Coultrup – 59.7 miles – 12.38.59
Dan Williams – 53 miles – 10.19.26
Ian Russell – 53 miles – 11.02.20

Challenge 40

Most people when they get to a big Birthday would have a party, go on a holiday or treat themselves to something luxurious right?
Not our Julie Dixon….. oh noooooooo!
She decided to celebrate her upcoming 40th birthday with a tiny challenge. A little test of her endurance. A small measure of her metal.
She dreamt up an ultra, all based around the numbers 4 and 40.

And so it was born…
4km Sea Swim
140km Bike ride
40km Row
40km Run
40 hours
Challenge 40

Somehow this crazy idea caught on and she managed to enlist some other willing participants with enough chutzpah to give it a go. Husband and fellow Roadrunner Pete Dixon along with friends Martin Scotcher, Shaun Overton and Sam Grist and Clare Griffin all took the challenge on to make Julie’s 40th Birthday one she would never forget. They then decided to turn it into a fundraiser for West Wight Sports Centre, where Julie works as a fitness instructor. Months and months of preparation then followed to not only ensure that they were all fit enough for each discipline, but that every leg of the event ran smoothly.

Thursday 24th August.
Time to get this show on the road!

Alum Bay to Colwell Bay. 2 and a half miles in the sea kicked off this epic adventure.

“I had a great swim” said Pete “I was consistent and I felt really strong. It was a relief as I bailed on the training swim”
Different story for Julie though as she readily admits she’s not keen on sea swimming
“It is by far my weakest element. I was so slow both the support boat and kayak offered me a tow haha! I was last one out, but I made it. I was glad to get to it out of the way”

The whole crew made it onto dry land as they recouperated with a 2 hour break before heading out onto the bikes in two separate groups.

“I headed out on the bike feeling good” said Pete “I had my best friend and inspiration by my side (the wife) along with friends Jo and Johnny to pace us”

They met the other group at Bembridge as they had a quick pit stop for lunch before continuing forever onward, ticking off the miles as they went.

They got back to West Wight Sports Centre, joyful at thinking they’d successfully completed day one of the challenge. However they were to soon discover that a miscalculation in the conversion of km to miles meant that the 79 miles they’d blistered through wasn’t enough!

“That was a lesson learnt!” Julie told me as we jogged along at the start of the run leg the next day “If your event is in km, don’t leave your watch on miles!”

So they reluctantly got back on their bikes, sore, but determined to nail the challenge to the letter.

Finally they finished, got themselves a massage, a well earnt dinner and a good nights sleep.

“I felt so good and positive after day 1” said Julie

Day 2

A 4.30am alarm call woke team awesome (or should it be oarsome! – sorry that pun was dreadful!), to get them out early to prepare their 6 gig boat for the row scheduled to begin at 7.15am. The conditions were perfect, with a mirror glass sea as the tug boat took them from Yarmouth to Alum Bay.

The tide was with them at first and they were flying along at 8-9mph laughing, joking and singing all the way. They slowed when they got past Ryde as the tide changed. But it didn’t deter the group, they had made up so much time that they could afford to slow up a little.

A welcoming party had gathered on the shore at Bembridge as they made their way in. Friends, support crew and some trusty Roadrunners had turned up to see them on their way for the last and possibly biggest test of all … the 40k run back to the West Wight Sports Centre.

“I still didn’t feel tired” said Julie

Pete wasn’t feeling quite as fresh as the row had taken its toll on his lower back.

“I was in a fair bit of pain by this point, the discomfort in my back was sending pains down my leg, I knew it was going to take everything I had left to get through that run”

2 o’clock. Time to start the grande finale. 25 miles lay ahead of them. Temperatures were in the 20s as they set off, so dehydration was a real risk here.

They ran altogether on road from the Duver at St Helens on road to the end of the the cycle path at Fairway Sandown. It was here that they split according to their estimated pace and confidence over the distance. Julie went ahead taking Glen Jones and Hayley Baxter for company, Sam and Martin ran together with support crew Jo and Johnny whilst Pete ran with newbie runner Shaun (he was one of Julie’s couch to 5k students at the beginning of the year!) and friend Sarah Remnant, who was also new to the distance. Roadrunners Alison Batchelor and Sarah Holmes kept them company, with Jane Andrew arriving on her bike soon after.

“What a joy and an honour it was to see these guys through the first “half” of their journey. I felt like it was our job to keep them at a manageable pace and not let them fly out too quick and remind them to drink or take their gels at the right time.I was awestruck that they were all so chipper still, especially Shaun who was so new to running and Pete who was suffering with his back” said Holmsie

With regular check ins from their support crew along the way, offering them water, gels and jelly babies, the miles flew by and it was smiles all round. Suddenly they reached Shide Trees. Waiting here were Roadrunners Jodie Willmott, Sarah Sharp and Julie Ray along with Claire Campbell and Dan Morgan. The ladies ran with Julie up to the Eight Bells in Carisbrooke. Jodie and Claire then hooked up with Tim Keyte  to take Julie onward on the more challenging part of the journey on to the Tennyson Trail.

Sarah Sharp and Julie Ray turned back and returned to Shide where they waited for Pete to arrive, and escort him to the Eight Bells. Once he’d had a quick massage, he was off again. Still with Shaun and Sarah R he’d now picked up Martin for company. Julie Ray left them at this point, but Sarah Sharp continued with them to Jubilee Car Park before turning back.

Julie also parted company with some of her crew at this point. Jodie and Claire waved their goodbyes, leaving Julie with Tim and Dan, but joined by Louise Dover.
“I had sore hamstrings by now” said Julie “I was finally getting tired”

The most difficult miles were behind them now, all they had to do get up onto the golf course at Freshwater and hold on to the finish line at West Wight Sports Centre.

And that’s exactly what they did….. gritted teeth and determination, Julie even cranked up the pace to an awesome 8.30 min miles as home became only a couple of miles away.

They’d only gone and done it!!
224km behind them – AMAZING!!

Just Julie, Pete and Martin managed the entire challenge. (Poor Sam fell off his bike, Shaun couldn’t do the row and Clare couldn’t do all the run and swim)

“I am so grateful to everyone that helped make the challenge happen” said Julie the next day “we are so grateful to have such support around us. It was a brilliant experience over the 2 days”

Last word from Pete

“My lovely wife will have to think of another dastardly plan to try to kill me haha”

Don’t worry Pete you have another 10 years to wait hopefully…. you’d better get the holiday brochures out and book somewhere fast!!!!

Isle of Wight Half Marathon

A kind weather wizard blessed our Roadrunners at this year’s Isle of Wight Half Marathon. Sunny, but not as feverous as an August day could be, the conditions were favourable as they put their toes on the startline at Appley on Sunday.

Famously undulating, the course meanders from the park along Calthorpe Road and along Bullen Road before turning into Attrills Lane and then toward Nettlestone and then up Pondwell Hill.

It then turned back up Bullen Road for the second time before turning onto Beeper Shute before progressing onto a welcome bit of downhill in the shape of Carpenters Road and onto St.Helens.

They then headed back onto Attrills Lane, Bullen Road and Calthorpe Road for the equally undulating return journey before they finally reached the finish back at Appley Park.

Cole Pearce was the first Roadrunner across the line in 1.21.52 and a fantastic 10th overall followed by Bill Goozee 5 seconds later in 11th. Next in was Michael Douglas in 14th place and Simon Randall in 19th and 2nd in the MV40 age category.

For the ladies, Holly Newton was the first across the line in 1.41.53 and 6th female overall and got herself a massive PB in the process. She was followed by Julie Dixon in 16th who took 4th FV35 and Julie Salter who took 2nd FV50.

In they came, one by one. The temperatures were warm by the time the finished with the hills taking their toll, but they made it across the line to collect their beautiful bespoke medals.

Particular mention to Michael Coultrup, Dan Williams, Steve Bennett and Paul Butcher who somehow managed to bag themselves PBs, Sue Hunter who won her age category and Matthew Wade who made his debut over the half marathon distance.

Cole Pearce – 1.21.52
Bill Goozee – 1.21.57
Michael Douglas – 1.24.02
Simon Randall – 1.26.10
Simon Pilcher – 1.26.46
Danny Faulkner – 1.27.12
Tom Forster – 1.27.55
Steve Rumsey – 1.29.14
Matt Fletcher – 1.33.36
Dean Pike – 1.35.37
Michael Coultrup – 1.38.00
Dan Williams – 1.38.53
Steve Bennett – 1.40.45
Donnacha Deasy – 1.41.49
Holly Newton – 1.41.53
Tim Keyte – 1.43.36
Julie Dixon – 1.49.24
Paul Butcher – 1.57.02
Julie Salter – 1.57.02
Karen Phillips – 2.00.13
Kelly Forster – 2.01.13
Charlotte Williams – 2.02.08
Dave Wilcock – 2.04.44
Pete Dixon – 2.08.54
Fiona Atwood – 2.10.32
Lisa Upstell – 2.13.18
Elaine Harris – 2.13.19
Sue Hunter – 2.14.23
Belinda Rockall – 2.16.11
Alison Butcher – 2.20.02
Ian Williams – 2.24.27
Nick Stilwell – 2.24.35
Coral Leach – 2.45.20
Jo Randall – 2.46.28
Matthew Wade – 2.46.29
Lynn Snow – 2.55.39

Team Positions
4th – Bill Goozee, Michael Douglas, Simon Randall
5th – Simon Pilcher, Danny Faulkner, Tom Forster
8th – Steve Rumsey, Matt Fletcher, Dean Pike

2nd – Holly Newton, Julie Dixon, Julie Salter
4th – Karen Phillips, Kelly Forster, Charlotte Williams
6th – Fiona Attwood, Lisa Upstell, Elaine Harris

Midnight Marathon

The beautiful South Downs Way.
26.2 miles of gorgeous undulating countryside and the setting for Second Wind Running’s midnight marathon. To quote the website…

“A great way to run at night with others on a course that is simple to follow”

Did you all read that correctly… “simple to follow”

Enter into the equation, the carnage squad of Michael Coultrup, Dan Williams, Bill Goozee, Ian Russell and the late addition of marathon novice Harry Rann.
And all idea of simple went out of the window.

This “lads night out” as it was described on Facebook began on Saturday evening as the group embarked upon their journey to Petersfield.

Starting at Queen Elizabeth Country Park at 9pm, our crazy night owls had half an hour of sunlight before it dipped below the horizon and the real test started.

After the first few initial miles around the country park the course then led our fab 5 up on the the chalky climbs on the South Downs Way, nearly 4000ft of ascent before them.

Up on the ancient ridges they headed toward Buriton, Ditcham, South Harting before they turned at Cocking -the halfway point, for the return on this out and back.

Apart from those first couple of miles in the country park, there was no race signage for the rest of the course and the runners had to follow the normal, public signs for the South Downs Way. Probably easier said than done in the dark as a few of our boys got lost!

“You really had to be on the look out for the signs” said Ian “they were only marked with little reflectors. We were warned at the start it was hard to see. In hindsight I should have downloaded the map, I couldn’t find it when I needed it as there was no phone signal for over an hour”

And boy did poor Ian need it. He ran with Harry to begin with, keeping the youngster company on his first outing over the distance. But Ian turned his ankle badly at around the 6 mile mark and reduced his pace afterwards as it was sore. Harry went on ahead and Ian was fine on his own until he somehow went off course at around 23 miles.

“I’d run about 5 miles off course before it became apparent that I must have taken a wrong turn, (I would have found the finish line otherwise!),  so me and another runner turned back to try to find our way. We had no google maps as we had no phone signal, so we ran another 5 miles before we realised we were actually, completely lost. We tried to knock on few doors for help, but no-one was answering. It was the middle of the night I guess! The other runner I was with finally managed to make a phone call and got us a lift back onto the course. We had run 33 miles by then and were exhausted. We found our way back onto the right route and ran in over the line! After all we had run a marathon! Just not the right marathon haha!”

Bill interestingly took the same wrong turn, but realised his mistake sooner and turned back and found his way to the finish line in a fantastic 3.47.52 and 6th overall.

Dan completed his race, drama free to finish in 12th position and 4.08.03
“I broke a rib 3 weeks ago! I felt it, but I am glad I ran. What a great lad’s night out!”

Harry, finally popped his marathon cherry, to come across the line in 4.11.45. Unbelievably he’d done no training whatsoever as he took someone else’s spot only that morning.
“It was great, I really enjoyed it. I ran the first bit with Ian, then picked the pace up. I started to struggle from mile 21 onwards, but it was great. I loved it”

Michael Coultrup was next home in 4.14.56. A good performance from the hill king considering his recent knee injuries
“I thoroughly enjoyed this run despite concern about my knees. It’s not my fastest time, but a result after the worry”

They all enjoyed a drink or two and a complementary bowl of chilli as they waited for poor Ian to return.
Finally he arrived back where he had started in 6.51.54. Relieved to be back with the boys only to be ribbed unmercifully about his “detour”