Yep! He’s back out there again! Steve Hickman lined up for marathon number 172 on Sunday 20th March as he took on this beast of an off road challenge.
Named after the late Chris Moyle, (a much loved local runner), this epic run starts at Wallands School in Lewes. From the off it was on the up as the hills (all 3000 feet of them!), started immediately.
Steve embarked on his journey up the “Black Cap” and then Castle Hill before a welcome downhill breather toward Kingston.
Up, down, up, down. The hills were relentless. The steep descents feeling a lot shorter than the sharp ascents. Woodlands, footpaths and the locally known “Yellow Brick Road” took Steve to the halfway point at Southease.
To get back up onto the South Downs Way, the field of 205 runners had to tackle the “Southease Monster” which is essentially a 5 mile uphill drag. After following the ridge Steve reached Bopeep Bostal and a bit of relief as a few miles of downhill and, after 20 miles, the first bit of tarmac road. Through the village of Firle and the picturesque Glynde before turning back onto the footpaths to tackle the beastly Mount Caburn.
At the summit, the 360 degree view was a welcome sight, not only for its breathtaking beauty, but for the knowledge that it’s the last biggun’ and at 24 miles, any marathon runner can tell you the big sigh of relief that comes with that.
Of course there were still 2 miles to go, but Steve was on the home leg. Past Lewes Golf Course it was downhill all the way now. The busy High Street negotiated and finishline came into view, all the more welcome as it was outside a brewery.
Steve described this one as “a never again marathon” and in the words of one of Steves friends “it makes Beachy Head look flat”
“It darn near broke me” said Steve but that asides, that’s Marathon number 172 …. done.
Week at the Knees is an endurance event which challenges competitors to run 7 marathons in 7 days, that’s a whopping total of 183.4 miles across the week. Monday 7th March 2022 marked the return of this mammoth event since the Covid pandemic started, and across the 7 days a total of 60 competitors ran at least one of the races.
3 of the races are staged around Willen Lake, the last 4 around Caldecott Lake, both on the outskirts of Milton Keynes.
And guess what, yep “One More Marathon Man” and second claim club member Glen Jones decided this event had got his name written all over it and boldly and bravely took part to represent the Isle of Wight Road Runners, but also with the objective of fundraising for his favourite and close to his heart charity, the NSPCC.
Glen had to put a lot of thought and training into this challenge, not only was this going to be a feat of strength and endurance to keep those legs going but the mental battle to keep going when all your body wants to do is stop was going to be immense!
One big area of consideration for Glen was pacing. Although he was fit enough to be running a sub 4 marathon, this was a completely different challenge. This was about running 7 marathons, one a day! The plan was to aim for around 5 hours per day and that’s how our marathon loving loon started his Week at the Knees challenge.
Day 1 got underway, and Glen started to plod out laps of Willen Lake, taking in the picturesque scenery that was to be the backdrop for his first three marathons.
There were around 30 runners each day, but intending to do all 7 days, there were only 15, so Glen would no doubt get to recognise and know his fellow runners the further they went through the week……….I’m pretty sure he’d be on first name terms with the swans too after running endless circles around the lake for 3 days!
Paced perfectly, day one came to a close with a finish time of 4:52:57. Making sure he set the precedent for the six days to follow, Glen sensibly made sure to take breaks later on in his run ensuring adequate refuelling and enough time to stick plasters on sore things!
Day 2 brought a visit from his old nemesis, and in his own words “that big yellow source of pain hanging in the sky!” the sunshine. Despite a chilly start, as the hours wore on, the sun shone, and by the end Glen said he was feeling fairly rubbish. The finish time on day 2 was a brilliant 4:53:57, only a minute off the previous days time, but it wasn’t until later that evening that Glen realised how much the sun had had an impact on how he felt.
Unable to find an appetite to even eat breakfast the following morning and after seeking advice from friends and fellow runners, Glen decided he needed to tone things down if he was going to get through the next 5 days. So slow it down he did, and day 3 concluded in a time of 5:08:17, but he finished feeling happy again and back on track for marathon number 4.
Day 4 arrived and it was time for a welcome change of scenery. This was to be the first of 4 marathons at Caldecott Lake. The slower pacing strategy was going well and Glen brought Day 4 home in 5:01:15. However, not all was rosy in the running garden and those pesky niggles that we all know and usually choose to ignore, started to rear their ugly heads and Glens right leg started to grumble.
Day 5 brought with it its own source of sunshine, but not in the form of the big yellow ball in the sky, but in the form of fellow club member, friend and running buddy Keith Ruth. Keith had made the awesome gesture of coming up from the Isle of Wight to run one of the marathons with Glen having run 2 marathons with him in 2021 when he’d run 3 in 3. Despite having a great time running together, Glens running was more guarded as he continued to nurse the pains in his right leg but the giggles and mickey taking quite obviously carried them both along and day 5 came to a close in an astonishing 5:06:37.
5 marathons down and only two to go!!!!! The finish line (or two in this case) is actually in sight!
Day 6 and the most important job in order to get a glimpse of day 7 was to protect the calf injury. An interesting thing happened though and Glen found that the pain in the calf actually felt worse the slower he ran so for the last couple of laps he picked up the pace a little, and it actually felt a bit better. A couple of stronger laps got him home in 5:10:12.
Described by the man himself as being “A bit like a really shit Groundhog Day, each day the alarm went off and I realised I was running another marathon!” he had finally made it to day 7.
But here’s the dilemma. It felt better to run faster, so what to do??? Take it steady again and make sure he got Day 7 finished, or be a little bolder. Well what do you think he did????
He went faster of course! 😉
Setting out after already running 157.2 miles that week and feeling extremely emotional at being on the last day, Glen tells me that “Once I was into my running I knew I was going to finish it and I just felt so happy and proud.”
And proud he should be as he put everything he had into this last amazing challenge…….and lets just remember that ONE marathon on it own is a challenge, this is absolutely mammoth!!! Did it hurt, “yes” he said, but at least he knew that he was going to finish quicker and then the pain would stop!
Our crazy marathon man battled with every fibre of his body and mind telling him enough was enough and pushed on to finish in a phenomenal time of 4:14:14. 40 minutes quicker than the other days and dropping his average time for the whole seven days to under 5 hours per marathon. Glen finished Day 7 in 6th position out of 37 runners!
What a challenge it had been, 7 marathons in a row when he’d only done 3 in a row before. 186 miles in a week when the most he’d run before was about 80. Glen said of the event “It was a massive physical and mental challenge, but it felt massively rewarding to finish it with a flourish, and to see some donations come in for the NSPCC.”
And would you believe it, as the perfect reward for all of the hard work, the fundraising efforts, the blood, the sweat and the blisters, he only went and found out on the way home that he’d bagged himself a ballot place for the London Marathon, and after a few calls with the charity, both himself and Ruth, aka Mrs. Jones, will now be able to run for the NSPCC. Congratulation guys, what a day to remember that will be!
Glen, we are so proud of you. What an awesome achievement! Very well done…………but will you now have a rest please!
Set in the beautiful countryside of the Larmer Tree Gardens and the Rushmore estate on the Dorset & Wiltshire border, an unusually tiny team in comparison to previous years of 2 Road Runners set off for the Larmer Tree Half Marathon race on Saturday 5th March.
The undulation on all the races at Larmer is relentless with an absolute whopper of a climb reaching a nose bleed inducing 841 feet right in the middle. Ventnor’s St.Boniface Down is 702ft as a little comparison for you. 😲
After her recent return to running following the arrival of baby Hugo early last year, our running ray of sunshine Lou Howell decided to take on the half marathon with brother and current London Marathon training partner Nick, and of course no half marathon within easy reach could possibly be resisted by our amazing Lyn Snow.
Lou looked like she had an amazing time and fully enjoyed being back out on the Larmer course. She crossed the line in a brilliant 2:32:01 taking 15th position in her age category. Well done Lou!
Lyn, completed the days proceedings for team IOWRR. Despite suffering from a niggly knee she wasn’t going to let that stop her and was determined to finish the race after having to pull out the last time she entered. And with the support of friends on the course that’s exactly what she did, bringing it home in 3:38:40.
“Lamer half done” said Lyn “got round in a time of about 3 hours 44 minutes. Thank you to Lisa Taylor and Cherry for sticking with me, hard going as my knee was playing up a bit, but that wasn’t going to stop me, last time I ran this I had to pull out,so that wasn’t going to happen again.” Awesome work Lyn as always.
Set in the beautiful South Downs between Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea, this challenging marathon is a real toughie.
The name Stinger refers to to the 4 stings (hills) encountered along the way. With a huge 2714ft of elevation between them, this can only ever be a tough day at the office.
Despite its famously challenging conditions, three of our fearless club members decided to go forth and conquer the hills to earn the reward of some shiny new bling and massive kudos for just being badass.
Marathon supremo Steve Hickman decided to go back for a 19th time (he must really love it! 😄) and was this time joined by best buddy and running companion Zoe Elliot and Steve Apsey.
Those hills were clearly no match for Steve Apsey who went and ran an absolutely cracking time, taking on the ups and downs of the course and crossing the line in a super speedy time of 4:02:06. Steve took the 8th position in his age category, 46th position overall out of a field of 257 and 37th male. Amazing work Steve, well done!
Luckily the recent stormy conditions had subsided and although the air temperature was still very much on the ‘fresh’ side those awful gusty winds that have been plaguing our girl Zoe after her recent bout of Covid had somewhat settled, and although being in two minds the week before whether to even start the race, in true Zoe style she put her trail shoes on and her and Mr Hickman went out together to give it a go.
Despite a tumble on the course and luckily nothing more than a grazed hand and arm Steve H ticked off Stinger number 19 and him and Zoe crossed the finish line together.
“Steyning Stinger marathon done!” said Zoe, “A bit of hill walking for Steve Hickman and myself and Hickman took a dive……..He barely moaned at all 🤣. Loved it!”
Awesome work Zoe! Was there really ever any doubt that she’d do it???…….certainly not.
Huge respect to all three of you for taking on a marathon that’s certainly not for the faint hearted,. You all did brilliantly! Well done. ⭐️
Sunday 27th February saw a very welcome return to what has fast become one of everyone’s favourite local running events, The Friendly Frolic.
A very friendly, low pressure running event starting at the Bargemans pub in Newport made up of 5 predefined loops. The idea is to run one or run all day.……that’s entirely up to you.
The loops were of different distances and sent runners off in various directions. The longest loop of 11 miles going out towards Cowes on the cycle track with a trip along the seafront and then back to Newport down the main road.
You could also choose from an out and back from Newport to Cowes for a flat 7 miler, a nice little 4 mile loop taking in the ‘fragrant’ fresh air and everyone’s favourite climb up Stag Lane, a scenic 4.5 mile trot around to Island Harbour, or if it really took your fancy a 5.3 mile trek ascending the snowy heights of Mountjoy Mountain.
The Frolic is the perfect chance for runners from all over the island to come together, do some running have a natter.…… oh.…..and as it’s conveniently at the pub, stay for a drink , coffee, food, whatever suited……….and that’s exactly what they did!
But as well as being a fantastic social event and the chance to run with like minded running friends, it is also a charity fundraising event, so whilst there is no predetermined entry fee to the event, participants are asked to make donations in order to raise money for organiser and second claim member Glen Jones’s charity of choice, the NSPCC, a brilliant cause and one very close to Glens heart.
A grand total of 116 runners turned up on the morning and were queuing at the door to sign up and get going. Runners from virtually all of the islands different running communities got together on what was a perfect day for it, and by all accounts a fantastic day was had by all.
A whopping total of 1200 miles were clocked up by everyone that ran and most importantly the sum of the donations at the end of the day totalled an absolutely amazing £652.16.
We are truly blessed to have such an amazing running community on our little island. Well done to everyone that took part and so generously donated. ❤️
Club member Guy Mattinson and second claim member Trish Train were the only IWRR’s to take the trip over to Berkshire on Sunday to take part in this long established race.
Since 1984, this county championship race has been producing Pb after Pb as its fast and flattish closed roads lend themselves perfectly to a speedy time.
Starting at Cantley Park, the course then winds its way along to Carters Hill before taking on what is known as “the straight mile” before snaking it’s way through some more rural roads as they headed through the villiage of Hurst before looping back to re-join “the straight mile” to power through to the finish back at Cantley Park.
Guy continued his current amazing running form and absolutely smashed it, proving that all that hard work and coaching is really paying off. Despite finding it a little quiet and missing the support of fellow club members cheering him on along the way, Guy made the most of the perfect running conditions and took a whopping 5:42 minutes off his previous fastest half to gain another shiny new Pb. Guy crossed the line with a fantastic gun time of 1:30:21.
Second claim club member Trish Train also ran her socks off. After focusing specifically on this race and working incredibly hard for months on the lead up, Trish achieved an outstanding time of 1.30.20, winning her age cat by 1 sec and qualifying for England Masters V55.
Huge congratulations to them both. Absolutely amazing running. x
On Sunday 27th February thousands of runners turned out for the 32nd Brighton Half Marathon race, with beautiful blue skies overhead.
The main race was started at 9am by Dame Kelly Holmes MBE who then jumped in and joined runners on their route through the city!
The route took in the stunning seafront cliff tops of east Brighton, the Royal Pavilion, The Grand Brighton hotel, the i360, the colourful beach huts of Hove seafront and the iconic Brighton Palace Pier, and somewhere amongst the crowd of thousands wearing her club colours with pride was our very own Half Marathon junkie, Lyn Snow.
Lyn ran brilliantly as always securing herself a fantastic finish time of 2:54:01 and yet another piece of medal bling to add to the ever increasing collection. Well done Lyn, you are amazing!
Sunday 20th February saw the 3rd and final race in the Ryde Harriers Cross Country series, the Arthur Biggs Handicap race, take place at Smallbrook Stadium, and following the disruption of storm Eunice on the Friday and her sidekick Franklin on Saturday, only one Road Runner boldly went where no other Road Runner dared.
Having competed in the previous two races and the only club member to be completing the full series, Sean Williams braved the blustery and “even muddier” than last time conditions and returned to the course for a third and final time, repeating the previous weeks circuit around from Smallbrook Stadium out toward Nunwell and back.
The aim of this series of races is to run your socks off to achieve your fastest times over the first two events and then a final push to improve once more for the finalé.
Competitors start at intervals based upon their finishing time in the previous races, so having been one of the race leaders on previous weeks it can be a bizarre feeling being at the back of the pack for this final race feeling like you’re having to play catch up.
Sean was the second to last competitor to be allowed to start the race and found himself in a good old game of cat and mouse being chased down by the last to start who had a one minute time handicap on him.
“It was quite a lonely run for the first four miles” said Sean but our mud loving star managed to close quite a few people down in the last two miles. Sean started in 15th position and through sheer grit and determination managed to catch up with the 14th runner without being caught by the one man behind him, who only managed to close 12 seconds on our guy!
Finishing with the second fastest time on the course that day and taking the crown for being our XC Champion of 2022, Sean crossed the line with a fantastic time of 47:56.
Awesome running Sean!
Sorry I don’t have any photos this week so here’s a picture of some muddy trainers and a virtual medal. 😁 (PS. there is now a photo!)
The Winchester 10km Road Race originally started back in 1983 as a 10-mile distance and went on to adopt the popular 10km format in the late 1980’s.
This undulating race features a one lap closed road route consisting of a mix of urban and countryside parkland and starts outside the historic Winchester Guildhall leaving the Broadway via the exit next to King Alfred’s statue.
Runners are initially sent up St George’s Street before going out towards the village of Kingsworthy and returning through the village of Headbourne Worthy and back towards Winchester before finishing at The North Walls Recreation Centre.
After storm Eunice had hit on Friday, shortly followed by Franklin hot on her heels on Saturday, the weather didn’t look like it was going to be much kinder by Sunday but this didn’t put off three of our superstars from lining up on the start line with approximately 1000 other like minded athletes, all craving that race day high and new bit of bling to take home.
Kev Driscoll was our first man home running a cracking race and finishing with a chip time of 54:13.
And completing our trio were Kev Winchcombe and Gill Bushell who ran the race together and finished in an awesome time and under the hour in 58:16.
Gill’s race day was made all the more complete when she crossed the line at what can only be described as ‘goodie bag central!’.
She commented that the route was “a bit bumpy but lovely” but was most excited with her stash of goodies, consisting of “a medal, t shirt, banana, Haribos, water and a remedy drink”.
With a haul like that I think we’ll all be signing up next year! 🤩
Great running team. Very well done to all of you. X
Described by the race organisers as “the opportunity to “come and see the seven wonders of Southsea……Something for every runner to enjoy with a different view around every corner” you might find there are many seasoned Portsmouth Coastal Marathon runners with a very different opinion……….especially the use of the word ‘enjoy’. 🙂
However 3 of our awesome ladies braved the strong winds and the less than desirable weather conditions to take on the coastal paths of the Portsmouth Half Marathon.
Boasting features such as “The Bog of Doom” and “The Muddy Beach” the half marathon shares a similar route to the December Marathon. This course although flat proves to have its own challenges and paired with the wind it made it tough for our runners.
Consisting of narrow footpaths, muddy track, pebbly beaches and quite a bit of tarmac it’s hard to know what shoes to wear, and it’s certainly not a good PB course but our ladies went out and did their thing and represented our club in true Road Runner style.
First in was Carolyn Littleton with a fantastic course PB and finishing 3rd in her age category with a brilliant time of 1:55:10. Carolyn said that she “felt fairly strong considering the brutal headwind along the seafront” and with another brilliant result like that she certainly showed her strength.
Gillian Shaw didn’t let the blustery conditions slow her down either and managed to get herself a brand new PB finishing in 2:26:37 and claiming 8th position in her age category. Gillian said that the “extremely blowy weather both ways along the route and particularly the seafront made it very difficult at times” but was very thankful that the rain held off and was very pleased with her result.
Finally Lyn Snow finished as strong as ever running a brilliant 2:59:03 taking a couple of minutes off her previous time and finishing 13th in her age category.
Fantastic results team , well done to all of you. X