Newsletter April 2017


A touch of the blues?

With the Southampton marathon and half marathon now behind us, those who took part are relaxing and basking in the glory of having completed a tough event.  As the wife of a multiple marathon runner and a walker of marathons myself, I know training for them can take over your life. The event is all you can think about. Hundreds of hours go into training. When the big day comes there are nerves, pain, exhaustion and a lot of emotion, especially the euphoria of crossing the finish line. You probably mutter “never again’ as you limp to the car. Once it’s over and the aches and pains have faded though, there is often a post marathon slump. Even though it was tough to get motivated at times and run the long training miles, not having to do them leaves a huge void. The medal you worked so hard for gets hung on the wall or put in a drawer and it seems there is nothing to look forward to any more. If you’re feeling like that about now don’t worry, you just have a touch of the post marathon blues. There is a cure. Sign up for the next one. Go on, what are you waiting for?

Manchester Marathon

For four fabulous Spitfire ladies April began with a marathon, the Manchester Marathon. Michelle, Rose Marie and Tree joined Jo to run around some of the iconic sights of the city that is now home to Spitfires Jo and Brian. Amazingly, all four ladies walked away, not only with medals but also PB’s.

The first Manchester ‘Marathon’, was organised by Salford Harriers, in 1908. In those days there was no official distance for a marathon and the race covered just 20 miles. The next year the first 26.2 mile marathon was run from Sandcach to Manchester’s Fallowfield Stadium. Since then Manchester has regularly hosted marathons, although results from 2013, 2014 and 2015 were declared invalid when the route was found to be 380 metres short of the full marathon distance. Hopefully this year the man with the tape measure got it right and the ladies’ records will stand.

A weekend in Brighton

April seemed to be all about marathons and the second weekend brought yet another, this time in Brighton. A whole squadron of Spitfires took a trip along the south coast to run the seventh Brighton Marathon in scorching heat, along with a few who were running the 10k or just cheering everyone on.

The first ever Brighton marathon took place in April 2010. Organised by former international athlete Tim Hutchings and former Brighton club athlete, Tom Naylor, it drew 7,589 runners and took in the sights of the city, ending near Brighton’s famous pier. This year there were 12,578 finishers and, despite the met office predicting temperatures of around 14C, the mercury actually hit 21C on the day, making this a surprisingly tough race for all concerned. In fact the higher than expected temperatures caused a few issues at water stations. Thankfully all the Spitfires who entered finished in one piece, although they seem to have mostly left their cameras at home so there are no team photos to share.

Marafun Sunday Runday

Photos thanks to David Chalk

While the hard miles were being put in in Brighton a whole host of Spitfires were taking part in a fun half marathon session back in Southampton. The last Marafun Sunday Runday was open to everyone, with groups running at 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 minute miles led by the official race day pacers and running the whole half marathon route. It was a real scorcher of a morning but everyone seemed to enjoy the run and the coffee afterwards at  the Hawthorns.

Weird and Wonderful Marathons

For anyone suffering from post marathon blues or who hasn’t yet run a marathon and is feeling left out there are hundreds of marathons out there to choose from for 2017/18. Some are a little out of the ordinary, so if you fancy something weird and wonderful these might be worth a look.

If it’s a real challenge you’re after, along with a touch of history, you could do worse than the Great Wall Marathon in China on 1 May 2018. You’ll get to run along the Great Wall, through picturesque villages with views of ancient valleys. With more than five thousand steps to run up, the hill running training will really come into its own.

Maybe steps just don’t do it for you? If so, how about the Easter Island Marathon in June? Running through the town of Hanga Roa to Anakena Beach you will get the chance to see the iconic Easter Island statues. The good news is the start and finish of the race are flat. The bad news is the middle bit is hilly and you may well encounter cows and wild horses.

For those looking for something a little more relaxed the Marathon Du Medoc on 9 September is probably the most chilled out marathon in the world. The race passes through 53 vineyards in the Bordeaux region of France with 23 wine stops along the way. If you aren’t into wine there are also oysters and ice cream on offer. With a cut off time of 6 and a half hours there are unlikely to be any PB’s though, unless we’re talking hangovers.

If you like a little music with your running, leave the ear buds at home and sign up for the Reggae Marathon in Jamaica on 2 December. Run along beautiful white sand beaches on a nice flat course with cranked up sound systems laid on to provide reggae rhythms to keep those feet going.

For a real fun feel the Walt Disney World Marathon in Florida on 7 January 2018 can’t be beaten. Relive your childhood and run alongside Mickey Mouse and Goofy through four theme parks. At the end you can pick up a Mickey Mouse Medal.

Marvellous Marshalling at Victoria Country Park

The first RR10 of the season on 19 April was also the first ever to be organised by The Itchen Spitfires. Lee Donnarumma did an amazing job behind the scenes, sorting out permits,  insurance, routes and other technical stuff, despite a few last minute glitches with vandalised water standpipes. The Spitfires turned out in force to marshal, cheer and generally help out where needed.

Thanks to some amazing teamwork everything ran like clockwork, from the set up to the last runner across the line. Although there were a few hairy moments with missing keys for locked gates any little wrinkles were soon ironed out and the Spitfire marshals and cheer leaders did a fantastic job.

The one downside to the whole thing was that no Spitfires were actually allowed to run this race.  Any disappointment in that respect was more than made up for by the beautiful setting sun and all the fun everyone had cheering for those who did run across the finish line. The final finisher, the amazing Annie from Hardley Running Club, got the biggest cheer of the day.

London Marathon

The London Marathon is probably on the bucket list of most long distance runners. Surprisingly, the first marathon held in the city was not the London Marathon but the Polytechnic Marathon back in 1909. The official  London Marathon was founded in 1981 by Olympic champion Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley and was inspired by the New York Marathon. In 1981 there were just 6,747 runners.

This year there were 40,000 entrants. Amongst them were ten Spitfires. Luckily for them the course is  mostly flat and, with so many famous sights to see, there was plenty to keep   them entertained. This year the race was started by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The Royal trio also popped up at several points along the course to cheer runners on. All the Spitfires completed the course and came home with well earned medals.

Upcoming events 

Click on the links below if you are interested in any of these events

This is not a complete list of all races. If anyone knows of any I’ve missed please let me know so I can add them next time.

Interview with a Spitfire 

The Spitfire of the Month for April is someone you may recognise from the Southampton Marathon, she was the one wearing an orange high vis jacket and dashing about organising all the mile makers. It is, of course Amanda Harris, one of the wonderful Social Secretaries who works so hard behind the scenes to organise all the fun Spitfire social events. If you want to know a bit more about her, read on…

When did you take up running and why? 

I took up running on the New Year’s Day of a milestone birthday year. I decided I needed to make a change and get a bit healthy like. So New Year’s Day I  did my first parkrun in 36 minutes. Paige, a junior spitfire until she moved away, found me that first day and encouraged me round. I think she was about 14. After that I was hooked. It took until June before I ran a whole 5k in one go and that was because Catherine MADE me. I could have killed her at the time but I am very grateful now.  Somewhere around then Michelle started running and we became a team. In July we did our first 10k. Rosie from work was there too and I introduced her to Michelle from which point we became 3. We did GSR in October and Gosport HAlf Marathon in Nov/Dec time. Friends for life.

How did you first hear about Itchen Spitfires and what made you want to join?

Well, me and many now Spitfires used to be part of SRC. Rachel and John came too for a time before they realised that they could do better. They set up Spitfires and there was a mass exodus from SRC. They did do better so we all stayed #togetherasone

What’s the best thing you’ve gained from being part of the club?

So many things. Many of my friends are runners and many of the Spitfires became my friends. Its all interchangeable now. I love running. For me it is about community and improving yourself. I guess being part of the RR10s last year and being far and away the best and most supportive club was pretty cool. I love Mondays, I love Thursdays, I love parkruns, I love Sunday runs, I love races, I love our photos… and our socials are pretty cool too 😉

Where is your favourite place to run and why?

I love the shore. I am a road runner at heart (rubbish ankles) but I wish I was better at trail. There is nothing like running up a hill in the countryside and turning around to marvel at the view. If you haven’t before take a look at White Star Running. Fab races.

What was your most memorable running moment?

I have three and a running non running moment too, greedy I know. My first GSR with Michelle and Rosie together at the end. Gosport Half the second time. I had been on a 800 calorie a day diet for 2 weeks and was injured for weeks before. I was close to collapse towards the end. Kevin gave me fruit cake and Amelia ran me to the end in her wellies. My first marathon with Amelia and Jill (and Jill’s dad on a bike). We became marathoners with so much support from our friends and families. Truly splendid day.

My most memorable running non running moment was when a bunch of us signed up for Edinburgh marathon. Jill dropped out because she was pregnant. Gil dropped out because he was injured and I dropped out because I had a breakdown. Beth, super lovely Beth, pinned photos of us on her kit and ran a mile for each of us. If that isn’t the Spitfire spirit I don’t know what is. I have never been so touched. Shed a tear and forever will feel I shared in her first marathon.

Do you have any running ambitions or goals?

This year I have signed up for 1000 mile challenge. A little behind schedule dus to illness but I still hope to succeed.

What do you do when you’re not running?

Lots of work, stuff with the children, reading rubbish books, walking in the forest, playing with my puppy, posting on FB and I love a good cream tea – cream then jam whatever Jan says 😛

If you could go for a run with anyone (alive, dead, real life or fictional character) who would it be and why?

Gosh, hard one. Declan Donnelly (30 yr crush) comes to mind but I’m not sure I’d want him to see me in lycra. Maybe my granny a few years ago. I miss our chats. I’d love to spend an hour with the lady she used to be. Love her.

Race Day Southampton  

While the lucky few were running the London Marathon there was a very special event taking place a lot nearer to home. For the first time in more than three decades Southampton was hosting a full marathon, the biggest running event in the history of the city, with ten thousand people taking part.

In fact there were three races in Southampton on Sunday 23 April,  not to mention a fun run for children after the main events. The city was chocka block with runners, spectators and the wonderful people working behind the scenes to make it all happen. This included a team of Spitfire mile makers and 10k marshals, organised by Amanda and Amelia to cheer people around the course . The pre race atmosphere was electric, with excited looking Spitfires gathering for the 10k, the half marathon and, of course, the full 26.2.

The marathoners were the first to set off. By this time the morning mist had burnt off and it looked to have the makings of a beautiful day. It was wonderful to see so many smiling, confident faces pass by. Everyone looked undaunted despite the two lap course ahead.

Half an hour later the half marathoners race began. The day had now taken a worryingly warm turn. Not the best running conditions for such long races. Amongst the runners were some familiar faces wearing bright orange pacer shirts.

Photo thanks to Amanda Chalk

Finally it was time for the 10k runners to set off. Unfortunately, as I was assisting Mr Meadings as a motivator for this race there wasn’t much time for photography. It was a fantastic boost to see all the Spitfire marshals out on the course though, especially as it was getting quite warm by this time. For one cunningly disguised Spitfire, it must have been unbearably hot.

There were emotional scenes on the finish line as the cheer squad ran to hug friends crossing the line. Amongst them was James Hughes, first to cross the 10k finish line, and Sam Brownsea, third female marathon finisher.  In a show of  true Spitfire spirit some even ran back along the course to help their friends home.  A few smiling faces hid real tales of courage by runners who’d battled through the heat and miles, struggling with injuries and even falls. As the day turned out far hotter than expected, every single runner earned their medal, no matter what distance they ran. If they gave out medals for cheering and support the wonderful Spitfires at the finish line would have been first in the queue. They stayed to the very end to  make sure every last runner was welcomed over the line in real Spitfire style.

Photo thanks to Amanda Harris

April PB’s 


For some strange reason there were a record number of PB’s this month. A huge percentage were for marathon or half marathon distance. They make impressive reading. Well done to everyone and an especial well done to Dave Keates who had the marathon task of collating all the information.



Robin Tearle 24.4
Marcus Hewitt 25.06
Jackie DeLisle 30.15
Lisa Milton 29.07
Charlotte Claridge 26.02
Tasha Ault 27.4
Jamie Foster 18.46
Adam Ruddy 20.57
Sara Sherman 29.48
Joseph Faulkner 29.03
Kerry Murray 35.52
Andy Ward 21.56
Lucy Anderson 22.24
Gareth Evans 22.17
Ian Hart 19.24
Charlotte New 28.09
Cameron Sommerville-Hewitt 20.24

Francesca Horn 4:42:59
Ian Howard 2:56:26
Vicky Waters 5:14:13
Darren Palmer 4:26:41
Abigail Hamilton 4:11:27
Andy Ward 4:55:14
Theresa Hamer 4:14:27
Rob Jesson 4:10:19
Samantha Brownsea 3:30:18
Scott Dawson 3:29:00
Paul Tongs 5:54:13
Maria Bowers 5:07:57
Tori Collinson 5:13:46
Nick Myers 4:47:03
James Edge 3:50:00
Ian Hart 3:28:43
Keith Harris 3:43:38
Teresa Robson 4:57:29
Lee Donnarumma 4:11:58
Barry Chaplin Fisher 5:54:26
Colin Francis 4.57.00

Half Marathon

Amanda Chalk 2:19:46
Alana Jane Williams 2:20:11
Chris Horn 2:07:28
Becky Diggle 1:55:51
Paula Lovell 2:07:29
Andy Ward 1:48:08
Jamie Foster 1:29:45
Sam Cox 1:47:12
Elizabeth Smith 2:33:00
Charlotte Watts 2:33:00
Hannah Lawless 1:57:22
Adam Ruddy 1:40:48
Julie Mills 2:08:20
Kerry Murray 2:53:51
Mitchell Robson 2:23:54
Marcus Hewitt 2:18:02
Louise Pead 2:35:52

10 Mile

Alana Nairn 1:58:46
Elizabeth Smith 2:0:00


Jan Bray 1:11:33
Helen Arwen Bonear 50:12:00
David Chalk 51:18:00
Kerry Murray 1:11:20
Charlotte New 1:04:00

Where did you get that bling? 

Continuing  on a marathon theme, for this month’s quiz I have found six marathon medals from six well known cities. Which cities did the bling come from though? Can you work it out from just the pictures?

So how many leggings did you match to Spitfires last month. The answers are below.







imageClub championship update

The deadline to enter the Club Championship is 1 June. Gill has created a very clever spreadsheet of who has entered what, click here to check it out. If you haven’t already entered there’s still time, click the link to find out more.

And finally… 

If you ran the Southampton Marathon and loved every minute, or if you missed it and would like to run it next year, entries are open NOW!  If you ran it and said never again save the date anyway and come along to cheer on all your fellow Spitfires. Click the link to find out more.

#GoSpitfires #TogetherAsOne