Newsletter June 2018

Safe sun

It’s lovely to see the sun at last but, when you’re out running in your teeny tiny shorts and skimpy vests, there is something very important you need to remember. A tan may look good, it may make you feel great, but sunburn can be far more serious than sore shoulders and a bit of unsightly peeling. We may not get as much sun as some countries and, when it’s out, it’s tempting to bare all and lap it up before the clouds come. Even on a cloudy day though, it’s important to slap plenty of sunscreen on all that exposed flesh.

Even if you always use sun cream I’m betting you usually neglect your ears. I used to until the daughter of a colleague was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It began on her ear. You can read her amazing story here but have some tissues handy if you do.  Make it a habit to use moisturiser (ladies will be familiar with this, men you may have to look it up) with a good sunscreen and put it on every day, especially on your ears. This also has the advantage of stopping you getting all wrinkly like a piece of old leather.

Simply the best  

For the second year running the Itchen Spitfire Mile Maker team who shouted so loudly and worked so hard in the baking sun on the last part of the Southampton Marathon course have been voted Best Mile Maker Group. It’s always nice to be appreciated and, on 14 June, it was wonderful to also be presented with a giant cheque for £750. I wonder if we can make it a hatrick next year?

NHS 70 parkrun

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be sick or injured and unable to afford to visit a doctor or a hospital. Seventy years ago, this was the experience of many ordinary people living in the UK. If you were sick you either had to pay, be lucky enough to have access to a hospital offering charitable treatment under the Poor Law, or have health insurance. If you had none of the above you just had to get on with it, or die.

This is all changed when Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan launched the NHS at Park Hospital in Manchester on 5 July 1948. It was the culmination of an ambitious plan that had taken years to bear fruit. That plan was to bring free healthcare to everyone in the country regardless of their ability to pay, financed entirely from taxation. These days we take it for granted that there are doctors, nurses, paramedics and hospitals there for us whenever we need them.

On Saturday 9 June over 360 parkrun venues hosted special events to celebrate 70 years of the NHS and show appreciation to all the wonderful NHS staff who look after us whenever we need them. To mark the occasion NHS staff swapped their running gear for work clothes to run parkrun. Amongst them a few non NHS interlopers saw it as a good excuse to dress up as nurses and run with them to show solidarity. You may recognise a few Spitfire nurses in the photos I took. After the run there were tables weighed down with cake as a reward for getting round the course.

Kicking off the Club Championships at the Eastleigh 10k

All photos thanks to Ed Tavner

The middle of the month saw the club Championships kick off in style with the Eastleigh 10k. Whether the large Spitfire contingent were there for the Championships, because it’s a lovely flat course, or just to have a look at the brand new leisure centre isn’t entirely clear. There were lots of them and, for once I didn’t have to worry about getting everyone into the team photo or spotting them on the course because, with Russ Meddings, I was tail walking.

The weather was a touch warmer than it would have been if the race had gone ahead as planned in March but there was definitely no snow anywhere on the course.  This was the thirty fourth time the 10k had been held in Eastleigh and, with more than 2000 runners, it’s the biggest event of its kind on the south coast.

The pacers did a fantastic job and the usual Spitfire spirit was out in force with lots of people helping others round the course, unofficially pacing and standing along the route cheering everyone on to the very end. As the last two people across the finish line, Russ and I really appreciated the Spitfire cheer team on the final straight. Despite the heat there were a lot of PB’s for Gill to add to the Club Championships stats. Thanks to Ed Tavner for stepping in with his camera to take the photos. It was nice to go home and not have thousands to download, edit and put on Facebook for once.

Manor Farm RR10 

As the Fleming Park RR10 was our drop out race, Manor Farm was the first and only RR10  the month and the halfway stage of the series. It seemed to be a Spitfire dominated race, with 42 ladies and 43 men turning out for the Spitfires. This was a record breaking RR10, with four hundred and seventy runners in all, almost one in five of them were Spitfires! Of course this did make squeezing them all into a team photo a touch difficult.

The evening was muggy and buggy, with the heady scent of bug spray coming from every direction. Manor Farm was the shortest  course of the season and had been completely changed since last year. There was no long tough hill at the end, which was a plus point but it was a case of good news and bad news because the same hill had been slotted into the middle of the course…twice. Rather bizarrely, there were also some steps thrown in for good measure. The finishing straight was a bit confusing for some too. When the finish line was in sight there was a crafty loop around a stand of trees, meaning several people began their sprint way too early.

All in all it was a great evening, apart from the blood thirsty midgies and a bit of a cake scarcity. Apparently the cake there was was very good though.  Beth and Heather did a wonderful job of number collecting, Rosie acted as chief  babysitter so parents could run and Hannah was super speedy processing the results. If you’d like to see all the stats and full race reports, click here.

The next race is on 4 July at Wide Lane and its the flattest course of the lot.

A Giant’s Head, hills and an X rated medal

The Dorset village of Sydling St Nicholas saw a small influx of medal hunting Spitfires this month. They were there for the White Star Giants Head Marathon and the Sydling 10k Hill Race, but mostly for the medals.  This was the sixth year White Star have organised the Giants Head Marathon and, for some Spitfires, this would not be their first time.

The village is in the valley of Sydling Water surrounded by chalk hills in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The views were stunning, the hills…breathtaking. The course also took in the Cerne Valley and included a little visit to the famous Cerne Giant, who was also featured in the slightly X Rated medals. Marathoners,  Jonathan Barnard, Andy  Ward, Rose-Marie Mackay Paul Carpenter and Paddy Connors , were probably pleased to discover their race was only 26.7 miles, which is positively short for a White Star marathon. Paddy actually came 4th, which is an epic result.

Apparently there was a beer tent and a hog roast, pre race pasta and an ice cream van. There was also a barn dance in the village hall on Saturday evening for those who still had any energy left. It looks to me as if way too much fun was had by all involved.

Upcoming events 

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

Events marked * are club championship races. This is just a selection of the races coming up. If you are looking for more events other Spitfires might be attending, check out the Events page on Facebook, or, for something a little different search on the Runners World website.

The Lordshill 10k

The fight for championship points continued with the second 10k race of the month, the Lordshill 10k. Starting and ending at the Ordnance Survey HQ in Adnac Park, the place where all the maps are made, this is one of the flatter 10k races, meaning more chance of PB’s and championship points. Apparently, it’s also quite pretty as it winds its way through the country lanes of Nursling. As the route is more or less out and back, it also gave Spitfires a chance to wave to other Spitfires as they passed them.

The weather was hotter than all the runners would have liked and I somehow managed to miss the ice cream van this year, but there were an awful lot of flying feet on the finish straight.


Interview with a Spitfire 

You may not recognise this month’s Spitfire of the Month, Becca Smith, as she’s fairly new to the club. She started with the recent beginners but her progression has been astounding. She’s reduced her parkrun time from 31 to 25 minutes and worked her way up to group E! This very determined lady is also unfailingly cheerful and keen to help other Spitfires improve too.


What made you decide to join the beginners group? 

I chose to join the beginners group as I watched my boyfriend complete Southampton Half Marathon last year and the atmosphere was amazing which inspired me to start running. I had only ever ran a few km on the treadmill before and didn’t have the confidence to run outside on my own.

Do you have any running ambitions or goals?

My main running goal would be to complete a marathon, the one I would love to do would be London or perhaps Brighton.

What do you do when you’re not running?

When I am not running I like to spend time with family and friends, and I am also part way through my CIMA accountancy qualification so a lot of my time is spent studying and revising for exams.

Do you have any running heroes, if so who and why?

>I don’t have a particular running hero, however I read recently about a lady called Katherine Switzer who was the first woman to complete an all male marathon – men even tried to force her out of the race!

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

The best thing I have gained out of the club is friendships and the confidence to speak to people that I don’t know, I was quite a shy person but everyone at club is so friendly and supportive.

What advice would you give to new runners?

My advice to new runners would be to stick with it and to run with other people as it definitely helps take your mind off what you are doing, I never thought I would be able to run a half marathon but it is surprising how quickly you start to feel better.

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

If I could go for a run with anyone it would probably be someone like the queen as I’m sure she would have some interesting stories to tell. 🙂

Running all over the world  

If you fancy a little marathon tourism with some beautiful scenery the Plitvice Marathon might be just the one for you. The race takes place  in Plitvice Lakes National Park one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia. The park was founded in 1949 and added to the UNESCO World Heritage register in 1979. Situated in the mountainous Karst area of central Croatia, the park is world famous for its lakes in colours ranging from azure blue to green, depending on the minerals in the water.


This month our intrepid marathon tourist Edo ran the Plitvice Marathon and has shared the highlights and the pitfalls. As this is a mountainous area it is not a marathon for anyone looking for a PB. There are three killer climbs covering several kilometres. To make up for this the views are breathtaking with colourful lakes, waterfalls, caves and gorges. The race has a truly international feel, with runners from almost fifty countries this year. Unusually, the medal was ceramic and there was free beer at the finish. Sadly the pre race pasta is not recommended, unless you happen to be carrying a portaloo on your back. There were no loos on the course.

June PB’s 


With the Club Championships kicking off in earnest this month, it’s no surprise to see a mass of 10k PB’s. Statistician and PB Hunter extraordinaire,  Dave Keates, even had to add himself to the list. Well done to everyone who beat their best and keep trying to those who didn’t quite manage it.



Rebecca Smith 25.37
Harriet Chinnock 27.49
Beth Carroll 32.1
Charlotte New 26.09
Ian Buckman 23.5
John Wynn 19.05
Dave Keates 21.03

One Mile

Alana Jane Williams 7.56
Rob Jesson 5.54
David L’Enfant 6.14


Ian Howard 16.56
Joanna Dormon 25.19
Dave Keates 20.55
Jane Grant 28.49


Harriet Chinnock 58.02
Stuart White 50.1
David L’Enfant 45.43
Jonathan Barnard 45.43
Gerry Robson 38.26
Jackie De Lisle 58.54
Andy Walker 1:00.25
Teresa Robson 54.02
Tori Collinson 53.52
Joanna Dorman 53.4
Francesca Horn 53.2
Becky Diggle 50.2
Adam Ruddy 43.02
Adam Riddy 42.33
Elizabeth Smith 59.12
Leah Tavner 46.41
Alana Jane Williams 58.02
Paddy Connors 35.2
Gareth Evans 43.53
Dave Keates 44.43
Charlotte New 54.14
Clare Jesson 54.33
Robin Stacey 41.54
Vanessa Crowton 1:03.40
Vikki Lodge 1:03.39
Nicki Barton 1:05.35
Gemma Waughman 55.48
Paul Leeming 58.12

Junior parkrun

Gregory Bowers 15.01
Grace Bowers 10.45
George Bowers 10.32

Flying feet 

Some Spitfires seem to have a bit of trouble keeping their feet on the ground. Can you work out who the flying feet below belong to?

Did you manage to unscramble the run leaders last month? If not, here they are looking more like themselves.





Exciting news coming soon!

For those of you who love a challenge and maybe a statistic or two, there are some new race leagues in town. Spitfires will soon be able to take part in the Hampshire Road Race League of 12 races covering between 5 and 20 miles and  the Hampshire Cross Country League with 5 races between October and March. Team Captains Adam and Alana are on the case as we speak so watch this space for more details…







Important Notice about Headphones

Club nights are now strictly a no headphone zone. The safety of each group is always our top priority and runners need to be able to hear instructions from  Run Leaders. This means you can no longer run on club nights with bone-conduction headphones, in-ear earphones, or over-ear headphones. It also means you cannot run with even just one earbud in.

And finally… 

Congratulations to Glen Medcalfe for completing his 100th parkrun this month






Happy eighteenth birthday to Andrew Banda, who celebrated in style with a parkrun






Well done to regular parkrun RD Kim Kelly for completing her 250th parkrun this month.







Great work to Gerry Robson for his 150th parkrun. Just another hundred before he gets a new t-shirt!







Sergio López de Bustos brought his mum to Southampton parkrun to celebrate his 250th run. According to RD Gill, he has run at 27 different parkruns but his favourite is Southampton.






#GoSpitfires #TogetherAsOne