Newsletter May 2018

Time to get to grips with hydration

Spring has finally sprung. Between the showers we have had some of the hottest May days on record with temperatures that would be more commonly found in mid summer. With things only due to get hotter it’s time to get to grips with the hydration issue. Running in the heat of the day or for long distances in hot weather can easily lead to dehydration. At best this can hamper your performance, at worst it could be life threatening. On short runs there may not be time for taking on extra fluid but, if you start out well hydrated this shouldn’t cause problems. It’s also worth making sure you have something to drink after your run to replace any lost fluids. Unfortunately, as Rachel recently pointed out, beer doesn’t count.

Over hydrating can, in some cases, be more an an issue than dehydration. Excessive water consumption can cause Hyponatraemia, or low blood sodium. This can make you feel bloated or nauseous and, in severe cases, can lead to seizures and even death. Aspirin or ibuprofen can stop your body excreting water so will also increase your risk. Sports drinks that contain sodium can help or you could add a tiny pinch of sea salt to your water bottle. The best way to hydrate safely is to be governed by thirst and to sip slowly over a long period rather than gulping loads all at once. Apparently, this is also true of beer.

A first time fest at Stoney Cross RR10

The first race of the month was also the first RR10 the Spitfires were eligible to run and they turned out in force. In fact there were so many I had trouble fitting them all into the team photo. All in all 39 ladies and 41 men made it to Stoney Cross on a balmy evening to battle with the mud and hills. Amongst them were a whole squadron of first time RR10ers. For the ladies Clare Blay, Dani Firth, Nicki Barton, Harriet Chinnock and Gemma Waughman were all making their debut, with Gemma being our youngest lady.  Cameron Hewitt was the youngest member of the male team and was joined on his first RR10 run by first timers David Ayres,  Ian Hart,  Craig Lintott,  Steve Williams, Simon Beer, Dan Lovell, Neil Glasspool, Mark Tiller, Stuart White, Matt Mills and Graham Moore!

Rather a lot of pre race rain meant the course was a touch on the boggy side to say the least. The sun may have come out but just getting to the start line involved a great deal of squelching through puddles. It was also pretty buggy, so well done to all those who remembered the bug spray. The route was, I’m told, mainly fairly flat, firm and certainly scenic but there was a sting in the tail in the form of a long steep hill leading to the finish straight.

New Captain Alana Williams was swanning about on a cruise ship so Vice Captain Hannah Lawless stepped up to organise the ladies while Captain Adam Ruddy organised the men. As ever, there were some exciting sprint finishes for the spectators to enjoy, along with a fair few muddy legs. Leah and Janine did some sterling work collecting all the finish tokens and there was certainly no shortage of cake for the finishers. Not only had Charlotte and Kate baked but Dave Keates bought a whole load of cakes to celebrate my birthday. Full race reports and lots of stats can be found here.

Running all over the world

The holiday season has well and truly started and what better way to experience the sights and sounds of a foreign city than to run a marathon around it? Marathon tourism is becoming increasingly popular So I thought I’d share the highlights of a few Spitfire race reports to give would be marathon tourists a little food for thought.

Edo Ćiro Aleksandarević may not make it to club runs on a regular basis but he seems to be systematically running around the world one marathon at a time. This month he ran the Skopje Marathon. If geography is not your strong point, Skopje is the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, in the center of the Balkan Peninsula, around 1,500 miles from the feather. Edo thought the old part of the city was quaint but he wasn’t overly enamoured with architecture of the new part. The prices were pretty good and the food was hearty and carb laden, with some fabulous deserts, just what someone about to run a marathon would need. Sadly the Expo was nothing more than a desk to pick up race numbers with none of the stalls and running products you’d normally expect to see at such events.

The race is run completely on asphalt, which was bad news for Edo, who accidentally packed his gore-tex trail shoes. This wasn’t helped by a sunny 30°c day. There was a real crush on the start line as everyone seemed to want to get as close to the front as possible and there were some interesting outfits on show, lots of tight, revealing Lycra that left little to the imagination. Bizarrely, they also handed out lemon segments rather than oranges, which could have been a bit of a shock to the system if you weren’t paying attention. The heat and the footwear faux pas was a great recipe for blisters but, somehow, Edo still managed a finish line smile.

Rosie Phillips and Paddy Connors chose Copenhagen for their May marathon tourism. The course was picturesque, with amazing support and an interesting variety of music laid on to help the miles pass by. Importantly, it was also flat, which was a bonus as the weather was, in Paddy’s words, “fahking hot.” The heat meant Paddy abandoned all ideas of a PB at around thirteen miles but Rosie was undaunted and knocked a whopping five minutes off her previous best marathon time! If you’re looking for a marathon PB course, this might just be it.

Lymington RNLI Lifeboat 10k – Guest post by Alana Williams

Photo thanks to Alana Williams

It was an early start to drive down to lymington. This is, perhaps, one of the most picturesque races you’ll ever run where you see the needles as you run round gravel paths alongside the water. Ankle tag timing chips aside, it’s definitely a great race to put in your diary.

Our team photo gained a new member in the shape of the RNLI mascot who luckily informed me he wasn’t having to run in the sweltering heat. Sadly the person taking the photo managed to cut out Robin but kept his gorgeous baby girl in. Better luck next time Robin!

Photos thanks to Beckie Diggle

Today’s race was all about helping the other Alana get a PB. I informed her she’d hate me for the last mile, and by the sight of her middle finger, I think I succeeded in this. However, her hard work paid off and she knocked 90 seconds off her previous PB, which was great work in the heat! Last year I helped pace Liz to shave 2 minutes off her PB. I wonder who will be next years victim?

All in all there seemed to be a lot of happy runners, and as one of the cheaper local races, I’d highly recommend it, plus who can beat local ice cream post race!

Photos thanks to Alana Williams

A little Challenge called Ox

Photos thanks to Kevin Mills

Spitfires like a challenge and Whitestar’s Ox Challenge is certainly a tough one. The event, held on the Rushmore Estate,  is in its fifth year and lasts all weekend with daytime and nighttime running of 10.5 K laps over beautiful but difficult terrain with lots of lovely hills to keep things interesting. The idea is for pairs, teams of 3 or 4, or solos to keep notching up the laps for as long as they can and complete anything from a marathon to 50 miles.

The Spitfire team enjoyed a weekend of camping, running, deer that may or may not have been a hallucination and tested just how far they could run. For their trouble they got some gigantic medals at the end.

Bugs and cake at the Wilverley RR10 

In 1698 the first New Forest Act legalised the enclosure of open heathland and ancient woodland for timber production. The timber was originally used for Royal Naval ships. Today Inclosures cover around eight and a half thousand hectares of the forest and they provide some marvellous walking and running trails as well as yielding timber for various uses. The second RR10 of May took us back to Wilverley Inclosure, on beautiful, mostly gravel, trails through broadleafed and conifer woodland.

Wilverley was the scene of a slightly scary encounter with some galloping ponies last year, some stunning rainbows the year before and a very cold and very recent CC6. This time the ponies were all off in the distance, the weather had dried up and it was a relatively warm evening although there was a sharp wind blowing across the plain. Thankfully, most of the race was actually in the Inclosure so I was soon lurking amongst the trees trying to capture Spitfires as they dashed for the finish line. Unfortunately, this was where all the biting things were also lurking.

Yet again there was a fantastic turnout with 36 Spitfire men and 33 Spitfire ladies. Gill was the first Spitfire across the line, making it look easy as he always does. The competition was fierce with the usual sprints to the finish and the usual finishers running back into the fray to support those still running. Chris Horn was also dashing about with his dog, popping up at various points on the course to surprise and cheer. Despite the biting bugs, most managed smiles as they spotted the official photographer, although poor Maria swallowed a bug just as the shutter clicked.

The evening ended with cake, thanks to Stuart and Susan, and Nicole made sure all the numbers were collected. As the sun began to set over the plain the main topic of conversation was how everyone had done on Adam’s guess the finish position competition. For the stats lovers amongst you, full race reports and results can be found here thanks to captains Adam and Alana.

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.

Pizza and beer at Run and Talk

We had a beautiful evening for our May Run and Talk event, although the midgies were out in force, waiting to bite anyone who had any unbitten skin left after the RR10. Luckily, for everyone except the run leaders, it turns out midgies are rather fond of the bright orange run leader shirts, which kept most of us relatively midge free.

There was a lot of laid back running and talking and, for the walking group, a trip to Millers Pond and a look at Shoreburs Greenway. The evening was rounded off with pizza and beer (or cider or coke) thanks to John and Rachel.

Interview with a Spitfire 

The May Spitfire of the Month is new Vice Captain, Hannah Lawless, someone you may have seen at an RR10 or CC6 helping out or standing in for Captain Alana. For Hannah, the cross country races don’t end when she gets home. As Vice Captain, she works late into the night collating all the results and sending them off to the event organisers. She’s also always happy to encourage or help out fellow Spitfires. So let’s find out a little more about her.

When did you take up running and why? 

I decided to enter the Southampton half marathon a couple of years ago, I had never run before and didn’t really do any sort of exercise so wanted to try and fix that. It was hard, but I really enjoyed it and found the training runs a great way to clear my head.

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

I was talking to some colleagues about running and they suggested that it might be more motivating to run with others, then someone suggested I should check out Itchen Spitfires. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of running with other people and tended to go out when it was dark as I felt less self conscious, but turns out I was so wrong about that! I hate running alone now and have met some fantastic people through club.

Where is your favourite place to run and why? 

Having never done any cross country running before I have really enjoyed the RR10s/CC6s and some of the White Star races, its such a nice change from running on the same roads around Southampton! I love the scenery, the different terrain and just getting out into the countryside.

What has been the best and worst thing about being Vice Captain so far?

I don’t think I’ve got any worst things! I’m enjoying being able to give something back to club, and am quite happy keeping track of a spreadsheet or two! It’s also nice to have had the opportunity to chat to people I haven’t before.

What do you do when you’re not running??

I’ve recently changed my job which is giving me lots more time for other things which is great, I’ve been trying to do more swimming and cycling which I’m enjoying and am attempting my first triathlon  I’ve decided to study for a law degree so will be busy with that fairly soon too.

If you could have any super power what would you choose?

To be able to time travel for sure, Id love to be able to experience different events and periods in time, for example my grandmother worked at Bletchley Park during the war and I would love to have been able to see some of the amazing things she did in her stories.

Quiz night

The new Social Secretaries flexed their wings with a quiz night this month. Assisted by quizmaster Dave Bray, they taxed our poor brains with a series of challenging questions, including my personal favourite, Name the Daves. There was a great deal of head scratching, some random facts dug from the depths of slightly alcohol fuelled brains, a giant bag of tortilla chips and a great deal of fun.

Some of us were proved to be dunces, others brain boxes. The evening ended with a raffle with some great prizes, and a slightly meandering walk home, or to the pub. There may have been some sore heads the next day.

May PB’s 


Despite the heat there were still plenty of PB’s in May. Thanks to Dave Keates for compiling the list and well done to everyone who appears on it.




Trevor Hillier 16.5
Rebecca Smith 25.5
Tim Coles 29.5
Mia Diggle 38.22
Ian Buckman 25.33
Kali Banda 19.15
Adam Pratt 25.56
Dani Firth 28.5
Stuart White 27.36
Sarah Taylor 31.05

1 Mile

Rob Jesson 5.56
Adam Ruddy 5.52
Ian Howard 5.06
Robin Stacey 5.44


Adam Ruddy 20.2
Kerry Murray 33.33


Alana Nairn 1:08:05
Kerry Murray 1:10:43
Dani Firth 1:00:25
Tim Coles 57.44
Robin Stacey 42.48
Stuart White 50.45
Gary Cahill 1:02:59
Sharon Stewart 57.56
Jennifer Fradgley 51.17
Dan Lovell 44.55

Half Marathon

Kerry Murray 2:45:10
Matt Simmons 2:29:42
Charlotte New 2:28:10


Rosie Phillips 3:27:00
Richard Diggle 3:52:56
Paul Leeming 5:51:44
Gillam McClure 3:30:08

Furthest distance Furthest distance

Emma Wilson 53.87 miles
Michelle Ritchie 54.43 miles

More mixed up Run Leaders? 

How well do you know your run leaders? Can you work out which three have been mixed up here?

Here are the answers to last months true or false quiz

True or false Men run more races than women False 57% of all race finishers in 2015 were women

True or false You burn more calories running outside than on a treadmill True Running outside at the same pace as on the treadmill burns more calorie due to air resistance!

True or false The treadmill was originally designed as a punishment device True it was made to be used in English prisons as a tool for punishment.

True or false Runners who wear red are more likely to win a race True according to statistics

True or false Winter running burns more calories False Unless you’re running through snow or mud, you’re not burning any more calories than when you run in any other season, although shivering and very heavy clothes do cause you to burn more calories.

True or false Runners typically live longer than those who do not run True

Liverpool Rock and Roll Weekend – Guest post by Alana Williams

Photo thanks to Kate Hart

A whole host of Spitfires decided to partake in the Liverpool rock n roll weekend this year, with one car load going via Birmingham so we could indulge in some tourism (hangovers aside it was a pretty run!). The night before the race the majority of us descended on Bella Italia for carb loading. Courtesy of a stag do we  bumped into, we also saw some very interesting sights which cannot be unseen!

Caroline and Richard were the only two crazy enough to be doing the marathon. The  rest of us chose the more palatable half marathon distance. Team photographer Kate Hart did a fab job in Marie’s absence, trying hard to spot us through the thousands of runners.

The heat meant that PBs  were pretty much out of the question so we all pared it back. Maria and I even took the chance to get some selfies on the way round with John Lennon and Penny Lane.

Once we’d all made it back home we set up a cheer squad to welcome Richard home.  I’m not sure he appreciated our efforts as, by that point, he’d lost the will to live somewhat!

We didn’t see many other southern runners, apart from a man from Reading who said ‘ah spitfires! I know you all, you’re really nice!’ He went on to tell us how, at Southampton marathon, a spitfire told him to get moving if it was his 12th because it was her first and she was ahead of him! That Spitfire was Liz and she was reunited with him at the end of the race, which was lovely as he actually appreciated her straight talking that day because it got him round! A massive mix of nationalities had travelled to Liverpool for the event, I overheard Germans, Dutch, French and Italian runners.

The whole weekend was fantastically organised with waves going off every couple of minutes. The route was really interesting and took in some good sights. A few of us have already signed up again for next year. For those medal whores amongst you, you can earn extra medals for running the 5k and the half or full, and just for coming back another year.

Photos thanks to Kate Hart and Alana Williams

The Dorchester Marathon & Casterbridge Half – guest post by Leah Tavner 

The Dorchester Marathon and Casterbridge Half was  organised by a Spitfires favourite, White Star Running. This is the only road race that White Star organise, their usual being muddy trail races. The normal White Star features were out in force, hills aplenty and an amazingly friendly love station armed with sweet and savoury treats, as well as beer and schnapps!

The rain stopped as soon as the marathon kicked off, and an hour later when the Half started, the sun was beaming down, making it an incredibly hot, hilly race. Special congratulations go to Paul Leeming and Matt Mills for completing their first marathons, and Charlotte New for her first Half.

Photos thanks to Leah Tavner

A foggy Blackfield RR10

There were three RR10’s in May with the final one coming right at the end of the month in Blackfield. Despite slightly overcast skies the Spitfire turnout was massive and, for once, the Spitfire ladies outnumbered the men. While everyone was gathering for the team photo a rather eerie fog slowly crept across the field, threatening to engulf the gathered runners. This was another of the venues where there are proper toilets so, inevetably, a few people missed the photo whilst queueing for the loos.

The swirling pockets of fog and the regular sound of fog horns drifting across from Southampton Water certainly made this an interesting race. The course was a mixture of almost every conceivable terrain, including gravel, grass, flat sections, a few cheeky little hills and, of course, mud. There also seemed to be rather a lot of dog poo, at least around the start line. Maybe the pooper scoopers haven’t yet reached Blackfield?

The foggy conditions made taking finish photos slightly challenging and the course itself proved challenging for a few. Sadly, both Dani and Keith ended up with twisted ankles. Keith managed to make it to the finish line but poor Dani couldn’t continue and had to hobble back, accompanied by Lindsay.  The evening ended with a whole team of Spitfires munching well earned cake on an almost empty field in ever thickening fog.  Full race reports and stats can be found here.


RR10 reminder

Before you run an RR10 you must have volunteered at one. If you couldn’t make it to the Victoria Country Park volunteer event and want to run in the future you can speak to Captains Alana or Adam about volunteering at an RR10. They will always be able to find you something to do, whether it’s marshalling, token collecting or something else. Proxy volunteering isn’t allowed and anyone who runs but doesn’t have their name on the volunteer list will have their result removed.

Last chance to enter! 

If you haven’t already got your Club championship entry in, get your skates on. Entries close on 4 June!

And finally… 



Congratulations to Gary Nias and Lauren Sherman who had a Spitfire guard of honour at their wedding in 5 May.

Well done to Mark Stanmore who, six years after running his first parkrun, ran his hundredth this month.






Congratulations to Benjamin Young on winning. Bronze medal competing in cross country against the Southampton boys.









#GoSpitfires #TogetherAsOne