Newsletter October 2017


New season new Website 

Over the last few months the website fairies have been working hard . Behind the scenes there was a great deal of talking, much head scratching, gallons of coffee, some very techy stuff I don’t even begin to understand from the lovely Kylie, a lot of writing and an excel sheet from me, some other clever techy stuff from John, and a fun filled photo shoot with some stunning models. Along the way there were glitches, a bit of swearing, even more coffee and finally, in the first week of October, the brand new, sparkly Itchen Spitfires website was launched. If you haven’t checked it out yet go and have a look. The kit page alone is worth the wait!

Whitley CC6

The first day of the month brought the first running CC6 for the Spitfires and what a turnout there was at Whitley. In fact Spitfire shirts seemed to outnumber all the other club colours. After a rather cramped team photo 16  men and 14 ladies proudly wearing their Spitfire race shirts lined up at the start.

The race began with a hill, then a deceptively clean gravel stretch followed by mud, lots of it, thanks to heavy rain the night before. The long hard climb through the woods was made more difficult by tree roots,  gloopy mud and giant puddles, making the final downhill stretch on gravel a welcome sight.

Ed Watts was marshalling the finish line along with a cheer/number collecting team of Amanda Harris, Mitch Robson, Andy Ward and a random photographer. Gerry Robson was the first Spitfire across the line and also the first V50 overall.  Behind him were some extremely muddy runners, some actually dripping. Lots of people had taken tumbles, David Chalk managed to fall over twice, but, thankfully, there were no real injuries. The reward for all that work was some of the best brownies I have ever tasted, thanks to Leah.

Full race reports and stats can be found here. The next race is 5 November at Dibden Inclosure.  I’m told there will be more cake so, if you missed out this time, come along and enjoy the fun.

Bournemouth, sun, sea and races

Bournemouth saw an influx of Spitfires on the first weekend of October for the fifth edition of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival. A record breaking 15,000 runners signed up for the weekend long event which included four junior races, a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon. While some made a weekend of it and took part in the Saturday races and some ran the Full Marathon, for most of the Spitfires, the Half Marathon on Sunday morning was the main event. Some were running the distance for the first time, others were veterans of many half marathons, but they were all hoping to pick up some Spitfire Championship points.

The course, starting at Kings Park and heading down towards the seafront, made for some wonderful views. The run along the shore, including a quick out and back along Boscombe Pier, provided a welcome sea breeze to offset the hot sun, but the steep hill at mile 9 (or 18 if you were running the full marathon), was not quite as welcome. A special mention to Sue Haig and Lindsay Bowers who stopped to help an injured runner before finishing the race. The wonderful support team did their best to keep everyone going with the usual enthusiastic cheering both on the course and at the finish line. Despite hills and heat, there were smiling faces at the end and a nice sandy beach to relax on afterwards.

Lifeboats, Pirates and Pieces of Eight

Meanwhile, on another part of the south coast, those who’d opted for a different championship Half Marathon or felt 13.1 Miles was a step too far, gathered for the 7th annual Pieces of Eight race. This eight mile pirate themed race taking in the Southsea Coastline, ran alongside the Portsmouth RNLI 10k. As both races started at the same time this proved slightly confusing for the team of Spitfire cheerleaders who turned up to watch. There also seemed to be a lot of pirates about, not to mention a large Lifeguard with a big red beard and orange oilskins.

The course was nice and flat but the heat and the impatient car drivers on the finish straight didn’t make things easy. Even so, there were some flying finishes and some real Spitfire spirit in evidence as runners helped and encouraged each other around the course. Best of all, no one got kidnapped by the pirates.

A ghost story to make you run a little faster. 

As October ends with Halloween I thought I’d tell you a spooky tale about a place you know well and run in regularly. Most people know the Royal Victoria Country Park was once the site of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital. The hospital opened for patients on 11 March 1863. It was huge, a quarter of a mile long, with 138 wards and around a thousand beds, making it Britain’s largest military hospital. This was where soldiers from the second Boer War, World War I and World War II were treated. Many died during their stay and were buried in the nearby military cemetery. The hospital was demolished in 1966, leaving just the chapel.

With its history it’s no surprise to find the place is haunted although the ghosts who wander in the grounds are not soldiers as you might expect. The most famous is the Grey Lady. There are several versions of her story but it’s believed she was was once a nurse at the hospital. She either accidentally killed a patient, purposely murdered her cheating lover who was also a patient, or went mad with grief when her husband was killed in action. Whichever version you believe, through guilt or grief, she threw herself from the roof of the chapel. Local people have often seen her standing at the top of the building or heard her screaming and crying. She can also often be seen walking around the grounds of the hospital at night.

According to legend, there was also a secret tunnel running from nearby Netley Abbey and emerging somewhere in the hospital grounds. They say the treasure of Netley Abbey was hidden there, guarded by a monk called Blind Peter. What the treasure was no one knows but a man called Slown was said to have been driven mad by what he saw when he went hunting for it and the ghost of Blind Peter is said to haunt the area to this day.

So, if you happen to be running through Victoria Country Park, especially if the light is fading, keep an eye out for ghosts and avoid strange tunnels. If you do see a ghost, don’t forget to start your watch, you never know, it might make you run a little faster!

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. Check out the Club Calendar for more events and details of club runs.

Now for something completely different

A surprising number of Spitfires turned out extra early on Sunday 15 October for the inaugural Spitfire Duathlon, organised by Sergio Lopez de Bustos, the Itchen Spitfires Triathlon Club Chairman, and John Grant, who needs no introduction. There were two different options to suit all abilities, 2.5k-10k-2.5k or 5k-20k-5k and a lot of very fancy looking bikes left around the Feather for the finish marshals to guard.

Everyone ran off at the same time for the first leg of the event. After that things got confusing with runners appearing and changing into cycling gear then disappearing again at regular intervals. Some changeovers ran more smoothly than others. There was a certain amount of confusion over the different routes too, with some people putting in a lot more miles than they needed to and others making up their own races combining the shorter runs with the longer bike rides. A few random cyclists may have been photographed by accident due to the difficulty of recognising anyone in their cycling gear. Then there were more changes of gear and some jelly legs as people set off on the final running leg. Despite this being a strictly for fun event, there were a few hard fought sprint finishes on very tired legs. Luckily all the runners and their bikes survived in tact and a great time was had by all.  

Interview with a Spitfire 

This month’s Spitfire of the month is someone who’s no stranger to adversity but he doesn’t let it hold him back. Always smiling, always helpful, in true Spitfire spirit he works hard to help others even when he’s having a tough time himself and,  when he can’t run, he’s there cheering. Of course I’m talking about the inspirational Alan Sherman. Now it’s time to see what he has to say…


When did you take up running and why? 

I took up running when Sarah and Lauren were taking part in the colour run for Naomi House in 2014. I thought it would be a laugh to register five minutes before the race and not tell them and turned up on the start on the start line.

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

I joined the Spitfires when Sarah encouraged me to come along.

What was your most memorable running moment?

Most memorable running moment was completing Tough Mudder in 2015 with my daughter Lauren Sherman and my friend Chris Harney running for the charity Mind.

What advice would you give to anyone struggling to find their running mojo?

Focus on hard work and perseverance and don’t take the easy option of giving up.

Where is your favourite place to run and why?

Favourite place to run is any trail run or RR10 because of the sense of freedom.

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

The best thing since joining Itchen Spitfires has been feeling more comfortable socialising with people.

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

My super power would be to banish hatred.

London Marathon Second Chance!

If you got one of these magazines and are feeling a bit down in the mouth because you didn’t get a London Marathon place, don’t despair. Why not email Amelia with a copy of your rejection email or a picture of your rejection magazine to enter the second chance ballot and be in with a chance of winning a club place. The draw will be held at the End of Year Award Ceremony. Go on, do it now. You have to be in it to win it!

October PB’s 


Ok, this is getting silly now! There were a stupidly ridiculous number of PB’s this month.  I’m not sure what is going on but you are all getting seriously speedy. Some of you are also getting a bit greedy, getting several PB’s in one month. Poor Dave Keates was getting eye strain going through all of them. He even had to put his glasses on at one point. I suggest you all slow down and take it easy in November to give him a rest.


Claire Potenziani 28.55
Kieran Shipperly 20.09
Nick Myers 23.38
Rebecca Smith 26.57
Jennifer Fradgley 24.1
Becky Diggle 23.48
Gary Cahill 28.18
Helen L’Enfant 29.29
Harriet Chinnock 30.22
Rosie Phillips 20.5
Ed Tavner 20.54
Helen Arwen Bonaer 20.56
Gemma Waughman 29.38


Matt Simmons 54.12

8 Mile

Joanna Dorman 1:12:10
Teresa Robson 1:12:09
Amanda Chalk 1:15:11
David L’Enfant 1:00:24
David Chalk 1:00:26
Gerry Robson 49.23
Elizabeth Smith 1:19:15
Glen Medcalf 1:03:25
Jan Bray 1:34:27
Mitchel Robson 1:22:05
Marcus Hewitt 1:07:33
Helen L’Enfant 1:22:29
Tracy Dear-woolhouse 1:43:17
Kerry Murray 1:36:17
Tori Collinson 1:12:18
Paul Leeming 1:22.32

10 Mile 

Helen Arwen Bonaer 1:12:40
Joanna Dorman 1:31:47
Paddy Connors 1:06:30
Matt Simmons 1:45:20
David L’Enfant 1:17:33
Gemma Scarff 1:44:00
Lauren Sherman 1:29:33
Alana Jane Williams 1:40:22
Becky Diggle 1:26:28
Rosie Phillips 1:12:21
Gary James Nias 1:25:00
Elizabeth Smith 1:47:30
Darren Palmer 1:13:34
Richard Diggle 1:12:09
Andrea Sommerville-Hewitt 1:41:33
Jamie Foster 1:06:53
Gareth Evans 1:13:56
Glen Medcalf 1:19:47
Alana Nairn 1:55:01
Lorna Banda 1:39:41
Keith Harris 1:08:59
Helen L’Enfant 1:44:26
Sam Brownsea 1:11:38
Lindsay Bowers 1:50:30
Chris Horn 1:32:05
Nick Myers. 1:29.39

Half Marathon

David L’Enfant 1:45:45
Abigail Hamilton 1:48:04
Elizabeth Smith 2:27:20
Darren Palmer 1:39:57
Gareth Evans 1:41:59
Sarah Sherman 2:22:24
Alana Nairn 2:41:23
Ian Hart 1:34:56
Richard Diggle 1:36:08
Robin Stacey 1:36:10
Ben Stewart 1:49:34
Lindsay Bowers 2:45:31
Chris Horn 2:06:47
Nick Myers 2:01.29
Diane Abraham 1:45.53
Lucy Ashton. 2:05.31


Paddy Connors 3:23:56
Taylor Alexis Cooper 5:12:22
Rosie Phillips 3:45:30
Clare Jesson 4:40:21
Becky Diggle 4:28:33

100k Longest Run

Luis Adrian Rosas Wiedfeldt 11:58:45
Scott dawson 11:58:45

How well do you know your run leaders? 

Can you work out which three run leaders went together to make this mixed up character?

Did you manage to  match the tattoo to the Spitfire last month? Here are the answers

The Great South Run 

The Duracel Bunny pacers were out in force again this month for the Great South Run and almost all of them looked very familiar. Around twenty thousand people took part in the ten mile race through Southsea and Portsmouth, although there were a few doubts for a while when Storm Brian blasted through the south coast in the lead up to the race. The events on Saturday were cancelled but luckily the weather improved for Sunday morning so the bunnies got their run.

The flat course may have been windy but it still produced a long list of PB’s and a lot of happy smiling faces. There was, however, one very worrying moment in the first few miles when many Spitfires reported seeing a runner being given CPR at the side of the road. There was very little information available about how he fared and things didn’t look good. After a great deal of research I’m happy to tell you that, although the man’s heart stooped beating and he actually died, the actions of the  medically trained runners who stopped to perform CPR meant the paramedics were able to revive him. The man was put into a medically induced coma for three days and he is now awake and making a recovery.






Call to arms! 

We need some help to make the Christmas Social extra splendid and spectacular this year.

Can you or your place of work help with donations of raffle prizes? Major prizes will be advertised in the newsletter on the website and on a board on the night and we have a letter requesting donations if you need one.

We also need volunteers to help the core team with things Like glass collecting, sorting, washing up etc. If you think you could help please send Amanda a personal message on FB.

PS If you think you have signed up for the event and have not received tickets by email please send Amanda a message.

Get your Christmas kit orders in now! 

If you’d like to treat someone to a little  Spitfire surprise for Christmas or if you’re on Santa’s naughty list and have to buy presents for yourself make sure you don’t miss out and get your order in early. Check out all the goodies on offer here.





And finally… 

It was something of a family affair when Sam Grant became the youngest member of the Southampton Parkrun 250 Club this month. He started the race with mum, Rachel, and ended it with Dad, John. Sam has been running parkruns since he was just 11. What an achievement!

Dave Chalk completed his 100th parkrun in style this month with a little parkrun tourism in San Francisco.

Finally, congratulations to Dani Bain and Mike Day for tying the knot this month. Dani and Mike met through the club so it’s fair to say becoming a Spitfire can really change your life!

Photo thanks to Jan Bray

#GoSpitfires #TogetherAsOne