Newsletter October 2018

A sad farewell

This month has turned out to be the end of an era in the history of the club. With great sadness we say farewell to club founders John and Rachel Grant. They took the germ of an idea, concocted over a few pints in the pub, and, from it, built a running club that turned strangers into family. Their vision, dedication and sheer hard work, has made the club what it is today and we all have a great deal to thank them for. Let’s hope they have a well earned rest. They certainly deserve it. May their future hold all they wish for.

The Bournemouth  Marathon Festival

The first weekend of October saw the sixth annual Bournemouth Marathon Festival, a weekend long running extravaganza at the sunny Bournemouth seaside. There were races for every age and ability, including a series of children’s races, the Supernova 5k at dusk, the Supersonic 10k along the seafront and, of course, the half and full marathons.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t play nicely for those who took part in the Saturday events but the weather conditions were perfect for the longer races on Sunday. Both the half and full marathons began at Kings Park in Boscombe, took in the sea front, both Boscombe and Bournemouth piers and finished in front of Bournemouth pier. For the half marathoners, there was a stupidly early start and some extremely long toilet queues that left to some runners (Adam Ruddy) missing the actual start and having to play catch up for the rest of the race.

Pictures thanks to Helen Arwen Bonaer (and me)

A few Spitfires didn’t fancy getting out of bed at five on a Sunday morning and chose instead to run the full marathon which at least had the advantage of starting at a more sensible hour. For Andy Herman and Helen Arwen Bonaer it was their first full marathon and they were joined by marathon veteran Elizabeth Smith who was running her second. All three had fantastic runs with Andy and Helen breaking the four hour barrier and Liz getting a whopping twenty six minute PB.

Bournemouth Half Marathon – guest post by Tash Avery

Today was the day of the Bournemouth Half Marathon/Marathon.  Those of you that know me well would know I don’t do marathons leaving just a half marathon.  After the weather on Saturday I was hoping for a dry day, at a 6.15am start it was rather chilly at only 6 degrees but at least it was dry.  It was all a bit of a rush at the start, the queue for the toilets was very long, meaning some people didn’t make the start on time, I had 20 seconds to go.

I have never run Bournemouth and after a season of no races due to breaking my wrist I was looking forward to getting back to what I love most.  I have absolutely no idea where I was running and which piers we went up and down on, but it was mostly flat except a horrendous hill at mile 8, the spectators eventually came out in Bournemouth centre helping us along the way.  I couldn’t work out why people knew my name until I realised it was printed on my number.

The best part on the course was when you came back on yourself, meaning you could spy on all your team mates to see who is coming close.  For me I was supposed to be helping Dave Keates to a pb, but we lost each other at the start so Rob Kelly kindly paced Dave.  I was gutted to find Dave beat me by 8 seconds, at least I have someone to aim for at Gosport now.

So, after the race we had a long walk back, around 4 miles, thanks to Kali and the power of GPS we found the car, otherwise I may have still been in Bournemouth now.

Definitely a race to enter for next year.

Pieces of Eight

Photo thanks to Dave Bray information thanks to Glen Medcalf & Jan Bray

For those who felt Bournemouth was a step too far, especially with roadworks making getting there at all quite a challenge, there was a shorter race a little closer to home. The eighth Pieces of Eight, eight mile race is not only a tongue twister but also a nice flat, fast run along Southsea Seafront from the RNLI lifeboat Station. With a start time of 9:45, no getting up stupidly early was required either.

A small but cheery team of Spitfires gathered at the water’s edge on a beautifully sunny day for a pre race photo, thanks to Dave Bray. It was a prefect running day. Glen Medcalf took full advantage and was the first official Spitfire to cross the line. Unofficially, John Grant was the first Spitfire  to finish but, as he was running as Lauren Folan, he decided it was wise not to cross the finish line. Being the first female finisher might have taken a little explaining. Somehow I think he’d have had a hard time convincing the officials he was a woman!

Apparently this year finishers were rewarded with a tub of Pringles, which was a step up from the strange, fizzy cucumber drink everyone got last year. Thanks to Glen Medcalf and Jan Bray for filling me in on all the details.

Photos thanks to Dave Bray

The Salisbury Half Marathon – guest post by Heather Leeming

Photos thanks to Heather Leeming

The Salisbury half marathon being on the same day as Bournemouth probably had some impact on the number of Spitfires who ran. The original team photo consisted of just three runners, Teresa Robson, Tori Collinson and Paul Leeming. We then bumped into Rach Sutch pushing the team photo. From a spectators point it was a great course with two laps so ample cheering and photo opportunities. Also I positioned myself opposite the Navy Larks, a group of men singing sea shanties which was very entertaining.

The weather, after a chilly start, was gorgeous, warm and sunny. From a runners prospective the course was reasonably flat with great scenery, although there was not a lot of support along the route. After the year that Salisbury has had, a bit more  support would have been good but the scenery more than made up for this. Also the goody bag could have been better. There was no food, not even a banana at the finish.

Photos thanks to Heather Leeming

CC6 Whiteley

Photos and information thanks to Captain Alana

Unfortunately, although the Whiteley CC6 was the first of the season for Spitfires, poor Alana was left without a male team captain or an official photographer as both, along with several of the usual cross country addicts, were gadding about in Bournemouth, Portsmouth or Salisbury. Despite all the other races we still fielded eight women and  eleven men, although poor Steve picked up an injury and didn’t manage to finish.

The weather was perfect, crisp and bright but not too hot and, thanks to a little rain, the ground was soft, unlike our last RR10 here when it was like granite. Sadly there was no mud but I’m sure there will be more than enough later in the season.  Apparently Al was way ahead of the pack in first place until he and a few of the other speedy runners took a wrong turn and ended up on an unofficial detour. Even so, he managed to find his way back to the course eventually and finished a very respectable 6th. Sadly, Gill also managed to injure himself, although he did hobble to the finish.

Marcus Hewitt and Charlotte Rennie did a fantastic job of token collecting and Leah Tavner and Jamie Foster processed the results. As ever, the event ended with some yummy cakes made by Stuart and Jo and Ian purchased some nice cornflake cakes from Sainsburys. Full results and race report can be found here. If you haven’t yet volunteered and would like to play in the mud this winter, message Adam or Alan for volunteering opportunities.

Photo thanks to Captain Alana

Autumn running 

The onset of Autumn, with its slippery leaves, mud, mist, short days and, often, frankly unpleasant weather, doesn’t have to cramp your running style. In fact, many runners say autumn, with its cooler days, is the best time of year for running. The beauty of changing leaves and the exhilaration of misty morning runs can make running way more fun than it was in the heat of summer and can lay the foundations of fitness that will pay dividends during spring races. 

To really enjoy autumn running there are a few pieces of kit well worth investing in. Obviously, with more running after dark on the cards, high viz tops, jackets, reflective accessories and head torches are a must. You really can’t be lit up enough if you want to stay safe. Staying dry and warm is another issue that’s easily tackled with sensible layering. Lightweight hats, gloves and jackets will combat the autumn chill until you warm up and a quality wicking base layer, including leggings, will keep you comfortable throughout your run. Good trail shoes will help you cope with, wet, frosty, muddy conditions and give you the confidence of improved grip and support. 

With a few, relatively inexpensive additions to your kit, the autumn and winter truly can be the most inspirational time to run. There really is nothing better than running through the fallen leaves in the park, crunching across frosty grass with your breath in clouds before you or spllish splashing through the puddles like a child. When you come home, tired, wet and glowing, you know you really are a proper runner!

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.

Run the world with Dan Thompson

For the second Monday session of October we welcomed Dan Thomson to our club. Founder of Run The World, Dan, has been undertaking a gruelling challenge to run 10km in every country in the world (206 in all) by the 2020 Olympics, to promote the benefits of running and raise money for cancer research. He is also planning to run with running clubs in cities across the UK. In Southampton, the Itchen Spitfires Running Club were the obvious choice. In all, forty four Spitfires chose to miss the Monday time trial session to run from The Feather to Victoria Country Park with Dan. If you want to know more about how it went check out his blog here, it’s well worth a read and you can also donate to his cause. He thoroughly enjoyed running with the club and has invited us to run the final leg with him in London on July 4th 2020.

Run and Talk –  guest post by Abi Hamilton

Wednesday 10th October was World Mental Health Day and England Athletics acknowledged this by holding a #runandtalk week for clubs across the country to get involved in.

As usual we chose to hold this on our Thursday night session on 11th October.  The run leaders thought it would be good to hold a fun activity to encourage more people to talk and have fun whilst also enjoying their weekly club run.  It was decided that a scavenger hunt would be something different and John and Rachel came up with the idea of fitting a list of items into a matchbox.  The groups were split into the usual A – H with at least one run leader in each group.  Every group headed off in a different direction and the fun started.  Everyone returned on time and bar one group all of them had collected the items on the list.  It was great hearing each group’s story. I particularly liked Teresa’s tale of mistakenly finding herself in a Thai Massage parlour looking for a red piece of paper! Another group spent a great amount of time rummaging through a skip!

We enjoyed a beer, soft drink and cake and then there was a tie break question which was to the closest second what is John Grant’s marathon PB.  Group A were the winners only being 20 seconds out.

We are planning to hold another #runandtalk session early next year with the plan being to have another fun activity. Thank you to everyone that came along and joined in.

HCCL Bournemouth 

There was a slight feeling of deja vu as we headed off to Bournemouth for the second week in a row. Thankfully, this time it was at a more civilised hour. Unfortunately, this also meant lots more traffic as we tried to get through the roadworks. Of course, we were heading for the first race in the HCCL series, which is actually in Boscombe at the Kings Park Ground and, since the county border changes back in 1974, not actually in Hampshire any more either. None of this stopped the intrepid cross country Spitfires from  enjoying a bit of off road madness.

The six mile course was four laps of three fields with a little bit of woodland thrown in. For spectators who were willing to do a bit of dashing from field to field, this meant there were lots of chances to see the runners and lots of photo opportunities, especially those tall enough to see over the hedge from one field into another. The vast majority of the course was flat, with a touch of soft earth here and there but no actual mud. There were, however, lots of twists and turns to test the runners, including one sharp loop around a tree. For anyone who wishes they’d been there, there is another chance to take part in this tough but exciting league in Aldershot in November.

England Athletics Volunteer Awards 2018 – guest post by Abi Hamilton 

Photos thanks to Sarah Sherman & Abi Hamilton

Whilst on holiday in July I received a message from Sarah Sherman asking if I was happy for her to nominate me for a social inclusion award for my involvement with the mental health ambassador role.  Being half way through a Sangria overlooking a beach I said yes and didn’t think any more of it. In September I received an email from England Athletics informing me I had won the South East Inclusion award and could I attend an award ceremony on Thursday 4 October.  I asked Sarah to attend with me as she had so kindly nominated me.

Sarah and I had a lovely evening listening to the stories of different award winners.  My award was presented by a GB Team Trail Runner.  He asked me about the events we held when I accepted my award and I was able to talk about our #runandtalk events and how we include a walking group so members with injuries can still be involved.  It was amazing how many nods I saw around the room from people who could recognise how not running can have an impact on people’s mental health.

On 13 October I was invited to the National Volunteer Awards at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.  These awards included the England Athletics Hall of Fame Awards where former athletes get inducted into the Hall of Fame.  This year Jessica Ennis, Kathrine Merry and John Regis were among the inductees.  Another inductee was a posthumous award for a race walker from Eastleigh called Tommy Green.  Tommy won the 50km walking race at the 1932 Olympics.  It talks about how the father of 4 had to take unpaid leave as a railway worker in Eastleigh to take the trip across to California by ship and train.  Tommy had survived the First World War after firstly having a horse fall on him and then later being gassed.  After the war his doctor advised he took up exercise to help protect his lungs from the damage they suffered from the gassing. He took up race walking and it led to him winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics.  His grandchildren accepted his award and showed the audience the Gold medal from the games which has now turned silver as he spent years carrying it around in his pocket so he could show people.

The Volunteer awards were announced and I was up against two other very worthy opponents.  The winner was a man who set up a disability group in South East London.  It was a great evening and once again I got to talk to other clubs about what their involvement is with encouraging positive mental health and running. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah for nominating me.  I feel that this award and the finalist nomination was a great recognition of how supportive the club is and, although my name was on the award, it was a club achievement.

Spitfires quiz night

Photos and information thanks to Sue Haig & Meeje Brett

After the success of the last quiz night our amazing social secretaries Sue and Jan thought it was time for another. Sadly, Quiz Master Dave Bray couldn’t be there this time but his place was more than ably filled but another Dave (we certainly have no shortage of them), Dave Folan. Julie Folan did a fantastic job as chief marker and great fun, plus a lot of head scratching and ‘I know this one’s,’ was had by all. The event also raised a whopping £85!

Running Scared was the winning team, by the narrowest of margins and, just for once, Gerry didn’t win all the raffle prizes. In fact, I understand Meeje made off with some Black Forest Gin. Whether she actually won this or not remains to be seen!

Interview with a Spitfire 

The October Spitfire of the Month is the wonderful  Kim Kelly. Known to many of you as a regular parkrun RD, Kim is a fantastic ambassador for parkrun and the club. Not only does she put a massive amount into the running community, but she’s been a PB machine of late too!  All in all, Kim is a great example of the spitfire ethos , a great person to know and a deserving winner!


When did you take up running and why?? 

I took up running when my old club decided to start a beginners group and, after year of watching Rob, I thought I may as well give it a go.

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

I heard about Itchen Spitfires when John and Rachel set the club up. It was such a friendly club and supportive at every event that it made me want to be a part of it.

You are a regular parkrun RD. What is the best thing about RDing parkrun?

The best thing about RDing is the atmosphere every week. It’s great to see so many runners improving every week.

What is your favourite bit of running kit?

My parkrun 250 top.

What was your most memorable running moment?

The most memorable run, and I still laugh about it now, was the Gosport half. It was my fourth half and the last one for that year. With two miles to go I refused to move. Rachel ran with me and tried to encourage me to move but I just stood still and said “Nope call me a Taxi.”

Do you have any running heroes, if so who?

It might be a bit cheesy but it’s got to be my husband Rob.

If you could go running anywhere in the world where would it be?

I would love to do the New York marathon.

Marathon tourism, Zagreb & Chicago

Our roving marathon runner, Edo was at it again this month, this time in Zagreb. This is one of his favourite races, partly because it’s nice and flat but also because he knows all the roads well. Unfortunately, when it came to actually running, it wasn’t his finest hour. Poor Edo was getting over a fever so wasn’t  as fit as he usually is and his illness had hampered his training. His time may have been far slower than it was in previous years but he finished and notched up marathon number 30! The medal was, in Edo’s words, “nice but a bit churchy, and a step down from last year’s magnificence.” Apparently the text is in local Zagreb dialect and says “Greeting, my dear Zagreb”.

For those of you not as familiar with Zagreb as Edo, it is actually the capital and largest city in Croatia. Situated on the Sava river on the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain it is around 409ft (122m) above sea level. Often overlooked as a tourist destination, perhaps because it has no beaches and is not on the Adriatic coast, the city has a rich history and some impressive 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture. In the centre there is a fabulous gothic, twin spired cathedral and St Marks Church, dating from the 13th century, possibly the churches on Edo’s medal. Zagreb is literally bursting with museums, restaurants and bars and some decent shopping venues too. So, if you’re  looking for beautiful, history filled destinations, with some shopping opportunities to run marathons in, Zagreb certainly fits the bill.

Photos and report thanks to Bev Lawrence

Meanwhile Bev Lawrence checked out the Chicago marathon and sent me the following report.

The Chicago marathon is one of the Abbott Marathon Major series and takes you through 20 of the city’s historic neighbourhoods with 40,000 runners taking part. It was an early start as they close the corals half an hour before your departure time. For us, this was 8:30 and we were staying around an hour away and using public transport, which is, luckily, very good.

The wet start was not forecast. It was a little chilly but that did not dampen the atmosphere. The first half  was very busy, with lots of spectators and support despite the rain, and there were some very animated police on duty too. You couldn’t fault their enthusiasm, I’m  sure they were just as loud for the fast runners as they were for us. The course is flat with only a 250 foot elevation, and most of which was right at the end, and water and fuel stations every mile or so. It’s a fast course, well if you’re Mo Farah it’s fast, not so if you’re injured and just want to get around.

We finished in a not so staggering time but we collected our bling, which, after all, is what we went for. My garmin registered 27.3 miles, which just shows the difference from not sticking to the blue line over that sort of distance.

Chicago is a lovely city with lots to see, do and eat, if you fancy a spot of Marathon tourism well worth it although not cheap and a ballot to enter. Clearly we were very lucky on our first attempt.

October PB’s 


October was another bumper month for PB’s . Thanks to Dave Keates for compiling the list and well done to everyone who appears on it.




Robin Stacey 19.26
Shirley Critell 38.21
Frazer Bailey 21.2
Dave Keates 20.16
Nicola Robinson 23.52
Aaron Gale 25.02
James Bourne 27.55
Esther Stewart 30.51
Graham Andrews 20.35
Ian Buckman 22.48
Cameron Sommerville Hewitt 19.18
Adam Ruddy 19.31
Andy Walker 27.22

Junior parkrun

Ollie Tavner 9.13


Jim Bourne 57.18
Sam Cox 47.17

8 mile

Tina Street 1:44:37
Trudie Green 1:44:37

10 mile

Leah Tavner 1:19:22
Alana Jane Williams 1:39:16
Becca Smith 1:22:00
Sam Cox 1:17:29
Tim Arnold 1:17:12
Trevor Hillier 58.38
Mark Campbell 1:08:32
Paddy Connors 1:01:01
Nicki Barton 2:00:16
Vikki Lodge 1:54:21
Andy Walker 1:46:29
Kali Banda 1:09:24
Helen Arwen Bonaer 1:11:58
Jamie Foster 1:03:10
Carole Stevenson 1:32:34
Jonathan Barnard 1:15:53
Tina Street 2:21:03
Emily Sadler 1:54:22
Adam Ruddy 1:08:37
Mitchell Robson 1:45:15
Phil Smith 1:22:00
Jackie DeLisle 1:51:00
Paula Lovell 1:25:00

Half marathon

Becca Smith 1:47:17
Nicki Barton 2:37:39
Kali Banda 1:31:41
Rachel Jordan Sutch 1:59:16
Tori Collinson 1:57:06
Teresa Robson 1:59:07
Adam Pratt 2:05:33
Sara Taylor 2:18:22
Jamie Foster 1:23:26
Adam Ruddy 1:34:20
Lindsey Bowers 2:30:15
Tyronne Bowers 1:52:38
Paula Lovell 1:52:48
Dan Lovell 1:41:29


Elizabeth Smith 5:15:00
Gabs O’brien 3:56:34
Andy Herman 3:48:15
Helen Arwen Bonaer 3:48:15
Paula Lovell 4:43:45


Did you work out who owned the flying feet last month? If not, here they are.








The Great South Run 

There was a brief return to the hot and sultry summer weather just in time for the Great South Run. As usual the pacer team, with their wonderful bunny ears, was rather Spitfire heavy. Sadly, terrible traffic jams meant I never actually made it to the special Spitfire team area. In fact, there was a moment or two when I thought I wasn’t going to make the race at all. Unbelievably, I even had to forgo my pre race coffe and dash straight from the pacers team photo to find a spot on the route.

All the smiles and waves from passing Spitfires made up for the lack of coffee and I think I managed to capture almost everyone. If I missed you I’m sorry, but I blame it on a caffeine deficiency.


Change of date for the Southampton Marathon

Due to a series of unforeseen events, including the M27 roadworks, a Saints Game and the London Marathon, the date of the 2019 ABP Southampton Marathon has been changed. It will now be run on 5 May. If you’ve entered the event make sure you change the date in your diary. If you haven’t entered, maybe now is the time to consider  it?

And finally… 

Well done to Keith Harris for pacing parkrun 40 minutes on his 40th birthday.

Also congratulations to Perri Seymour for running his 100th parkrun.