Update - This set of Couch to 5K sessions is now fully booked.
By Leah Tavner
Photos thanks to Leah Tavner, Sharon Stewart and Amanda Chalk
Finally months of training came to a head when on Sunday 23rd December 16 brave Spitfires ran the Portsmouth Coastal marathon. A few more also came along and took on the half distance as a relay marathon. The course is known for being fairly flat, however I think we all went into it with our eyes open knowing it wasn't going to be an easy marathon! We all set off at 8:30am prompt - as apparently there is a risk that starting any later could mean that the tide would have been against us - and we could have been wading knee deep along the beachy stretches! The course was definitely “multi terrain”, with a combination of pavements, muddy paths, grass, gravel, and even a short stretch of shingle along the beach. There were muddy puddles a plenty due to all the rain we had before Christmas.
It was only afterwards when I realised I had run from Southsea to Hayling Island and back again, that the sheer scale of the distance hit home. There were, of course, Spitfire supporters along the way, most of whom cropped up two, three, four or even five times at various points along the route. This made the course much more bearable and it was lovely to see Sharon Stewart, Gerry Robson and clan, my Ed (Tavner), Paul and Heather Leeming, Clare Jesson, Bev Lawrence and Julie and Matt Mills along the way, and several others too. Not to mention my personal hero Kev Mills who appeared out of nowhere at mile 20 and motivated me all the way to the finish line, then went back to get others through those difficult final few miles. I may well have given up at 22 miles if it wasn't for his company and support – cheers Kev. Next time I'll take up the hip flask offer.
I'm not sure there were many PBs set on that course, but there were some super brave Spitfires who chose this as their first marathon – well done Benjamin Stewart, Alana Williams and Amanda Chalk! Also a few suffered falls along the way – and no doubt sported some black and blue shiners on Christmas Day! The pint of beer at the finish line though made it all worthwhile – sort of.
What can I say – what an amazing way to start Christmas and we certainly all earned our mince pies, turkey and mulled wine.
Finally – the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon is taking place on Sunday 3rd February – I'll see you there!
By Amanda Harris
Happy New Year guys!!
Some of you will know that every year we do a great job of supporting some of our big local races by showing our support and volunteering on race day, something that we love to do and and are passionate about continuing.
This year, the committee have agreed that any money raised from volunteering will contribute to the End of Year Social (EoYS), reducing costs for our members. The new venue worked really well this year and we are hoping to hold it there again.
I've signed us up for the three races below and thought I’d let you know the dates nice and early in the year so you'd have the chance to pop them in your diary if you fancy giving it a go.
Please let me know which event you might like to volunteer for. We need at least 20 volunteers to qualify for each event. Each is a super fun day that you are sure to enjoy with the added benefit of a cheaper end of year do!!
- Amanda Harris
By Catherine Crocker
Most of you will have run at a parkrun or at least heard about it, but there is more to parkrun than turning up to your local park at 9am on a Saturday and running 5km.
Parkrun tourism is fast becoming a popular hobby by running at different events. There are currently 587 UK locations, the furthest from us is Bressay which is 746 miles away and according to Google maps will take you 22 hours and 14 minutes of travelling to get to. There are a further 1063 events worldwide. But you don’t always need to travel far; we are lucky living in Hampshire as we have approximately 23 runs within a 45 minute drive.
The holy grail of parkrunning is Bushy Park, where it all started in 2004 with a total of 13 finishers. Nowadays they have an average of 688, but their biggest attendance was 2,011 on Christmas Day 2018.
In the UK, Paul Fielding has run a total of 422 different parkruns. He must be a local as his home parkrun is Basingstoke, but he’s only run there 22 times. 4th place in this league table goes to Lady Penelope (Rosemary) Egbie who has run at 302 different venues. According to the global parkrun website, Paul Freyne has run at 447 different Parkruns.
There is a exclusive group on Facebook that you can only join if you have run at 20 or more different parkruns. Unfortunately I’m only at 18 so can’t tell you the benefits of joining the group. I have heard a rumour that you can purchase a “cow cowl” running buff, which was conceived as an easy way of identifying other tourists visiting parkrun. The buff is unofficial and unique to the group, which currently has 4,056 members.
Rather than just randomly running at other parkruns, some people like a list to tick off (me!!). To give order to your list it can have a theme - the most popular seems to be The A-Z of parkrun. This involves completing a parkrun beginning with every letter of the alphabet (hint: you can do 24 in the UK, but you’ll have to travel to South Africa, Poland or Australia to get Z and currently there isn’t a venue beginning with X yet). Someone has even produced a sheet which you can colour in a square every time you do a run, complete an alphabet run, complete a tourism run and complete a run with your finish time seconds between 01 and 59 i.e. 30.01, 31.02, 33.59 etc.
Here are some other ideas for tourism from the UK parkrun blog:
If you want to get a top ranking finish you might want to consider running at Girvan Prom parkrun which averages 32.6 runners per week and has a record attendance of 62 people. Take a look at the parkrun elevation rankings - the flattest is Selby (3 ft) and the highest is Whinlatter Forest (674 ft) I’d probably need an oxygen tank waiting for me at the top!!
There are some parkruns that you might not want to put on your to-do list - there are currently 9 UK parkruns only open to inmates detained at her Majesty’s pleasure.
Of course you don’t need to run to be a tourist: You can also volunteer and see the runners from a different angle, get another point towards your purple t-shirt and give something back to the community you are visiting. Another part of tourism is sharing your experience, so if you have been a parkrun tourist please consider writing a short report for the newsletter to let us know what it was like - you might want to consider telling everyone what the parking was like, any interesting facts about the venue, was it a PB for you, highlights and lowlights of the course, and finally what the post run refreshment venue was like - I would be especially grateful if you could let me know what the tea and teacakes were like. Happy parkrun tourism.
By Sue Haig
Photos thanks to Lindsay Bowers, Julie Deards, Sue Haig and Leah Tavner
On Saturday 8th December the End of Year Social took place at HighPoint and what an event it proved to be. It took 2 votes - one for the venue and the next about the food, to agree to HighPoint. This proved to be a great choice as everyone who wanted to come could come, kids were also welcome and had space to play! We didn't need the huge TV and DVDs - A VERY special thanks to Julie Mills & Evie for overseeing the young Spitfires!
Maybe Jan & I are a tad biased, but we think it was a great success with the added bonus that Highfield is a charity & therefore supports the local community! A true Spitfire ethos.
Gil did an excellent job of hosting - presenting all the run leaders with a lovely framed print and the requisite bottle of rather nice wine (already tested!).
Then came the Club Championship Awards. All of those who completed the champs were awarded a beautiful spitfire medal, and who doesn’t do it for the bling??
League table top winner
Dave Brett - 410 points
|18 - 30||Douglas Lafferty|
|31 - 40||Tyrone Bowers|
|41 - 50||Dave Brett|
|18 - 30||Becca Smith|
|31 - 40||Lindsey Bowers|
|41 - 50||Vicky Pratt|
Overall age grading winner
Park run biggest improvement
Following the results and the buffet being served we were able to let loose on the dance floor. A great deal of merriment and dare I say it, alcohol, was had by all. There are some incriminating video clips too, allegedly! Best of all we didn't have to clean or tidy up, there were no broken bones this year and most importantly you raised a whopping total of £783 for the Club. Thank you.
There were a few hangovers to be had, as only A few, 18, hardy runners turned up for the CC6 on Sunday morning!
We'd love to know your thoughts about the venue, so please message us with any feedback as we will be meeting up with the HighPoint team in the New Year. Jan and I would like to thank you all for making it such a success and raising so much.
|£100 Brittany Ferries voucher||Paula Lovell|
|Cunard/P&O package||Leah Tavener|
|Rees Leisure package||Ben Stewart|
|Spitfires kit||Rob Benham|
|Dave Bray BBQ bonanza||Abi Hamilton|
|£25 Decathalon voucher||Tasha Ault|
|Mango Thai Tapas voucher||Lucy Ashton|
|WSR Craft fox voucher & GSR jacket||Liz Smith|
|The Chalks running hamper||Helen Bonear|
|Dreki life - 5 sessions||Nicki P|
|Dreki life -5 sessions||Sara Taylor|
|Ed Diner £20 voucher||Maria Bowers|
|Bills hamper||Leah Tavener|
|Challenge events place & GSR jacket||Tracy Woolhouse|
|Fairthorne Manor activity session||Helen Bonear|
|Rural Running place & GSR jacket||Catherine Crocker|
|LH Beauty - mini facial||Nigel (Trudie Green)|
|Alton Sports cap & £40 off||Gerry Robson|
|Spitfire affiliated place||Michelle Ritchie|
|Vivid Beauty (eyebrow treatment)||Dani Day|
|Relish Running 5k/10k place & GSR jacket||Maria Bowers|
|£20 Owtons voucher||Julie Mills|
|3/52 archery course||Dave Bray|
|Woolston adventure place||Jackie De Lisle|
By Alana Williams
Photos thanks to Lana Williams, Adam Ruddy and Ian Howard
The morning after the night before…not normally the best way for race prepping, but there you go! 18 of us hardy souls braved the cold to try the new Janesmoor Pond route.
Hangover aside, I have to say I preferred last year’s route with lots of mud and a stream to run through – this was the course whose hills just kept on giving, and giving and giving. There was however the Tuba man back for more Christmas carols, which made it slightly better.
I’ll be honest, I felt horrific – if Aisha hadn’t have stuck with me I may have abandoned all hope and had a nap in a hedge instead!
Cap’n Ruddy turned up and started setting up in the main field, not realising that our fragile souls had taken shelter in a secluded bush area – shouting at him didn’t work, so Chris Jones went off to help bring him over. If you’ve not seen Jamie, Ian or Chris Puzey’s photoshop skills, go find them in the main group – Chris Jones is now an international man of mystery!
Our ladies A team included new member Lulu, well done! Thank you Susan for not being hungover and for also not missing a race!
|Alana Jayne Williams||89|
We finished 10th on the day, and are currently sitting at 8th overall behind New Forest so if you see one in front of you nearing the finish – mow them down!
Our men’s A team finished 7th with Steve leading us in, sitting currently at 9th overall behind Hedge End:
Special mentions to Cam, Simon and Darren who have yet to miss a race, well done!
Shame on those of you who promised to run, but didn’t make it out…mentioning no names Harry, Charlotte and Al! :p
Big thanks to Simon for the hot chocolate, Jonathan for results processing, Hannah and Marcus for results taking and Alana for the cheers – lovely to have you with us. If I’ve missed anyone, it’s certainly nothing personal but you saw the state of me…I’ve tried erasing the whole race from memory!
Advance warning - Totton have had to amend the location of the CC6 event on Feb 17th from Dennywood to Ashurst Campsite. The run will go from the campsite, over the railway bridge, through Deerleap Enclosure to Longdown Enclosure and back.The course will be about 60% gravel track and 40% muddy tracks and dirt paths. - Cap’n Lana
By Aisha Murphy
A small handful of Spitfires turned up for this year's Southampton Common 10K. Having already ran 5 miles there, the drizzling rain and 5 minute late start due to a technical fault was not welcome. Despite this less than perfect start, the actual race itself was a pleasant surprise. Those of you that know me well know that I'm a bit of a lastminute.com and very rarely check race details if at all, so to start running and realising it's 3 laps made me dread the next 6 miles . HOWEVER! And this is a big however! The laps turned out to be fast with only 1 incline. This race has so much potential for those looking for a new 10k PB.
The medal was mediocre as was the T-shirt, but us runners are spoilt when it comes to the bling - those who cycle amongst us will know what I'm talking about. Would I do it again? Yes... Not for the medal, but for its fast course. It's a great time of year too (not too hot)!!
A big congratulations is due to Ben Potenziani for completing his first official 10k with an amazing 55.42 ... you smashed it!!
Note to self: Take photos of race days!!!
Cheers to everyone who gained a PB this month!
|George Bowers||30:41 (#10)|
Click on the links below if you are interested in any of these events
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this month’s newsletter.