By Chris Puzey
Photos by Lindsay Bowers
So there it was, the first RR10 we could race in. A total of 58 intrepid Spitfires ventured out to the New Forest on a beautiful spring evening, ready (well some more than others) to take on the hills and spills of Stoney Cross.
This race is organised by Totton with 3 drop out clubs (Eastleigh, Lordshill and Romsey), however there still ended up being 308 finishers in total. Before we could start there was a moment of chaos as a herd of cows decided to cross the starting area. Luckily this didn’t delay proceedings and we set off on time, around what would kindly be described as an undulating course.
The first mile was a nice downhill section, and the clever runners listened to people who had run this course before, and used this to conserve energy. Others, and I speak from personal experience, decided to hit this as hard as possible and deal with the uphill sections when they got there. This was very much my highlight of the course and I immediately regretted this approach as we hit the first climb and my lungs caught fire. Somehow, and after what felt like hours, the top came into view and then the route steadied out for a while. The next mile or so was fairly steady with no real drama, however then the last hill came into view and all the earlier warnings came back with a vengeance. However once this last mile of climbing was run/walked/crawled it opened out onto a flatter section, and the welcome sight of the finish line and, more importantly, the cake. Overall, and with the benefit of a good night's sleep, I really enjoyed the course but really need to listen to my own pre-race advice more.
As for the results, as this was our first race of the season there isn’t too much analysis to do. However we managed to field 6 men’s teams and 8 ladies'. A total of 17 V40’s, 9 V50’s, 2 V60’s and a V70.
So all in all a really good turnout for the Spitfires and some great results, and not too many insect bites. Hopefully you all enjoyed the race and for those of you new to the events don’t let the last hill put you off; they aren’t all like that honestly.
All that’s left to say is onwards and upwards to Wilverley Inclosure in two weeks.
By Sue Haig
It's marathon time again! On the 5th of May a merry band of volunteers, lead by Amelia, gathered at Guildhall Square bright and early. We gathered for the traditional Spitfires team photos - the runners and those volunteering.
We were at the end of the 10k, 1/2 and full marathon all along London Road. We were dressed for all types of weather - it started off quite cool, but soon warmed up! We were all pleased to be wearing layers! It turned out to be a busy day. It started out with a couple having a fight outside the pub and that was before the race started! Rach was chatted up and offered a beer at 10.30, but the person in question had started it! This is the fun you have when marshalling!
We were supplied with the obligatory hi-viz jackets, crisps, water, sweets, fruit and muesli bars.....but we didn't get a chance to eat or drink much through the day, just time to a snatch drink or sandwich along the way!
Those based at the crossroads at the bottom of London Road had an epic view of the start, cheering all the runners on their way and saying we would see them later! Extra cheers for any Spitfires spotted!
Before we knew it the first runners were coming through and it didn't stop all through the day. Meeje, with the megaphone, and Deeje were posted at the top of London Road. As you can imagine Meeje and the megaphone kept all the runners entertained, encouraging people on their way. Other marshals were posted along the way, cheering everyone one, directing traffic and dealing with the odd rather difficult member of the public. We did an epic job of cheering everyone on, from the speedy runners to those running for themselves and their own sense of achievement. We cheered on Annie, who was running for charity along with her son, and Ironman Fran amongst all the wonderful Spitfires running for themselves and a various charities, including Abby's Heroes. Tracy, Trudie and Kerry, doing 10k and 1/2 marathon respectively, raising a load of money in the process for Abby's.
Once the last man crossed the finish line at 3.45pm (we started at 8.30am) it was a quick dash to the pub for a couple of beers and to sit down after being on the go since leaving the feather. That beer was totally delicious if I say so myself. I had so much fun cheering people over the last few 100m and clocked up a massive 32,000+ steps! I also appreciate the lift home that Kerry's husband gave us!
If anyone is unable to run but wants to participate in various events volunteering comes comes highly recommended! DO IT! You could be cheering everyone on at the end or tailing or pacing at various events. Keep an eye out for future marshalling events, ones that I'm aware of include the Winchester 1/2 and Great South Run, not to mention the RR10's and CC6's!
By Rob Jesson
I joined 30,000 other runners in Manchester for the Great Manchester Run on the 8th of May. This is the third largest running event in the country, with the half marathon in the morning and the 10k in the afternoon. I'd travelled up to Manchester to meet up with some old school friends to run in memory of a friend who had died last year and raise money for the Sepsis Trust. Our group were varied in ability. At the one extreme we had someone who represents England in the V50 category for the 10k distance to someone who had never run a 5k until he trained for this race.
The event itself reminded me of the Great South Run, huge numbers taking part, loads of spectators, great atmosphere and an elite field at the start line. Winning the men's race in a time of 27:31 was Jacob Kiplimo.
For anyone who's a fan of Manchester music from the 80s and 90s (me!) you had plenty of music to listen to on the way round. This included the Boon Army Stage, where Clint Boon from Inspiral Carpets was playing Manchester music anthems from the likes of the The Stone Roses and The Smiths. Then there was the Hacienda Zone just before the finish line where Peter Hook, from New Order had put together a playlist from the iconic days of the legendary club, together with a smoke machine and disco lights which got me across the finish in a time of 46:56.
For anyone thinking of a weekend away, it's a great event in a great city.
By Sarah Sherman
Sunday the 12th of May saw a small group of Spitfires take part due to other races on the racing calendar.
It was a glorious morning and a lovely route of mixed terrain. Some on grass, road and gravel paths. The stunning scenery along Keyhaven is must for anyone wanting to run this route. It was wonderful to spectate the youngsters in their mini race.
A great run as always and wonderful to support such a worthy charity the RNLI.
By Alana Nairn
On Sunday the 12th of May, Sue, Kerry and I set out to complete two of the three distances in the Mini Challenge. The Two Tunnels Mini Challenge is a 5k, 10k and half marathon.
We bravely or foolishly, I leave that for you to decide, had chosen to complete the 5k and 10k elements on the same day. The race “village” was in a field with stunning views of the surrounding area. There were multiple races taking part that day. 5ks, The Hilly 10k, the Out and Back 10k and half marathons.
The event was wonderfully organised with colour coded bibs denoting your wave start time. Due to narrow parts of the course you can’t have one entire race set out at the same time. It was a glorious day, not what you want when taking on two races!
We had chosen to start with the 5k first. Now as the name suggests there are train tunnels involved. The 5k was an out and back route where you run through the same tunnel twice. Running through the tunnels was certainly a new experience. The tunnels were cool in temperature which gave respite from the building heat. But more importantly the tunnels were flat! All I can say is that the approaches to them were most definitely not flat!! All three of us knew we couldn’t go out hard in the race as we had the 10k to complete later.
The route was lovely. It was tree lined and you ran past a field of wild garlic as well. The marshals were excellent on the course. All supportive and making noise. When we were in the warm up area we got chatting to a group of ladies from Taunton Running Club who were doing exactly the same races as us. They were a lovely bunch and we all encouraged each on the course. I completed my 5k by running in with Sarah from Taunton. We had just over an hour to wait for the 10k. As I have mentioned the race village was in a field which offered little shade. We did manage to find some in the end.
That hour quickly passed and we were off for the 10k. I haven’t run much this year so I wasn’t expecting much other than finishing. I found a comfortable pace to plod round and enjoyed taking in the scenery. Kerry had thankfully booked us on the Out and Back 10k and not the Hilly one - we overheard one runner who had taken part in the Hilly version confirm in colourful language that it was indeed very hilly! The course for the 10k took us through the same tunnel as the 5k but we carried on further into another tunnel which lasted about a mile. The longer tunnel had music playing in places. A lovely touch for those using the tunnels. Something to note is that the tunnels were still open to the public.
Just be before the turn around point a walker informed me if I kept going straight on there was a pub. Have to say I was tempted however the thought of a second medal kept me on the course! Kerry smashed out a 10k PB - fantastic effort in the heat and in the second race of the day! Sue looked very comfortable when I saw her running back. It was great to be running with Spitfires again. Knowing you had support out on the course really keeps you going. In the last half kilometre I saw Kerry waiting for me as she had completed her race. It was good to see a smiley face. Kerry ran with me and once we got onto the home straight I declared there would not be a sprint finish as I had nothing left, but then what did I go and do? From somewhere I managed to find my sprint and get over that line! Our club is simply the best at supporting each other.
The post race snacks were amazing. Juicy oranges, chocolate, ice pops and Haribo, and as much water as you can drink! We now have two of the three medals. We will be completing the Two Tunnels Half Marathon next month to get our third medal AND A TROPHY EACH! I have to say a big thank you to Sue and Kerry who looked after me in many ways on race day, from forgetting my race day bag to ensuring I drank enough after the race. I can't wait for July!
Together As One.
By Rosie Philips and Jamie Foster
Photos from Lana Williams
Congratulations to everyone who competed in Race #3 of the RR10 league! We saw 56 Spitfires hit the trails around the Wilverley Inclosure on another sunny mid-week evening.
This week’s event was hosted by New Forest Runners and saw Stubbington Green and Hardley Runners drop out. With three big clubs returning to the league and the Southampton Marathon out of the way, it made for a large turnout with a total of 407 runners (221 men and 186 women).
For anyone who had experienced the Wilverley RR10 before, they knew just what to expect over the first mile. For anyone who hadn’t, they “quick”-ly found out! (pun intended). This course is known for it’s very fast start across the open plain as the jostle for positions takes place, before disappearing into the narrower trails. This fast start was right up Kali’s street as he led the race for the first kilometre – confusing some of the regular front runners!
Due to the nice weather recently, the trails were much drier than previous years. Fortunate for some, unfortunate for those who came away from the race covered in dust!.. but deep down, we’re all hoping for the mud to return soon.
This course was noticeably flatter than Stoney Cross for the majority of the race but wasn’t without its challenges. Just as you think you have broken the worst of the race, thinking “this ones not too bad, is it?” the trails start to go up, and up, and up... right into a sprint finish!
A big thank you to those who stood strong through the thousands of mosquitoes at the end of the race to cheer in the final runners.
Looking forward to the next one, and let’s see if we can get a few more teams!
Well done everyone!
-- Rosie & Jamie
Each month we will be featuring a different committee member so you can get to know them a little better, and understand how their love of running and volunteering came about. This month we start with our Welfare Officers; Paul and Tash.
I’m Paul Leeming, and I am one of your welfare officers.
I have been a member of the club for 4 years and a run leader for 3 years. I started running by completing the C25K on my own 4˝ years ago, as part of my training for doing the 3 peaks. This led to my first parkrun in Jan 2015, followed by the Southampton 10k a few months later.
I am a keen advocate of parkrun, and if I’m not running it I can usually be found volunteering, and would encourage everyone to volunteer now and again.
Since becoming a member of ISRC I like to think I have made several new friends and received endless advice and support in my running and training. Not only have I seen the benefits to my own running, but also that of other club members.
In 2018 I completed my first marathon, something I never thought I would do, and have plans to complete another in 2020.
I can usually be found in group B on a Thursday, so if you fancy a chat, or have any concerns, please feel free to give me a shout or message me.
Hi. For those who don’t know who I am, my name is Tash Avery, your Welfare Officer plus a run leader for group G. I have run since the age of 8 years old with Southampton City Athletic Club, and more recently joined Itchen Spitfires about 2 months after the club started, plus I have recently joined our Triathlon club, although I have no races booked so far.
I rarely miss a training session so come and say hi, and if you have any concerns feel free to come and chat or message me.
By Maria Bowers
Sunday the 19th of May saw me be a lone Spitfire having a crack at Plymouth Half Marathon, aka “Britain’s Ocean City Half.”
I was born and grew up in Plymouth but moved away long before taking up this running malarkey, so this was going to be a whole new experience getting around some very familiar surroundings.
The race started at 8:30, which I thankfully noticed the night before. I managed to blag a parking permit for outside my brother’s flat in the city centre so could park for free and take the 10 minute walk up to the race village. I was very glad of this when I saw the queues to get into the public car parks!
The bag drop was really smooth to use. Daunting-looking queues for the portaloos but got through quick enough. Easy to spot pacers. Very busy at the start so difficult to get into the start area but it didn’t matter as the start was on The Hoe, the weather was amazing and there was a fantastic view of Smeaton’s tower and over Plymouth Sound.
The race took us through the city centre, then out on some of the main roads into the city. There was a mile-ish long out and back section at mile 4, so opportunity to nosy at other runners. I spotted and had a hug with the big sister of my oldest ever friend, which was a big race highlight for me! We also went over what used to be a rail bridge but is now a footpath, then it was time to tackle Elburton Road... the mile of climb. There was loads of support from locals during this part which definitely helped, plus you knew you had a lovely downhill to come. Ran past my old house from when I was age 12, then off to run through Saltram, which included a jelly baby station. Back towards the city centre, then it was mile 12 - the gift that kept on giving. This little beauty included cobbles and then a relentless snaking climb to the finish, but once you got up on the Hoe to finish it was all worth it.
No gels on the course, could’ve done with a water station after Elburton Road, and a final mile that is not for the faint hearted. However it is a fantastic race with great support out on the course and I’m so pleased I finally got to do it.
By Stuart White
Photos from Stuart White and Peter Woolhouse
The morning of Sunday the 26th of May, a small spitfire squadron passed under the river Mersey by train to James Street Station. We made the short 10 minute walk via Royal Albert dock and we passed the crowds of eager runners waiting to start their journey on the half marathon. We walked by the main stage and by this time they were rocking out some tunes. We checked our bags in, did our business, and awaited nervously with anticipation the start of our marathon. The pens were all starting to fill up, the weather started to drizzle and there was a faint smell of deep heat wafting in the air. Bang, there goes the buzzer, we are off! With this, thousands of charity runners, racers at set off around the city.
The route starts by Royal Albert dock before snaking along the coast to the Liver building and the Beatles statue in front of it. The route then heads uphill all the way to the football stadiums, and the lovely Stanley Park, before eventually returning to Liverpool city centre about mile 10. The Cavern Club and Mathew Street feature heavily in this part. A few drunk spectators, swigging from their cans of gin, clearly "living their best life" hollering words of encouragement to anyone passing by.
The next part of the journey heads uphill to Liverpool cathedral and Chinatown, before turning right along a large, wide avenue then eventually entering a park at the far end. By this time we are half way. Although I never sang it, I heard people singing "living on a prayer" you know the words. After a few miles meandering through beautiful parks and scenery, Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes. We do a sharp hairpin then run on through a few more parks to the riverside. The remaining 5 miles into head wind, I have to say, was the toughest run I've ever done, thank God it was flat!! Struggling to hold it together, the closer we got to the city centre support grew. We were nearly there! Then finally the end is in sight. Crowds of people either side cheering us on, holding on to whatever bit of adrenaline, energy I had, I pushed on over the line.
This was my first marathon, needless to say I was nervous! One of the best things about this club is, there's so many lovely people who listen to you, and give advice when they can. Truly grateful.
By Diane Abraham
Saturday the 25th of May saw me at the start line of a half marathon in France in the lovely village of Pontorson.
I stood at the start listening to someone on a microphone shouting French at me, and hoping it wasn’t anything important as I speak zero French! :-)
The run takes in some beautiful scenery running past a windmill, up some great hills and down the other sides, and at one point wild horses were running alongside us which was so amazing!!
You can see Mont-Saint-Michel in the distance as you run which is quite something to see!
I ran behind a chap wearing a New Forest T-shirt and he was indeed from the New Forest; such a small world!
The finish funnel was very bizarre; crossing the line you don’t get given your medal, you get a t shirt then walk for some time to get a bottle of water, then just before you exit the funnel you finally get a medal! I was worried for a moment I’d run for no medal!!!
I really enjoyed this run and would definitely recommend it.
By Lauren Sherman-Nias
Photos from Sue Haig, Lindsay Bowers, Mark Waughman, Ruth Sadler, Kevin Mills and Kali Banda
May the 5th 2019 marked the fifth running of the ABP events in Southampton. Now a massive part of the local running calendar and growing in popularity each year, the events take in a range of distances - 10k, half marathon, the full 26.2 miles for the marathon and a family fun run.
Many of us had been training for their first stabs at respective distances over the past months, and once May the 5th rolled around there were several nervous but superbly prepared Spitfires in Guildhall Square ready to take their place on the start line.
I myself had been quietly training for an attempt at completing my first marathon at Southampton after having tried and failed miserably on over five separate occasions. I'm not sure deciding to start marathon training three months after having my first baby was the wisest idea but the early morning long runs on the back of sleepless nights certainly toughened me up for the race ahead! I approached my training in a more laid back and calm manner than previously and decided to carry this approach into the race as well.
The half marathon and marathon runners set off together at 9am. The half marathon takes in one large undulating (I'm told this could be putting it mildly) lap of the city. The route goes through the city centre, over the Itchen Bridge, Woolston down to Weston Shore, back over the bridge through St Mary's stadium, up to Bitterne Triangle and through Riverside Park before heading up through Portswood and Highfield to reach the common before heading back for home. The marathon repeats this lap again.
For me the 9am start was perfect as it meant us marathon runners could use the half marathon pacers for the first lap. I spent the first couple of miles struggling to reign myself in and getting swept along with the crowd. I had a pacing strategy but I was failing miserably to stick with it. I decided not to worry about it too much, just enjoy the atmosphere and crowds and suffer any potential consequences later!
Around 2 miles in running past Tudor House I had a brief chat with one of our long distance legends Andy Ward. He tried to convince me to stick with him and run a sub four hour time but I politely declined. I'm glad I did as Andy ran an absolutely storming personal best that day! As we were running together we got a massive roar from one of the upstairs windows of a house of "GO Spitfires!". Looking up it looks like a fellow spitfire and their family were happy to see us, I couldn't make out who it was properly so I apologise but it put me in a fab mood for the rest of the race so thank you.
Us spitfires are particularly well acquainted with the Itchen Bridge and I found this to be one of the highlights of the course even if it was one of the least enjoyable parts to run physically (especially on the third and fourth go over). It gives you a wonderful opportunity to spot your club mates and cheer them on. On my first go over the bridge I was chuffed to see Dave Chalk come steaming past me pacing two of our newer runners having a go at their first half marathons. Hayley Crutchley (who has done amazingly well since graduating from our c25k course) and Dominic Mackrill. Dominic actually decided once he reached the half way point to keep on going as he felt good and ended up running an impromptu marathon in an absolutely stellar time! Inspirational stuff. On my other trips over the bridge I enjoyed playing 'spot the spitfire' and was overjoyed to see the lovely Jan Bray and Sharon Stewart tailing the 10k as well as Sarah Green and Matt Simmons looking strong amongst others.
The course itself was not the easiest of routes. A two lap marathon divides many people especially when its as hilly as Southampton. On the second lap I made a conscious decision to walk the majority of the hills if I was finding them too challenging. I figured that completing the distance was the most important thing and that I wasn't going to kill / injure myself attempting to do so. This resulted in some amusing comments from onlookers / fellow runners "Don't worry love that wall will pass soon!" to a particularly enthusiastic group of supporters chanting "GO ONNNN!" as I was power walking at an almost running pace up the Itchen Bridge. They soon went ohhhhhhh when they realised I wasn't going to break into a trot.
I went on to walk much of the hills on the second half and was particularly grateful for the company of Mark Tiller who decided to run with me between miles 21-22 when the urge to walk was strong. He kept my legs ticking over just in time for me to see Nick Myers doing some epic marshalling at Riverside Park which kept me going for a bit longer. Unfortunately the stretch from Portswood up to the Common got the better of me but I decided to start running when I realised one of my heroes Franny Benali was right behind me. I'd passed him at four miles in on Jurds Lake Way and wished him well and whilst there would have been no shame at all in being passed by him on his epic endurance challenge it kept me going all the way to the finish.
From a runners perspective the last half a mile was the best half a mile of the whole race. Not because it was nearly over but because of the epic Spitfire support that stretched from just outside the Catholic church down to the finish. As soon as I saw Gemma and Mark Waughman my spirits were lifted and I started to pick up the pace, soon being greeted with a brilliantly in voice Meeje Brett and a high five from Tash Avery. In a haze I'd forgotten that there were several more Spitfires to be dotted down that final stretch and had started to cry when I saw the lovely Sue Haig cheering me on. I reigned myself in with the tears before spotting my dad who tried to run some of the last part down London Road with me before the finish. From a tired runner to our super spitfire volunteers that day - THANKYOU.
Support out on the course was also fantastic from other spitfires. Off the top of my head Becky Diggle, Clare and Rob Jesson, Diane Abraham and Gabs O Brian all did a brilliant job dotted near Lidl in Woolston. Laura Durham and Roo did a stellar job of making me beam standing at the feather especially Roo shouting "GO SPITFIRES!!!!" so excitedly! And Sarah Shave on the Itchen Bridge. To anyone I've forgotten I apologise.
All in all it was an epic first marathon. I had an amazing time and genuinely enjoyed every minute, smiling at everyone and taking it all in. I'm sure I wouldn't have enjoyed it half as much without the amazing support of such a warm and friendly club behind me and I'm in no doubt that its because I was running with the Spitfires that this is why I completed the race this time. All the support in training as well as along the course kept me going and I'd recommend it to anyone thinking of attempting their first go at any distance.
Well done to everyone who got a new PB this month!
|Jackie De Lisle||2:10:43|
|Romsey Team Relay Marathon||3:51:26|
We would like to congratulate Mark Tiller on winning Spitfire of the month!
Mark has had some amazing achievements from marathons to parkruns. As well as Mark's own successes he has helped many others in achieving their goals.
When did you take up running & why?
Many years ago when I was living in Poole, I got fed up playing Sunday League football and the marathon craze started, so I thought I will give it a go and joined the local running club Poole Runners. I completed my first half marathon in Bournemouth in 1 hour 40, then progressed to marathons
How did you 1st hear about Itchen Spitfires & what made you want to join?
I took a break from running due to the birth of my boys. Then started again through meeting Russ Meddings as his children went to the same school. I got him into running, we went to Sweatshop and then from there Itchen Spitfires started.
What’s the best thing you’ve gained from running? What’s you most memorable running moment?
So many personal achievements, experiences and memories, the list is endless, my regret is that I haven't kept a diary.
Joining the running club and community, I have gained many true friends and met some great people!
Running has made feel healthy even though I generally eat an unhealthy diet, it also helps with my mental health. So I can thoroughly recommend it!
My most memorable moment is difficult to choose but tops must be breaking 3 hours for a marathon, which I did at Berlin. It took me 4 years to get it. After that I also broke 60 mins for 10 miles and 1hour 20 for half, which I am told is harder to crack!
I also beat Seb Coe in the marathon
What’s your favourite bit of running kit?
What do you do when you're not running?
Being a general ‘dog’s body’, ‘gofer‘ and ‘Uber‘. Also dogging with fellow Itchen Spitfires!!!
How have you coped with injuries?
In all my years, I have been blessed as I have not had many injuries. I do not cope with them very well. I do take note and try to rest, which I find difficult because as I am never the one to relax and chill!!
What is the strangest thing you have come across whilst running?
Every time I run around Southampton I witness strange things, smells and sights!!
Loads recently, while running in the Liverpool Marathon and also experiencing the sights on the Saturday before, with the company that I kept !
In my last London Marathon, I was upset as I was passed by someone running as a Buxton water bottle but did get it back at 23 miles! Never yet been beaten by the pantomime horse.
Do you have any running ambitions or goals? What is your most memorable running moment?
I do not have any real personal goals left for achieving any times or personal bests.
Maybe one day would like to run Tokyo Marathon, as I have done the other 5 World Majors– London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Boston and Chicago.
These days I get pleasure out of helping fellow runners achieving their personal bests.
I just want to continue running until I am physically unable too!
Do you have any advice for new runners?
Do not put pressure on yourself, start out and learn about your pace. Try running without a watch or just wear a stop watch/not GPS, good way to judge your pace.
Build up gradually.
Never doubt yourself and your ability.
Enjoy running and meeting loads of great people
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.