Newsletter November 2016


‘Tis the season to be running

img_1917Apologies to all Bah Humbugs like myself for mentioning the C word before December has even started, but Christmas is coming. Hopefully all good Spitfires will have a lovely pile of running related pressies under the tree on Christmas morning (unless they’ve been naughty of course) and there will certainly be lots of food and drink consumed. With just weeks before the overeating begins, there’s never been a better time to get out and get running to get a head start on tackling the New Year spare tyre.

CC6 Dibden Purlieu 


This month’s CC6 was at Dibden Purlieu on a course running through Dibden Inclosure. With the Gosport Half Marathon on the horizon, quite a few of the usual faces were absent due to training commitments but a small group of hardy Spitfires braved the cold, windy morning. No one seemed all that keen to strip down to their running gear and I couldn’t say I blamed them.

The race was in an area popular with dog walkers and the pre race beriefing warned to be aware of this. Even so, a loose dog running onto the course and dashing between the runners was slightly unexpected. Luckily, everyone managed to avoid tripping over it and its master eventually called it away. Not long after this a group of horses decided to join the fun and ran across the course. They made a wonderful spectacle galloping through the trees but I think a few runners may have been slightly startled to see them. Despite the cold and the animals, everyone finished in one piece. For once no one even seemed to be muddy, although they were certainly slightly warmer than when they set out.


Graduation time!


On 12 November the first of the newly graduated Beginners Group braved the coldest wettest Saturday morning this year to run their first ever parkrun. Any nerves they may have felt were calmed by willing Spitfires, some of whom ran around the course with them. They all did brilliantly.


The next weekend the second group of graduates had a far better deal with in the weather department. It was a cold, crisp autumn morning with the sun shining, perfect for running. It was great to see some of the graduates from the week before back again and raring to go and, of course, all the Spitfires running round with them and putting them at ease. For the second week in a row the newbies did wonderfully. Everyone who helped with their training  should be very proud of the great job they did!


Timing is everything


The GPS watch is probably the most popular bit of running tech. The latest model may well be on your Christmas wish list and you probably feel naked running without one but these little gadgets have been around for a surprisingly short time. In fact, until the 1600’s, when Samuel Watson invented the first stopwatch, timing anything must have been largely a matter of guesswork. Even wearing a watch on your wrist is a recent idea. The first wrist watches were made in the 1800’s but no self respecting man would have been caught wearing one. They were strictly for women while men carried pocket watches. The first men to wear timepieces on their wrists were soldiers in World War I. They set a trend and, from then on, their popularity grew.

Of course, back then, watches were only used for telling the time. Then, in 1957, the first satellite, Sputnik, was launched. American scientists desperately tried to track the Soviet device until William Guide and George Weiffenbach discovered a method using the Doppler Effect. Later, Frank McClure realised he could use the same principle in reverse to track a person on the ground. By the mid 1960’s the US Navy were using signals from five satellites to track their ships. The first non military use of GPS came when Befefon launched a mobile phone with GPS built in. Other phone companies quickly followed suit and, by 2001, the first in car Sat Navs came on the market quickly followed by the first GPS watches.

These days there are so many different versions of GPS watches available it’s hard to make a choice and price is probably the biggest deciding factor. The price tag on some of the latest models can be truly eye popping but when you realise it cost $12 billion to put the satellites into orbit and the daily operating cost is around $2 million they suddenly seem like quite a bargain.

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. If anyone knows of any I’ve missed please let me know so I can add them next time.

Interview with a Spitfire 

img_2416If your’e fond of a good peanut butter milkshake, November’s Spitfire of the Month is probably well known to you. Chris Walker is the manager of Ed’s Diner, home of the best peanut butter milkshake in Southampton, at least in my humble opinion. When he’s not making and serving brilliant food and drinks, he’s being a Spitfire Run Leader. Now it’s time to find out a little more about him.

How long have you been running and what made you start?

I have been running for three years. I started to get fit for the Nuts challenge. I had to push Amelia over all the obstacles.

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

We all moved from another running club because it was boring.

Obviously you’re interested in food, do you have any favourite pre or post race snacks?

Pre race is a fruit loaf with honey and blueberries, afterwards protein.

What was your most memorable running moment?

Finishing the Dorset Invader marathon (28 miles).

Do you have any running ambitions or goals?

My ambition is to stay fit and healthy and join a snooker club.

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you on a run?

You are all strange!

Where is your favourite place to run and why?

The Itchen Navigation because you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.

Junior Parkrun call to arms


For the last three years there has been a 2k junior parkrun at Riverside Park for 4-14 year olds who may one day grow up to become Spitfires. Last week I went along to take a look and was impressed to see several familiar faces working away to make sure things ran as smoothly as the main event on the Common. Sarah Shave was Run Director, ably assisted by Paul, and Kylie was there to observe and learn the ropes. It was fabulous to see all the little ones out in the fresh air enjoying a scaled down version of parkrun.

Sadly, over recent months, people available to act as Run Directors have been in short supply.  To ensure the event can continue, more volunteers are desperately needed. If you think you’d be able to help out, contact Keith Harris or Sarah Shave, Co-Event Directors, or pop down to Riverside Park on a Sunday morning just before 9 o’clock and check it out. You know you want to!

November PB’s


It’s time  to celabrate all the amazing PB’s achieved this month despite the cold, wind, rain and storm Angus. Whether you knocked a second or two or off your parkrun time or smashed your previous best into oblivion you did brilliantly. Thanks too for keeping Dave Keates out of mischief collating all the facts and figures.

Kevin conroy 26.29
Mitchell Gerrard 18.5
Cameron Sommerville-Hewitt 21.07
Lucy Ashton 25.11
Andrea Somerville-Hewitt 26.42
Jackie de Lisle 32.01
Sarah Christie 38.33
Chris Horn 30.51
Kerry Murray 35.52
Trudie green 35.59
Amy Key 36.38
Glen Medcalf 24.37
Nicholas Myers 25.17
Sara MIn 31.31
Alana Nairn 31.49
Marcus Hewitt 26.36
Lucy Pearce 29.03
Jamie Foster 19.14
Lucy Anderson 23.04


Sue Haig 1:05:37

Half Marathon

Emily Akerman 2:21:39
Laura Durham 2:27:50
Jamie Foster 1:30:43
Trudie Young 2:27:50
Teresa Robson 2:08:47
Darren Palmer 1:45:27
Clare Jesson 2:01:07
Becky Diggle 2:00:56
Francesca Horn 1:57:12
Janine Catherine Clarke 1:55:11
Tori Collinson 2:08:46
Amelia Walker 2:13:15
Claire Healey 2:54:36
Lucy Ashton 2:06:21
Sam Brownsea 1:38:51
Emma Landick 2:15:06

Core strength and theatre tickets


As many of you know, Gill has recently been running extra training sessions to help with core strength, stability, posture and to improve running technique. I’ve been along to watch a few and even picked up a few tips. The last session was held at the Sports Centre on 9 November and everyone who attended clubbed together to present Gill with some theatre vouchers to thank him for all his hard work. If he decides to hold any more in the future they are well worth going along to, even if only to see all the Moulin Rouge style high kicks and Pythonesque silly walks. You never know, you could end up with a clutch of new PB’s too!

How much do you know about parkrun?


This month I’m testing your knowledge of parkrun. How many questions can you answer?

  1. How many parkrun locations are there in the UK?
  2. What year was parkrun started and how many people took part in the first run?
  3. How many countries have parkrun?
  4. Where was the first international parkrun held and in what year?

Did you work out all the locations from last month? Here are the answers.


  1. Woolston, behind Spitfire Court
  2. Cobbet Road Library
  3. The Avenue, by the Common
  4. Bitterne Park Triangle Clock Tower

Gosport Half Marathon

On the morning of the Gosport Half Marathon storm Angus was sweeping across the south coast and there were some doubts whether the race would go ahead. In the end though, the rain held off and the course was deemed safe, even though it was bitterly cold, with a biting wind blowing off the sea. Getting a team photo proved difficult as no one was keen to stand around in the freezing cold in their shorts for too long. In the end I came home with several mini team photos.


As this was the last event of the Spitfire Championship there was a huge turnout, especially in such awful weather. Despite the cold and the wind there were some smiling faces to be seen on the course as the runners ran the double loop along the blustery shore.


Even in such dreadful conditions there were some fantastic finishes and a surprisingly large number of PB’s to add to this month’s list.  Well done to everyone who braved the cold either to run or to cheer on those who did.


The Itchen Spitfire End of Year Award Ceremony


Sadly, some of us were otherwise occupied so couldn’t make it to the End of Year Award Ceremony. From all the wonderful photos on Facebook taken by Jane Grant and Lindsay Bowers, it looks as if a wonderful time was had by all. Organisers Amanda and Amelia did a fantastic job of planning and preparing everything, music was supplied by Lee and Kali and a temporary licence, provided by Chris Walker, made it possible for alcohol to be served. The latter may not have felt like such a good idea the next morning when the hangovers began to kick in.


The whole thing was a real team effort with everyone bringing food, accoutrements for the photo booth and generally helping out. Of course the whole point of the evenung, other than for everyone to get together and have fun, was recognising some of the great achievements that have been made this year. The Championship results were as follows;

Male 20-29 Daniel Baker
Male 30-39 Andy Herman
Male 40-49 Rob Kelly
Male 50-59 Gerry Robson
Female 20-29 Beth Farrow
Female 30-39 Sam Brownsea
Female 40-49 Frankie Horn
Female 50-59 Becky Ballard
Most improved Lindy Seymour

Well done to everyone concerned and thanks to Sharon Stewart for taking notes and Gill for filling in the odd gap.


The coveted second chance London Marathon places were also drawn. Maria Bowers won the female place and Luis Adrián Rosas Wiedfeldt the male. Now all they have to do is train for and run a marathon! With this in mind, I’m sure there were a few sighs of relief from those who didn’t win. Along with all the eating and drinking, there was a raffle and a name the run leader competition. Teresa’s Gang named the run leader and raffle prizes went to the following;

Mark Waughman
Diane Abraham
Scott Edgington
Jerry Robson
Benjamin Stewart
Richard Diggle
Donna Paddick
Becky Ballard
Mike Day
Tasha Ault

All in all it sounds as if we missed out in a great evening.



imageLight up for Christmas and BE SEEN!

Recently, when I’ve been out on the road at night, I’ve had a few heart stopping moments when runners and cyclists in dark clothing with no high vis or lights have appeared out of nowhere. It’s horrifying how invisible they were until the last moment even in well lit areas and luck rather than judgement that I didn’t hit them. Please don’t become an accident statistic get the High vis on (the more the better because it’s no good if it can only be seen form one direction) get the head torches and flashing lights out and make sure you can be easily seen. The more like a Christmas Tree you look the better!

The Spitfire Hat is now available! 

spitfirehatBeing warm is almost as important as being seen right now, especially after a run. You can lose a lot of body heat very quickly when your head is uncovered, especially if you’re a bit sweaty from running. Thankfully a snazzy new Spitfire hat is available right now. Wind a string of fairy lights around the top and you’re all set to go!

Order here now before they’re all gone! They’d make great Christmas presents!


Christmas & New Year parkruns

Don’t forget there is a parkrun on the Common on Christmas Day. Ideal for testing out all your fancy Charistmas present gadgets. On New Year’s Day, if you’re not too hung over, there are two parkruns, one at Netley and one on the Common. Times are staggered (9am at Netley and 10.30 on the Common) so, if you’re feeling really brave, or need to work off some of that festive food, you could run both.

And finally… 

The feather in the Woolston Millennium Garden, otherwise known as the Spitfire meeting point, is sporting a shiny new Spitfire Plaque. This is thanks to a donation from club funds plus some Meeje Jam and Beth Scones. Maybe next summer I’ll get to sample some of the exclusive jam and  yummy scones myself.


#GoSpitfires #TogetherAsOne