July was another busy month for the members of Romsey Road Runners. James Byrne kicked things off in style at the Goodwood Duathlon taking 20th place in a time of 1:19. James said of the run-cycle-run event: ‘having been to Goodwood many times for the motoring festivals it was a unique experience to be competing in an event on the racetrack. Being a (mainly) flat course we could get up to some good speeds on the cycling section (despite the headwind!). It was a thoroughly enjoyable day. We were even treated to a spitfire flypast at the start of the run which was a bonus!’
The same weekend, Matthew Hammerton took part in the 3000m elevation UTS (ultra-trail Snowdonia) 50k, which is part of the UTMB (ultra-trail Mont Blanc) World Series. Matt came an impressive 3rd in a time of 5:51, qualifying for the OCC UTMB 50k race in Switzerland in the process. Meanwhile, Alice Lane and Nigel Hemstead travelled down to Dorset to take on the Charmouth Challenge, a hilly 8-mile run along the coast near Golden Cap. Alice finished in 1:26 and Nigel in 1:18. Alice then headed up to the Lake District for Derwent Athletic Club’s midweek Lambfoot Leap, a 10k fell race, which she completed in 55:25.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and it was time for the Snowdonia Trail marathon which coincided with a heatwave. Romsey’s Susie Parker proved she was more than up to the challenge of both mountain and weather, completing the 27-mile, 1865m elevation route in a superb time of 6:49. Susie described the run as ‘beautiful but brutal.’ She went on to say that ‘the heat pushed me to my very limits and I really struggled at times, but I got through it, met some incredible people and feel proud to have conquered it!’
The weekend after Snowdon, Ian Ralph and Matt Hammerton took on another tough challenge in yet another heatwave, this time the Wendover Woods night 50k. The route consisted of three ten-mile laps with an accumulated elevation of 1800m, so it was not for the faint-hearted. Matt took first place with a new course record of 4:27, while Ian, who was returning from a knee injury, completed the route in a solid time of 6:20 to take a well-earnt 34th place.
Matt summed up the event as ‘tough but fantastically well organised,’ while Ian commented that ‘on the face of it, a night race on the hottest weekend of the year should have been ideal, but the temperature never got below 15 degrees all night, and it was tough and sticky going for all the runners. It was a case of surviving up the steep climbs then trying to stay on your feet as you got running again while navigating the trails in darkness with only your head torch to show you the way.’
Lottie Budd was also racing on the hottest weekend of the year so far, completing the Dorney Lake half marathon in 2:17 to take 25th place, coming second in her age category. Roll forward a couple of weeks and Lottie was in action again, this time at the Piggy Plod, a hot, hilly 10.5k race set on a cider farm in Dorset. Lottie finished the race in 1:08, taking first place in her age category.