Sunday 2nd October was a busy day for Romsey Road Runners. Four members headed up to London to take part in the marathon, while twenty-five opted to stay closer to home and take part in the Clarendon, a point-to-point race offering several distance options along the ancient Pilgrim Way linking the cities of Salisbury and Winchester.
In London, Alice Lane netted herself a Good For Age qualification for next year’s race by finishing in a superb time of 4:03; Liz Prinsep finished in an impressive 3:48; Ben Sharman in a solid 4:14 and Megan Batchelor, who was running in her first marathon, finished in 3:59.
Megan described the experience as: “a real mix of emotions and a mental test. The crowd lifts you the whole way, I’ve never experienced anything like it. Seeing my family just after mile 18 gave me a huge boost and then seeing them again just before the end was exactly what I needed to keep pushing. I even went for a ‘sprint’ finish at the end. I can honestly say the feeling of crossing that finish line almost gives me the drive to want to do it all again!”
London also offered runners the chance to compete virtually, which is what Romsey’s Hayley Weston did, clocking up a fantastic time of 3:34 to secure herself a Good For Age qualification for 2023. Dave Gardner also took the virtual option, finishing in 6:28.
Back in Hampshire, the Clarendon dawned overcast and wet, stirring memories of 2020 and Storm Alex which turned many of the tracks to muddy rivers. With rain forecast throughout the day everyone was prepared for a similarly soggy outing, but it proved not to be the case as by mid-morning the weather Gods were feeling munificent and the sun shone.
Dorota Koschmidder-Hatch was running her first marathon at the Clarendon and did herself proud in a brilliant time of 5:15. Matt Hammerton, recovering from Covid, took fifth place in 3:11 and Ian Ralph finished in a solid 3:51.
Dorota said of her first marathon: “the support from club members was amazing and the scenery truly made it worthwhile. I really enjoyed the first 24miles, but the last 2 were tough. Will I run another one? Maybe after I forget how much my legs hurt!”
In the half marathon, Romsey’s Neil Jennings blasted his way to victory, taking first place with a superb time of 1:27, while Matt Brown came 5th in 1:43 and Sam Weston 12th in 1:49. Duncan MacDonald 1:52; Nigel Hemsted 1:55; Keith Morris 2:14 and Bob Gold 2:35. Sue Sleath was 2nd lady in 1:50; Penny Jennings 2:13; Sue Sylvester 2:19 and Lottie Budd 2:32.
Sam commented: “I went into the Clarendon Half expecting beautiful views and brutal hills and it did not disappoint! The conditions were absolutely perfect and it was a great motivator to see so many members of the club along the way. Everyone I met was friendly and considerate along the sometimes narrow trails. I’d do this again over an overcrowded city race any day!”
RRR also fielded two Relay teams. The imaginatively named “Get in Gear, feel the Burn and Battle the hills in Style” of Steve Geary, James Byrne, James Battle and Mark Stileman took 4th place in 3:19 while team “Us and Him Again” (Derek Kelly, Anna Duigan, Liz Slade and Julia Abab) finished in 4:47. RRR’s Lin and Ray Webb also ran the Relay with friends Frankie Colling and Sharon Ardley to finish in 4:19.
Derek said “conditions on the first leg were slippery in the rain, but by the time I reached the changeover point and gave the baton to Anna, the rain had stopped and the sun came out. It was still shining when Liz started leg three and it continued shining for Julia on the final leg from Farley Mount to the finish at Winchester. It was a day full of fun and camaraderie with cheering, encouragement and support between the runners. We loved it”.