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ULTRA AND TRAIL WEEKEND FOR SPARTANS

Race to the King * MK24 * Hampshire Hoppit

Teamwork makes the dreamwork!! Karen Ellis, Jackie Downes, Neal Muggleton, John Nelms and Hazel Smith ran the Race to the King (RTTK), part of the South Downs Way, in 13 hours 53 minutes and 51 seconds. The route was undulating with 5278 feet of elevation across the 55 miles route. The route started at Goodwood Race Course, Chichester and finished at the beautiful Winchester Cathedral with stunning views along the way.

Altogether Seven Spartans completed the Ultra Marathon in the very humid conditions. This route has around eight quite steep hills and some rough, stony paths. One hill seemed to go on forever and at times only walking was possible. It was Karen Ellis’s longest race, so she was happy to finish strongly. The rest of her team of five consisted of Hazel Smith, Jackie Downes, John Nelms and Neal Muggleton. They finished together at around 9pm, just as a torrential downpour started and darkness began to fall.

The other two Spartans, Sharon Crowley and Cathy Craig finished in 16 hours 30 minutes at around 11.30. For them, running in the dark, with the muddy, slippy conditions underfoot was quite a challenge. Sharon had been injured in 2019, so it was an amazing achievement to train from not being able to run at all to be able to complete such a tough Ultra. Everyone was pleased with what they did and extremely thankful for the support of fellow Spartans Mike Crowley, Jenny Garrett and Julie Shadbolt.

MK24

As if 55 miles wasn’t enough DAVID BOWKER won the Milton Keynes 24 hour race. Here the target is to see how many 6.55 mile laps can you complete in 24 hours. He ran 15 laps in 23 hours and 45 minutes. He won by one lap.

Hampshire Hoppit

The Hampshire Hoppit marathon and half marathon are both multi-terrain trail races, i.e. predominantly off-road and are approximately 26.2 miles and 13.1 miles long. They use routes that are clearly marked and marshalled, and include local sections of famous long distance footpaths, the Wayfarers Walk and (for the marathon) the Harrow Way. Both are scenic single-lap courses that start and end at Kingsclere on the Hampshire/Berkshire border, reaching some of the highest points in Hampshire with views across the county. There is about 650 metres of elevation gain in the marathon. There are occasional quiet road sections or road crossings that have marshals.

Unlike road races, it is accepted that the actual distance for trail races is difficult to measure.

Spartans CHARLOTTE SMITH and ROBERT WRIGHT together with Charlotte’s sister Harriet tackled the full marathon. Robert finished in 4:59:54 and Charlotte in 5:31:30.

The race start had a new location this year. It was on a part of the Kingsclere Stables estate that is around two miles south of the village.

Victoria Park 10K

The Victoria Park 10K started warm and dry but very humid early morning in a quiet London park. It was more like a time trial, with one runner starting every 10 seconds. The Spartans’ YUKO GORDON was seventh woman overall in 45 minutes 18 seconds.

Flying On Number 57

The Spartans are still flying. On Saturday morning total numbers were a down a bit to 185 due to the return of “real” racing but three Spartans were “there” to enjoy the 57th Fly 5K.

JIM BROWN was second in his category with 26 minutes 24 seconds at 65th overall; NICOLA ANDERSSON 90th in 28:39 and PAUL HOLGATE 139th in 31:57.

(Not) Parkrun

In addition to those using the same effort to record Fly 5K times on Saturday some other Spartans ran (not) parkruns on other days. For example this week ALISON SHELLEY ran a 28 minutes 48 seconds 5K on Wednesday.

(Not) Parkruns can be run on any day of the week.

Racing Round England

The Spartans have a winner in their Bristol to Bristol virtual run, cycle and walk challenge around the coasts and borders of England. PENNY SCHENKEL crossed the finish line during the Spartans Wave 10K run on Tuesday 25th May with all 2,970 kilometres done.

She was 434 kilometres ahead of JIM BROWN (2536) and 789 ahead of BRIAN WHITE (2181).

By Sunday 20th June JIM BROWN, in second place, had less than a parkrun to go, 2.73 kilometres and was 99.91% done. BRIAN WHITE has maintained his third place and is by the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool with 2396 kilometres done. SHARON CROWLEY, fourth, has done some catching up and is near Haverthwaite in the Lake District on 2324.

Meanwhile KEN JUDE is the fifth Spartan through 2,000 kilometres. He’s on 2047 at West Chevington heading west to Carlisle.

This virtual event was another great distraction and motivation during the months of restrictions on racing and training together. It started in Bristol and followed the coasts and borders of England in an anti-clockwise direction. The other nine Spartans are still clicking up the kilometres and have until December to finish the event. Many other clubs are participating in the Virtual Coast Challenge.

Grant on Track

In the Southern League Meet at Lee Valley, London GRANT RAMSAY ran the 1500 metres in 4:44:18 and the 2000 metres steeplechase in 7:25:65. These were his best performances since 2018.

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