The last championship race

19 November 2017

All through the summer the Spitfires have been working their way through the club championship races. They’ve battled for parkrun PB’s and tried to better their times at races over distances from a mile to a marathon. There have been triumphs and disasters, along with a lot of early Sunday morning starts. In some cases injury or health issues have meant some Spitfires, like Commando, have lost all hope of winning in their age category. Most have battled on anyway, happy in the knowledge they’ll get a finishers medal at the end, while others have had to drop out altogether. Today was the last early start and the last chance to pick up points. Continue reading The last championship race

A parkrun milestone

4 November 2017

Some Saturday mornings parkrun doesn’t seem like such a great idea and I wonder why I’m getting out of bed early to watch a lot of runners going round and round The Common. This Saturday, with rain beating down and wind making it all seem worse, was a case in point. There was no way I was staying at home in the warm and dry though because this was a very special parkrun. John Grant, the founder and Chairman of the Itchen Spitfires Running Club and the Event Director of Southampton Parkrun, was about to run his two hundred and fiftieth parkrun. Obviously, the Spitfires had a few surprises up their sleeve for him.  Continue reading A parkrun milestone

Run rabbit run

22 October 2017

This morning we got up for a run we weren’t sure was going to happen. Hot on the heels of hurricane Ophelia came Storm Brian. It arrived on Friday night, all wind and rain battering the bedroom window. On Saturday morning I did the unthinkable and stayed in bed nursing a cold I’ve picked up from CJ while Commando went to parkrun in the howling gale. Even parkrun was in doubt but, after Commando and Rob, who was RD for the morning, walked round to check for fallen trees, it did go ahead. Meanwhile, a few miles along the coast in Southsea, the Saturday Great South Run events were being cancelled and there were some doubts whether the ten mile race today would go ahead. Continue reading Run rabbit run

Now for something completely different

14 October 2017

September and October seem to be all about busy weekends in our house and this weekend was no exception. At times it feels as if running events are taking over my life. Today though, we were up stupidly early for something completely different, although the Spitfires and a certain amount of running would be involved. It was a race, but a very different kind of race and it started at the Millennium Garden in Woolston so at least we didn’t have far to go.

Continue reading Now for something completely different

Pieces of Eight

8 October 2017

With the Winchester walks, the Half Marathon and the CC6’s, it seems like years since I last had a nice quiet Sunday. When I went to parkrun yesterday morning I thought I’d be getting a lie in today. While we were having our post run coffee though, everyone was talking about races. Almost everyone was running either the Portsmouth Pieces of Eight or the Bournemouth Half Marathon. Everyone except Commando and Rob that is. All of a sudden they had a bad case of race envy. Before I knew what was going on they’d decided to try to get last minute places for Pieces of Eight and I was waving goodbye to the idea of a lie in.   Continue reading Pieces of Eight

Coffee, cake and mud at Whiteley

1 October 2017

October started with the first CC6 of the season, at least the first one the Spitfires could run. Last year there were a hard core of around eight Spitfires who turned up to run this series of winter cross country races, along with one mad photographer. It isn’t easy dragging yourself out of a warm bed on a Sunday morning to go out into the cold and run around a piece of muddy woodland. The more the merrier, or so they say, so this year the master plan was to get more people interested. There had certainly been enough of them turning up for the marshalling race  last month.  Continue reading Coffee, cake and mud at Whiteley

Winchester half

24 September 2017

Feeling rather unwelcome in the churchyard, I took a few random photos and left. Back out on the road with the race parading by me I stood in front of a rather ornate wooden bus stop and watched the runners stream past the Hursley chimneys. The road had been partly closed for the race and an unfortunate marshal had the job of holding up a stop go board to let cars trickle through when there was a safe gap between runners. It wasn’t a job I envied. Some of the drivers were less than patient despite the road closures being widely publicised weeks in advance of the race. Continue reading Winchester half

Winchester VIP’s and time on my hands

24 September 2017

At the beginning of the month I stood in the rain in Abbey Gardens looking at Winchester Guildhall and wishing I was in the VIP pacer’s changing room with free coffee and biscuits. Today I was looking wistfully out of the window of said changing room at the sun coming up over Abbey Gardens, half wishing I was out there walking. It had the makings of a nice day and wandering around exploring seemed far more fun than tail walking the Winchester Half Marathon.  Continue reading Winchester VIP’s and time on my hands

Behind the scenes at Southampton parkrun

23 September 2017

In our house it wouldn’t be Saturday if it didn’t start with a trip to Southampton Common for parkrun. Southampton is the busiest parkrun on the South Coast  with between seven hundred to a thousand or more runners each week. As September parkruns were part of the Spitfire Championship and October sees the thirteenth anniversary of the very first parkrun, I thought I’d take a look behind the scenes to see what goes on to make this fabulous free event happen every Saturday morning.  Continue reading Behind the scenes at Southampton parkrun

Behind the scenes at the first CC6

17 September 2017

The barista in the Costa Coffee on Passfield Avenue looked a little bemused when a hoard of runners descended on his cafe just before eight o’clock on a Sunday morning. Mid September, people in brightly coloured running gear heading for a muddy field filled with flags could only mean one thing, the first CC6 of the season. We were some of the first Spitfires to arrive but soon the fields behind Fleming Park were brimming with Spitfire hoodies. Even so, there would be no Itchen Spitfires running today because they were the event organisers. Continue reading Behind the scenes at the first CC6