QECP SDW : Road to Recovery


The best part of being injured is the buzz you get when you know you’re on the way back. I have a new pair of trainers after a visit to Absolute Running (thanks Nick & Lawrence) I have entered an event, On The Whistle’s (OTW) Woodland Way Challenge and this week I’ve had two great runs.

Wednesday was a steady 5 miler with Kiernan from OTW and about 15 other runners from various clubs. The run was billed as a “tester” for the loop that will form the 6 hour multi lap event. It certainly wasn’t flat but as Sir Isaac Newton says “what goes up must come down” if I had to describe the route I’d say it was like the uneven road sign.

whistle  hills

I met 3 twitter runners on Wednesday and that’s always great to put faces to names so hello and good to meet you Jane, Richard and Paul. Ros & Kiernan, who I know, both said Paul Jeffrey was also a blogger so here’s Paul’s Blog for the night . I liked the challenging 3.8 mile loop so I’ve signed up because the choice of running as many laps as you like really fits in well with my return to fitness and takes away any pressure of entering a half or full marathon. The other piece of advice I took on board from Absolute Running was “stretch – stretch – stretch” and that’s what I’ve been doing.

Sunday soon came around and it was time to add a few more miles. Paul Coates, Ros & I were joined by Dean & Lynsey so between the five of us that was Fareham Crusaders, Gosport RR, Stubbington Green and Portsmouth Joggers all represented. The 9am start was again from QECP but this time we were venturing out along the South Downs Way.

A lovely sunny day greeted us and the it just reminded me how much I’d missed running through the countryside. The SDW route has a number of short hills as it winds its way towards Harting Down but with a combination of chatting, a cooling breeze and the trees shading the sun we hardly noticed the miles pass. The path is usually quite narrow but the scenery constantly changes what with fields of wheat, cows grazing and corn on the cob. There are no cars, no junctions and no roads to cross but you do have to concentrate on the tree roots, loose stones and not missing the weathered signs that do tend to blend into the hedge rows. The words peaceful and beautiful just don’t do justice to it. Paul and Dean ran together and looped back while the three of us ran at a steady pace.

The SDW is new to Lynsey and it’s always great to hear peoples reaction of “why haven’t I done this before”. From that point on you know they’ll be hooked 🙂


I knew I ought to turn around before the rest so at 5.5 miles I made the decision to let them carry on. All in all I ran about 7.5 miles and then combined walking and running for 3.5 which as far as my return from injury is concerned was the right thing to do. The guys carried onto Harting Down (pictured at the beginning of the blog, thanks Ros Clarke).



I’m not religious but today felt like I’d returned to my spiritual home, I think we all left feeling physically and emotionally recharged. Thanks to Ros, Lynsey, Dean and Paul for their company and Paul especially for the photos. The South Downs …. #lovethem.

24 Hour Cancer Research Relay


The Cancer Research Relay for Life 24 hour event ran from 12 noon Saturday 16th July to 12 noon Sunday and it was based at the Portsmouth Mountbatten Centre. The Portsmouth Relay is the longest running event in the UK with 20 years of history. We are all familiar with Race for Life, I joined my fellow Fareham Crusaders for Relay for Life (R4L). The majority of people walk, however, we run because that’s what we do !!

The Candle for Hope ceremony photo’d above is definitely the highlight of the day with a combination of the personal messages written on the candle bags, a choir that sang three songs and moving words from the committee, all at 10pm just after the sun has set.

As I parked up at 11am I’d brought two tents, spare clothes, food, drink and sun cream. I was full of anticipation for the weekend as it’s been a couple of years since I took part. The 24 hours are split into 48 half hours and our team of John, Eddie, Deborah, Amada, Lorraine, me and Captain Donna would share out these slots to predominantly run them all. A number of the team ran marathon distances. I’m on the way back from injury but managed 6 half hours with more walking than running but all the same I was pleased with my contribution. On top of the 7 of us there were additional miles run by guest appearances from other club members and an hours contribution from my daughter and her friend, both of who are called Laura and so were named Laura squared !!

The layout of the event is pictured below with it all revolving around the 400m track and the facilities. All of the organisation is done by fabulous volunteers and many of them like Max, Sandy & Tony have been there year after year so it was great to see them as my first relay was in 2008. I must mention Phil Jones too, I was in his team in 2008 and they have been involved in ever relay since it started !!




Now you might think to yourself what on earth would you do while you are waiting for your next half an hour to come around, even allowing for the fact that there’s music played !!

Well, once we’d followed the Cancer survivors lap with an introduce the teams lap there was Zumba, a David Bowie tribute section, an egg & spoon lap, a 4*100m lap, tug of war, a onesies lap, the silent disco, a PJ’s lap, breakfast in the canteen, tea and coffee available all day and night, a bra & pants lap etc etc, you get the idea 🙂 !!

Out team gazebo was next to the track and we’d pitched the tents behind so his meant we had an obvious HQ with chairs and shade for chatting and relaxing.

All of the above was then complemented by friends popping by to have a chat and in many cases run. My friend Andrew also came down for two hours on Saturday evening including a run. The atmosphere grows through Saturday afternoon, it gets dark, it gets light and even though there’s bleary eyes everyone is smiling on Sunday morning. I think it’s fair to say everyone came away with a huge sense of satisfaction.

The fantastic news was that combining everyone’s fundraising efforts through the year as well as everyone’s individual just giving pages we raised £74,800 as our contribution to try and beat Cancer. Forty years ago 1 in 4 people were cured of Cancer, this has doubled to 2 in 4 and the push is on to make it 3 in 4 one day. A fantastic community based event with so much good feeling and hope for the future was rounded off with a lap of everyone walking together to the music of Heather Small & “What have you done today to make you feel proud”. Thanks to our great FCRC team, fellow “Relayers” and Jayne’s Relay Committee/ volunteers.

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#AR’s Breakfast Club run


Absolute Running (AR) is the name of a running shop in Gosport. This statement is factually correct but it’s like saying Mark Cavendish can ride a bike. The numerous events that AR host have had a recent addition this Spring/Summer and it’s called the Breakfast Club. Meeting at 8 a.m. on a Sunday and open to all abilities/clubs this #community based run sums up AR’s philosophy in many ways. Relaxed, friendly and all inclusive.

The starting point for our run was the Bayside Cabin, Stokes Bay, with its car park right on waters edge. As I stepped out of the car I was treated to views of the Isle of Wight and the sun starting to break through the clouds. I chatted to Tony Bennett who would be cycling due to an injury and we were soon joined by Terry Arnott, Gill and other AR / Gosport runners as well as Simon Hearnden from Stubbington Green and Simon Hanson a fellow Crusader. With Sunday being race day the turn out will vary each week & it was 12 today.

I spotted Nick, AR’s motivational owner and he assured me that the Breakfast club was a social, steady run as well as an appetiser to the Cabins offerings. Seeing as I’m on the way back from an injury this was exactly what I was looking for. The breakfast side of the run follows a nautical theme and ranges in size from a Dinghy, to the Gosport Ferry and all the way up to “The Titanic”, (forget the iceberg, this may well sink you) !!

The aim of the day was to run for half an hour out and back in our different pace groups. We set off from Stokes Bay and ran along Lee On Solent’s sea front. Today might not have been off road but it was certainly scenic. Nick, Terry, Gill and myself ran together and soon


settled into a steady pace. The conversation flowed and we learnt Nick had been out at a charity evening the previous night were he’d met Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards. As we ran along the coast I was reminded just how lucky we are to live in this part of the world. A pleasant sea breeze cooled us down on the outward leg and we passed Graham (my daughters boyfriends father) running in the opposite direction.

After turning around and retracing our steps we caught up three of the ladies and then left the Lee seafront behind, heading for Browndown. When the two Simons caught us I commented that we didn’t hear them as they were both so light on their feet and in no time they eased away from us with effortless grace. Nick also explained the reason he’d started these Sunday runs was for people on their LSR marathon training later in the year. The car park is free up to 10am so it would just be a case of starting earlier. Back at the car park it was job done and time for a cuppa. We were joined by Kim and Emma on the Bayside Cabins patio area for post run refreshment and all agreed the hours run had been a great success. My hamstring felt fine & …… “I’ll be back” 🙂 Thanks one and all.

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And finally, Lee on Solent tonight at 9.30pm ….. have a great week !!