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  • Writer's pictureIan Marshall

Isle of Wight Fell Running Champs

Another excellent weekend of racing on the Isle of Wight with glorious weather on Saturday. Christian Poulton continued his impressive fell running year by winning the SEAA Championship V50 category. Peter Hadley was 2nd in the V70 category and Ian 2nd in the V60 but all the clubs runners had good races.

The SEAA Fell Champs consists of 3 x races:- Sat AM 2.5 miles (800ft ascent) Sat PM 7.5 miles (1450ft ascent) Sun AM 12 miles (1600ft ascent)

There were a record number of entries this year. You must complete all 3 races to be included in the championship. Although these races aren't as tough as fell races in the North the fact that you are running three races makes it hard especially on Sunday. For these races you don't have to carry the normal compulsory FRA required kit.

This year making the trip to the pleasant seaside town of Ventnor were runners Clem Dixon, Graham Maynard, Peter Hadley, Mark Newell, Ian Marshall and making his IOW debut Christian Poulton who had a very successful weekend (athlete of the month contender!) Peter and Ian also had some success. Also along were supporters Anne Hadley, Alison Marshall and Paul Monk.

RACE #1 – ST BONIFACE DOWN (2.5miles/800ft)

Only 2.5 miles but this is an 800ft lung/leg buster climb from the seafront straight to the top of St Boniface Down, a loop around the radio tower and back down to finish at St Catherine's School. The first part of the course is on steep roads through the town before turning off and then come to a halt! Due to the record number of runner the pinch point at a gate leading onto the fell meant a 100yd queue for some of us. A short but very steep climb up the grassy fell and on towards the radio tower. Before I reached the loop around the tower the leaders were already flying back down. With lungs and legs in various states of distress I start the very fast descent, great view up the coast. Down the grassy fell which plays havoc with the quads before out on the road again and the sprint to the finish at the school. Suddenly it's all over. The winner ran 16:59 which is a new record.

Christian 19:41 (1st V50) Clem 22:28 Graham 23:19 Ian 26:32 Peter 28:21 Mark 30:27

RACE #2 – THE VENTNOR HORSHOE (7.5miles/1450ft)

You have about 3.5 hours before the 2nd race at 3pm. Back to the B&B to rest & refuel. The start and first part of the race is the same as the morning one, when turning off the road though you climb a different fell but similar to the morning there is a gate pinch point which once again meant a long queue to get through, very frustrating once through the climb is just as steep. Once on the top it's basically a cross country run through some lovely country. Due to a mean farmer the route had to be changed but didn't appear to make much difference to the length. The hard part starts after about 5 miles, you turn off the railway track path and wind up a narrow path that gets steeper eventually reaching a steep set of steps, legs are struggling now but luckily there is a handrail you can use to haul yourself up. Reach the top and onto a good wide stony path leading to the radio tower which you can see in the distance. Once the tower is reached it's the same descent to the finish as in the morning.

Phew! two races down, time to rest up for a couple of hours before a meal and then meet up with everyone for further post-race analysis. A fairly early night was required.

RACE #3 – THE WROXHALL ROUND (12miles/1600ft)

Off at 10:30 nursing sore quads, it takes a while for the legs to start working properly again despite a warm up. This time the route is along the coastal path which certainly undulating, very pleasant though running by the sea. After 3 miles or so turn off, cross the road and start the long climb up past the rugby club, this hill is runnable if you are feeling good! After reaching the top once again it is like a long cross country run through more lovely countryside. Rain on Saturday night left one or two slightly muddy stretches. After about 8 miles take on some water at the one drink station and onto the railway track path again, a much longer stretch this time than Saturday pm race, then as yesterday up the dreaded hand railed steps out onto the top, the radio tower and down to the finish at St Catherine’s.

Christian 93:21 Graham 106:23 Clem 107:27 Ian 131:40 Peter 138:39 Mark 142:05


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