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Jacq Hudson reports back from the Meon Valley Express Half Marathon

In a bid to complete my half a month challenge I booked the Meon Valley Express half, Wickham. I had been looking forward to the race from the moment I entered as I have two little boys and have had to endure hours of Thomas The Tank Engine torture, train spotting, and going on many a train ride. I have now been brainwashed to think fondly of the idea of running along a disused railway track described as being flat and fast, what could be better?

Jacq & Boys Meon Valley

On my way home from a night out at 1am, I thought it would be best to check the timings and location of the race. It was then I got a slight shock that the race is actually in Fareham, when I thought and had been telling everyone it was a race in Farnham (facepalm), so with that I set my alarm for 5:30am to get up and get to Fareham (with my boys & husband in tow). We arrived in plenty of time at the Wickham centre, the centre had lots of free parking spaces left and a playground right outside, result! I collected my race bib and then played with the kids in the playground until it was time. The race is only a small event with 100 places for the half, although there was a 5k & 10k route too, it actually felt very relaxed and calm being part of it. I was able to use the loos about 4 times (standard), and never had to queue, which is another big positive.

The race started at 10am and the half went first followed by 10k and 5k all 5mins apart. The route was simple you had to follow the road down the hill and into the old station carpark until you hit the trail. I have to say the other runners were super friendly, I made friends with some ladies from the Solent Sisters and a few men, we ran together for the first three miles and as they said I was doing a nice pace they all stuck just behind me. The people I met gave me nice facts of the trail and bridges, pointing out historical places along the way. The trail is now a path and you see a lot of Victorian bridges as you run along it. Just after the 5k mark there was water and the group I was running with stopped, as I was still feeling ok I carried on solo. I was then pretty much on my own until getting close to the half way turnaround point.

Meon straight route

The track was mostly dry, except for a muddy half mile at the start and the trees arch over the route pretty much the whole way, a man that I had been running with had said you can get a bit tunnel vision so I did have to keep looking away and up, otherwise it did space you out, especially when your on your own and it did feel a bit never ending, as its just straight, I’m not sure if it’s an optical illusion, but it felt like I was always running up a slight incline, even on the way back. On approach to the halfway turnaround point I got to see all the other runners that were on their way back, everyone was so friendly giving a little well done to each other.

At the half way water station you simply turn around and run back exactly in the same direction you came in. I enjoyed this as for me it’s all in my mind and to know with every step I was closer to being finished and back at the start, It was like retracing my steps, and seeing the key landmarks again. I mentally had something to look forward to. One of the men who I was running with initially caught me up when I slowed for water and we had a nice chat for the last three miles talking and encouraging each other on.

Jacq & medal Meon Valley

The final leg of the race is to run back through the carpark and up the hill to the centre, my boys all greeted me at the top and we all ran over the finish line together. I congratulated the man Charles I was with, collected my medal and made my way to the food. It was quite a random selection of treats, a little bit like biscuits that people had been given the year before for Christmas, however there was lots of fruit, nuts etc to have a graze on. After we had a nice walk into town which is about a five minute walk away in search of lunch. I have to say it was a nice pretty, maybe boring at times half, but its definitely the straightest route I have ever been on, my only slight disappointment was there were no actual trains.

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SJ Weekend Run Down – September 15th/16th

Another very busy week of running and racing. Wednesday saw the September Handicap and if you missed the results these can be found here

Starting at Parkrun Frimley Lodge we had Stuart Mayes celebrating his 100th parkrun and he was joined by fourteen other members. Alison Bone recorded a PB with 29:51 while Natasha O’Toole, Janet Ford and Alurie Dutton all celebrated Season’s Bests. Dick Newman was first SJ into the finish funnel.

PR FL SJ result Sept 15th

Another good showing at Bracknell with eighteen members running and many rewarded with PBs for their efforts. Lyn Winter, Beanie Watson, Andrew Alexander and  Kieran Cooper all recorded outright PBs. Dave Breslin, Martin Steadman and Ian Watson scored Bracknell Season’s Bests. While Sharon Fields, Jane Pond and Krzysztof Zielinski achieved course PBs. Krzysztof was also the first member to finish en route to a 6th position.

PR Brack SJ result Sept 15th

Even more PBs at Parkrun Rushmoor. Louisa Enriquez celebrated her 50th Parkrun in style with a fastest ever run as she joined the Dave Bartlett PB machine. Alistair Ingall-Tombs made his first visit to the venue and came away with a PB for his troubles as he was first SJ to finish. Andrea Vincent also joined the PB club. Lucy Ong and Graeme Lafferty ran at Rushmoor for the first time.

PR Rushmoor SJ result Sept 15th

Onto the Parkrun Tourism and starting with the regulars; Yvette Glacken ran at Luton Wardown, Andy Summerskill at Houghton Hall, Will Lucas was just 8 seconds off a PB at Seaton and Philip Boylan and Kim Reeves both achieved course PBs at Llanelli Coast.

Stuart Overhill celebrated his birthday weekend with a debut run at Tilgate while Lisa Hale recorded a course PB at this venue. Martin Gould sampled Woking and Wayne Boardman tasted Reading for the first time and was pleased with a strong run just 7 seconds slower than his recent PB at Poole.


A trio of Sandhurst Joggers took on the Richmond Half Marathon which was part of the Richmond Runfest. Claire Rowse’s official time was 2:01:00, Kirsty Darcy 2:11:00 and Helen Clayton 2:15:20.


We had two members in action at the Berlin Marathon and both successfully completed another Abbott World Marathon Major on Sunday. Patrick Wadsworth had a successful run finishing in 3:42:58, as well as being a great time this also meant he didn’t miss his flight home. Claire Hobson made a miraculous recovery from her #runformum two weeks ago to complete Berlin in 4:13:10, her second fastest marathon ever. She had looked on course to run sub four hours but a knee niggle slowed her in the final miles.


The Andover 10k saw a mix of youth and experience as Alison Jones and daughter Sarah ran. Alison had a great run finishing in 54:49 to claim 2nd in her age category. Sarah had a great run in her first ever 10k crossing the line in 1:20:45, she has made great progress this year graduating from Pure Beginners in April and diving straight into the 5-10k course.


Jacqueline Hudson continued her quest to complete a Half Marathon each month in 2018 as she ran the Meon Valley Express Half Marathon. Despite some confusion about location (something about it being near FarEham not FarNham) Jacqueline had a great run finishing in roughly 2:29:00.

Meon Half Jacq.jpg

Tina Acock took part in the local but often forgotten Swallowfield 10+3 event which combines a 10k run, a 3k run and duathlon all held on quiet scenic couress. Tina finished in 1:13:20.

Swallowfield 10+3 medal

Decathlon in Farnborough organised the second running of their 5km event starting at Farnborough Airport. We had three members in action with Trish Monks, Angela Foker and Mark Foker all enjoying good runs plus a new Tshirt and goodie bag.

Jim Laidlaw made the trip up to the Clapham 10k in search of a fast event and he wasn’t disappointed. He lowered his long standing 10k PB back in August at the final Yateley Road Race and he continued the trend lowering it even further to 40:04.

Jim Clapham run


In other news Kate Parker didn’t fall over at Parkrun this week and Stephen Casey failed to join Roger Bannister in the sun 4 minute mile club.

Another big week of social runs, training and racing this week with 95 members logging runs on Strava. Mike Guess took the top spot this week. To take part in this just create a free Strava account and link it to the club in your profile. Here’s the top 10 from last week:-

Strava Leaderboard Sept 16th


Please let me know if I’ve missed anything and share your results and achievements in the future so the rest of the club know what you are up to. It’s also great to find out about new events or get an honest opinion on the multitude of events out there so we love to receive run reports. Any member, any event, any distance, any surface! Just email publicity@sandhurstjoggers.org.uk

As always keep a look out on Facebook for details of the weekday evening runs.

Monday: Patrick will be back from the Berlin Marathon to lead the Monday night chatfest from Sandhurst Sports Centre at 7:30pm. The route will cover approx. 6 miles and is back on the road as #winteriscoming. This is one of the most sociable runs of the week and a great opportunity to catch up with friends or discuss the preceding weekend. And don’t forget the Monday Mantra ‘Mondays defo make me faster’.

Tuesday Club Run: The biggest club run of the week will as always offer multiple groups to cater for all abilities from beginners through to faster and more experienced runners. It’s perfect for novices and those coming back from injury or a long lay-off because you can start with an easy group and work your way upwards. The start time is 6:30pm as always, this week from Sandhurst Memorial Park.

Tuesday Intervals: Later the interval sessions will meet at The Morgan Rec in Crowthorne at 8pm. The session will be a hill session on School Hill. You can read more about the Tuesday night intervals here

Wednesday:  Sharon and Andrea are the General Members for Wednesday and they have a great route planned for this week. Join them at Sandhurst Memorial Park at 7pm.

The 10k to 10M course starts at the earlier time of 6:30pm also from Sandhurst Memorial Park.

Thursday: This week the threshold/improvers run will be on the Coat Hanger route. Meet at Sandhurst Sports Centre at 7:30pm and don’t forget lights and high vis clothing. The run is a great way to improve fitness by running as a group at a slightly harder intensity. There is a shorter route available and a sweeper so nobody gets left behind.

Friday: Track is still free and the coaches have some great sessions planned for all abilities to improve fitness and technique. This is a great way to improve your running form and fitness, get faster and help prevent injury. If you’ve never ran on a track before give it a try, it’s a lot of fun and you are never more than 200m away from the start.

Saturday: Lots of members will be enjoying their weekly Parkrun fix at 9am on Saturday morning. Wherever you are parkrunning – Don’t forget your barcode!

Sunday: Check Facebook to find out who is running at The Lookout at 9am. It’s a flexible run to suit everybody’s needs and is either adapted to fit with distance targets or multiple groups are formed. The three ‘Cs’ of Coffee, cake and chat are enjoyed in the cafe post-run.


Finally for this week. A call to action as there are only a couple of weeks remaining until the WEEKEND OF RUNNING. Here’s the UPDATED INFORMATION from Wayne.

When: 29th & 30th September
Where: Edgbarrow Sports Complex, Crowthorne
How Much: Sat AM £8 / Sat PM £8 / Sunday AM FREE


Saturday AM: Streamline Coaching – How to become a Faster Runner
Saturday AM: Stressfree – Pilates for Runners

Saturday PM: Bingo Intervals with the newlyweds
Saturday PM: Ironman, as experienced by the triplets
Saturday PM: Bootcamp for Runners with me


What is it?
On Saturday morning they’ll be a group run, followed by breakfast, followed by 2 workshops delivered by guest speakers.

On Saturday afternoon they’ll be a fun interval session, lunch, and a range of activities and speakers.

To attend each of the above sessions costs £8 (£16 for the full day), and includes all activities, food, tea and coffee.

On Sunday they’ll be a group run, followed by lunch (at own cost).

If you’ve never attended the weekend of running please do consider giving it a try. It’s a great opportunity to meet and socialise with others from the club, learn and be inspired, and enjoy some fun and challenging activities.

Although we have yet to confirm all of our guest speakers, I guarantee they will inspire you, challenge you, and motivate you, whilst also ensuring you have heaps of fun. I will confirm the exact details as soon as I can.

What Next?
Please let me know which session(s) you can attend, either by commenting below or emailing me at vicechairman@sandhurstjoggers.org.uk

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New Forest Marathon & 10k – SJ Members’ Highlights

Andy Yates – “New Forest Marathon 2018: based in New Forest Showground in Brockenhurst, a great event offering several distances up to the Marathon. Very well organised and extremely friendly staff team and billed as a multi terrain event, I’d say 80% gravel trail 20% road; a really lovely course taking in the heathland, woods and all the animals you associate with this part of the world (ponies, deer, cows!). A only a 1000 runners took on the marathon but the locals get behind all the runners dotted through the various villages and it was a great atmosphere and coupled with some very chatty fellow runners the time passed quickly!! I have though learned a lesson about carrying a small niggle into one of these events and got round in 4hrs 30 but ended up in casualty on Monday morning and now have a forced 5-6 week “rest”. A really good, sold out event in a really special place and I’d definitely recommend it. Just need to do it next year when fully fit……”

Andy Yates New Forest Marathon


Deb Harris – ” I enjoyed this run. The weather helped along with the friendliness of everyone be it a fellow runner or marshal. Lovely medal, tshirt in your race park, which you need to pickup before the race. If you haven’t tried it yet I highly recommend you give it a go.” – click here to read Deb’s full report

Deb New Forest finish

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Blanche Barnes reports back from the Bacchus Half Marathon – 13.1 miles with a twist

My 3rd half marathon, but my first (though possibly not my last) in a vineyard – dressed as a fairy.

Blanche Bacchus.jpg

The whole thing was pleasantly surreal – running through a beautiful rural setting, singing Grease tunes with Tbirds and Pink Ladies, surrounded by cavemen, bumblebees, robbers, Wonderwomen & Batmen, and obviously some human grapes. And periodically pausing to “take in the views” at the wine tasting stations. All welcome distraction from the many hills, (which my fairy comrade & Bacchus expert Hannah assured me were much worse than last year). Though it was cleverly organised so that the toughest bits were mainly in the first half, happily decreasing in the later stages in perfect correlation to the increase in wine stations. A fab downhill finish followed by lunch included in the entry fee (and a great discount on the wines 😊).

For once I wasn’t chasing a PB (and seemingly I wasn’t alone, judging by the full on party crowd at the final drinks station, quite a few of whom got maximum value for money by finishing in 5-6 hours!) For the full marathon, its 2 laps, and some parts of the course were narrow tracks on hillside, making overtaking difficult (especially with wings), so definitely something to consider if you were planning to do this as a serious event. 😂🍷🍷


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Great North Run – SJ Members’ Highlights

Angela Harper – “Loved it! Brilliant atmosphere” – click here to read Angie’s full report

Angela GNR metro

Mark Neve – “The crowds were fantastic all the way round the course offering support to all the runners. It was really good to see The Red Arrows as they did several fly overs for us. My sister struggled with some of the hills but did me proud with a super strong finish even though she was tired and I loved seeing the determination on her face when things got tough.” – click here to read Mark’s full report Geordie style

GNR Mark

or here to read Mark’s English translation

Harvey Young – “It was my first GNR and the whole experience was amazing, the support from the crowds was incredible , I was lucky enough to meet up with Kate turnell a fellow Sandhurst Jogger and we ran the race together, my wife helen who inspires me to run was waiting at the finish for me making it a perfect day. This is a run I’d recommend but there are things to consider, it’s packed and you’ll be running with other runners around you for the whole race, it took me and Kate half an hour from the start of the race to cross the start line and the locals were handing out some strange things from sausage rolls to lager. The atmosphere is amazing and so is the support. The route wasn’t hilly although the heat made it worse than it should have. As I ran for the MS trust there was food and drinks waiting for me at the end and a massage by two students studying massage from the local college which was unbelievably helpful in my recovery.”

Harvey GNR medal

Kate Turnell – “A fantastic event, very busy, very hot, no PB’s but would I do it again – yes but only if i can have longer up there, it’s a very long way!!!”

Harvey and kate gnr

Georgie Hogben-Stephenson – “My first half marathon was at this year’s GNR, what an adventure. 57,000 is a lot of people, the atmosphere and camaraderie kept you moving. The miles seemed to disappear underfoot quicker than in training. So much to keep you distracted from the miles. I was a little disappointed with the sheer number of people walking which meant I was desperately weaving in and out. My silver lining, I completed my first half marathon, l now have a PB, a slow PB but it can only go one way from here, my next half marathon… Surrey Half already booked.”

Georgie GNR


GNR results 2018



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Mark Neve’s report from the GNR… in English

I was looking forward to the Great North Run as I was running with my sister and we were raising money for the local hospital where I grew up and all but my nuclear family still live. My sister only really runs short distances so this was a big step up for her and she struggled with training in the heat but got 13.1 in a few weeks ago and was confident going in to the race.

GNR bridge

As we were released from our pen we had a mix of rain and sunshine with the heat growing through the run. Our wave set off in high spirits with lots of shouts of Oggy Oggy Oggy (Oi Oi Oi) when we ran through underpasses and going over the Tyne bridge was great. The crowds were fantastic all the way round the course offering support to all the runners. It was really good to see The Red Arrows as they did several fly overs for us. My sister struggled with some of the hills but did me proud with a super strong finish even though she was tired and I loved seeing the determination on her face when things got tough.

GNR Mark

I only had a couple of things I didn’t enjoy. The course was rammed full and you spent most of the run weaving in and out of a huge number of people walking. Everything was just too crowded from the start to picking up medals and getting home. It was a very long day too, it started at my sisters house in North Yorkshire at 5:30am and ended up back home in Sandhurst at 11:00pm. If you’re thinking of running, I’d suggest staying locally if possible, South Shields isn’t laid out for 70,000 people to try and leave at the same time. It was fun to do, but I don’t know if I’d give it a go again.

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Mark Neve tells of the GNR Geordie Style

Ah wez looking forward te the Geet North Run as Ah wez running wi me sister an wi were raising money fre the lercal hospital weor Ah grew up an aal but me nuclear family still live. Me sister ernly really runs short distances so this wez a git big step up fre hor an sheh struggled wi training in the heat but got 13.1 in a few weeks ago an wez confident gannin in te the race.

GNR bridge.JPG

As wi were released frem wor pen wi had a mix of rain an sunshine wi the heat growing through the run. Wor wave set off in high spirits wi lots of shouts of Oggy Oggy Oggy (Oi Oi Oi) when wi ran through underpasses an gannin ower the Tyne bridge wez geet . The crowds were fantastic aal the way roond the course offering support te aal the runners. It wez really canny good te see The Red Arrows as they did several fly overs fre weh . Me sister struggled wi some o the hills but did me proud wi a super strong finish even though sheh wez knackered an Ah loved seeing the determination on hor face when things got tough.

GNR Mark

Ah ernly had a couple of things Ah divvnae enjoy. The course wez rammed stowed an yee spent myest o the run weaving in an oot of a huge number of fowk fowk walking. Everything wez just tee crowded frem the stort te picking up medals an getting hyem . It wez a git long dyah tee , it started at me sisters hoose in North Yorkshire at 5:30am an ended up back hyem in Sandhurst at 11:00pm. If you’re thinking of running, i’d suggest staying locally if possible, Sooth Shields isn’t laid oot fre 70,000 fowk fowk te try an leave at the same time. It wez fun te dee , but Ah divvent knaa if I’d gis it a gan agyen.