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Guernsey half marathon – Jackie Kent reports…

As well as being Fathers Day, June 18th was also the date of Guernsey’s only half marathon of the year, the Dairy Milk run half marathon. Not to be confused with the Cadbury’s chocolate bar, there is a comma in the middle making it the Guernsey Dairy, milk run half marathon, as in sponsored by the dairy! Or something like that. Anyway, there was no chocolate involved but there was milk…

ice cream

I have friends who live in Guernsey and I try to visit them once or twice a year. I’ve been saying for a few years that I should combine it with the half marathon, so this year, since they were staying at home and not visiting family for Father’s Day I got myself organised, booked a flight and entered the race! It’s one of the cheapest I’ve done at just £17. The first 500 entrants also got a free technical t-shirt included but as I waited until my weekend was confirmed and flights booked before entering, I just missed out with number 510.

Guernsey t shirt

After a busy sunny day with my friends on the Saturday, the race promised to be a hot one on the Sunday. The start was at 9am so I got dropped off around 8:30am. This was a low key, relaxed and friendly race. No chip timing and a very relaxed bag drop (“I forgot to write my number on my bag” “It won’t matter, just help yourself to it at the end”).

coastal shot

The start line was about 100m up the road from the meeting point so once the road was closed we all walked there together. There were about 650 runners which I believe was one of the highest entries. Despite the lack of chip timing there was no jostling for a place in the pack at the start. The gun went and we all set off. The race started on the west coast, ran around the north coast and finished on the east side in St Peter Port. We followed the coast line all the way but were on the road not the coastal paths, so on occasions we were a little bit inland.

route map

Being on holiday and with it being over 20 degrees C at the start of the race, I opted for the tourist approach, forgot about times and I planned to stop to take photos. However, I have run stretches of the route before on previous visits so didn’t stop for photos there as I already have lots. Further round, due to the position of the sun there was a long stretch where it wasn’t worth taking pictures with my phone, so I didn’t stop as much as I thought I might. I did however stop to get someone to take a picture of me at around mile seven, and again to message my friend as I realised I had forgotten to pack my sandals in my bag for afterwards!

Jackie Guernsey pose

At 1.3 miles the route took us right past my friends house and it was lovely to get a wave and a shout out from them. The organisers had claimed the route was flat, however, knowing the area, I had wondered if it actually was flat or if it was Guernsey’s version of ‘flat in comparison to everything else’. It turned out I was right to question the route description as there were a few hilly bits to contend with.


The sun continued to blaze down and I’m sure the temperature was a few degrees above my phone’s prediction of 23 degrees C. I saw one runner almost at the point of collapse. He was being assisted by two runners who had sacrificed their own race times to help him and they seemed to have things under control, so I gave them the half full water bottle I was carrying and ran on, alerting the next marshal that I saw to their predicament. By mile ten I’d had enough really. The temperature was uncomfortably hot and there was no shade to get out of the sun. I was sweating a lot more than usual and my sunscreen was running into my eyes and making them sting! However, I pushed on along the long straight stretch to the finish. My friends had come out to see the end of the race so I stopped briefly to ‘high five’ their two year old twins, who clearly had no idea what a high five was all about.


400m after that I crossed the finish line in 1:57:10. We were given medals, water and a pint of Guernsey milk from the dairy. I’m not normally a fan of full cream milk and I rarely drink milk on it’s own, but I have to say that at that moment I had never tasted anything nicer. It was perfect. I went and retrieved my bag from the baggage van (climbing in took some effort but it was cool inside the van, I was tempted to just stay there for a bit!) and met up with my friends. After a stretch and a not-so-quick change of clothes, we went into town in search of ice cream. All in all, it was a lovely event which I would love to do again in the future.




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June 17th/18th – SJ Weekend Run Down

Summers evenings… and more importantly very sunny evenings have encouraged members out for the multitude of weekday events plus a fair few weekend events even though I thought it was going to be a quiet one…

Gavin Loader continued his superb run of form with 4th position overall at the second Woodland 5 on the usual hilly circuit around Crowthorne Woods (yes including the infamous ‘Wall’). He finished in a great time of 34:20. Sixteen members contested the event on a hot night in the forest.  Full results here

All three local Parkruns were open again this weekend. Frimley Lodge was the most popular with sixteen members in action from a total field of 531! Clive Rolfe was first to finish for the club in 20:18. Dave Ayling recovered well from last weekend’s South Downs Ultra attempt to record his best time at the shorter distance since 2016. Dave O’Toole had another great run in his 150th Parkrun!

At Rushmoor a trio of SJs enjoyed guaranteed PBs in their first visit to the venue; Samantha Pittick, Hannah Glaister and Karen Page finished in that order and enjoyed some post race sprint training to boot! Samantha absolutely smashed it as this result is her fastest Parkrun ever!

Seven SJs in action at Bracknell with Charlie St Aubyn first member to finish in 27:09 while Blanche Barnes recorded yet another PB in 33:13.

Some quality Parkrun tourism this week with Patrick Wadsworth running 22:36 at Wilmslow and Lisa Hale combining the Osterley Parkrun with the 10K at the same venue.

Don’t forget to add Sandhurst Joggers as your club in your Parkrun profile to help us keep track of your achievements.

Lisa Hale ran the Osterley Park 10k in West London finishing in 46:27 finishing 4th in her age category.

Osterley Park 10k

Stuart Overhill was in action in the South Downs Trail Half in 2:12:40.

Amazingly Leon Hicks had a weekend off marathons but has booked his 100th so keep your diaries clear on Saturday 7th April 2018. Starting in Walton-on-Thames the course is an out and back 3.28 mile look alongside the Thames of which you can complete as many laps as you choose. Obviously Leon will be aiming for at least eight laps.

Angela Foker and Claire Chase took on The Brutal race on a very tough 5k course around the Ash Ranges which included running, jumping, climbing and swimming. So tough in fact you could call it BRUTAL! Angela finished strongly in 6th position in her category with Claire close behind in 8th.

Angela Brutal

Nigel Evans also ran the 10k Brutal but wasn’t satisfied with that punishment so went out again on Sunday and ran the Hampshire Hoppit Half Marathon in 2:44:07 which he described as the hardest race he’s ever done due to a combination of hills and heat.

Nigel Hampshire Hobbitt

Jackie Kent made the trip over to Channel Islands and completed the Guernsey Half Marathon on a beautiful course along the northern coast. She took the tourist approach and took plenty of photos but still finished well under two hours and was rewarded for her efforts with a carton of milk as the event was sponsored by the local dairy.

Jackie Guernsey Half

Patrick Wadsworth met the legend that is Ron Hill having completed the Dr Ron Hyde 7 in 55:30 on a hot, hilly and rural seven mile course in the North West.

Dr Ron Hyde 7

Neil Praine completed The Wall Ultra, an epic 87km challenge along Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle to Newcastle in 18:43:52. More to follow on this epic…

Neil Praine Wall Ultra Ball Breaker

This week we had a new King of Strava with Neil Praine topping 100km and the leaderboard with a total of 103.9km thanks to an amazing performance in his Ultra. Marathon Queen Lisa Hale was back on the podium in second with 70.7km and Andrew Brooks was third with 66.6km as he ramps up for the New Forest Marathon in august. Sixty-three members logged runs this week. To take part in this just create a free Strava account and link it to the club in your profile.

As always, 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.

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

Monday: Patrick will be leading the usual Monday night chatfest leaving Sandhurst Sports Centre at 7:30pm.

Tuesday: This week is the Tuesday Pub Run starting at 7pm from The Swan in Ash Vale. You’ve already missed the food pre-ordering deadline so won’t be able to add anything to the group boking but will be able to order food seperateley and buy drinks at the bar. Monica and Mike have some lovely routes lined up for all abilities. Later the interval sessions will meet at The TYTHINGS in Yateley at 8pm where the Jenny has a tough but beneficial session ready for you.

Wednesday: Sharon Burfield and/or Andrea Vincent will be leading a great run of between five to six miles from Sandhurst Memorial Park departing at 7pm

Thursday: This week the threshold/improvers run will be on the off road, Nikki will have more details later in the week and soon we’ll have a route schedule planned out.

Friday: Track is still free and the THREE coaches have some great sessions planned for all abilities to improve fitness and technique.

Sunday: Anybody not racing can join the crowd running from 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.

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Meet the member – Nigel Evans

Remember that romantic tale of heroism from the London Marathon as Nigel Evans battled through 25 miles with a bad back to reach his partner Liz, lift her over the barriers and propose as Orinocco the Wobble ran past… well he’s back and the engagement seems to be going well as he celebrated two Parkrun milestones last weekend; his 100th Parkrun and fiance Liz’s 1st. Let’s find out more about him…

Q) For members who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself

A) I am 52 years old , I have 3 children ranging from 12 to 22 as I like to spread my pain. I am a Senior Manager for a Japanese Electronics Company based in Weybridge- I have worked for them for 35 years having joined straight from school in 1982 when Beat Surrender by The Jam was No 1. I am currently in year 12 of my mid-life crisis.

Q) How and when did you get into running?

A) Football was my main sport when I was growing up playing for the school as well as a private club, I also played badminton and Squash regularly in a league. I then moved onto Martial Arts and did Karate and Kendo for a number of years , of course running was a big part of me keeping fit for these sports. My first running event was the Camberley ½ Marathon in 1999 so I suppose that was when running became more of a focus for me. More recently  I have enjoyed doing Triathlons and I completed my 100th Park run on June 3rd which I ran with Liz who did her 1st (I think she finally realised that resistance was futile and if you can’t beat them join them ).


Q) What do you enjoy most about being a member of Sandhurst Joggers?

A) I can only echo what everyone else says about the club and that is we have the most brilliant ,supportive runners in Sandhurst Joggers and its great knowing that whatever event you enter the chances are you will see an SJ there. The choice of weekly runs is also great no matter what level you are at.

Q) On which of the weekly runs are we most likely to bump into you?

A) Unfortunately it’s been difficult for me to attend many club runs recently but I am hoping that will soon change but when I did run regularly I loved the Monday and Wednesday runs with track on a Friday.

Q) I see you have mainly kept it local with Parkruns, out of the 3 local venues you’ve ran at which is your favourite and why ?

A) My first ever Park Run was at Frimley lodge but I have also ran at Bracknell and Rushmoor.

My PB of 21.35 is actually at Bracknell.

I think my favourite is Rushmoor because there is plenty of parking and the course is flat with lots of room for the first 3/4km which is good if its busy.

Nigel 100 parkruns

Q) You have travelled further afield with Parkrun tourism at Tamar Lakes-what was that event like?

A) This was on the first day of our family holiday and I think Liz uttered the word “seriously ?” when I said I wanted to do it. The course runs round the lake which was lovely even though it was pouring down with rain. Most of the people running seemed to be tourists. I do remember there being a nice café there and we had a bacon roll and a coffee after.

Q) What other events are on your programme for 2017?

A) Yateley 10k races 2&3, The British 10k, Hampshire Hoppit ½ Marathon, Pilgrim ½ Marathon, Windsor ½ Marathon, Basingstoke ½ Marathon, Wellesley 10k, 3x Brutal 10k’s, The Hellrunner, The Grim, Mo Run and the Muddy Welly and maybe a Sportive if I can fit it in – hope to see some of you there!

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Endure24 – Andrea Hadfield reports back from the top step of the podium as the SJ Ladies Team ran like girls… and nobody could keep up!

The e-mail arrived about Endure 24, having taken part last year, I must have been one of the first to sign up…a few months later and I discover I have switched teams to join the first ever Sandhurst Ladies team! I started to get nervous as I knew the other ladies in the team were super speedy, but they were quick to reassure me that they needed some ‘ endurance’ on the team as well as speed! Endurance I can do…

Nikki, our fearless captain, was super organised, getting us to work out some predicted lap times and preferences for day/night running, so she could create THE PLAN. Then conversations turned to more important things – what shall we eat for 24hrs and what on earth were we going to wear?

The weekend arrived and we were able to answer one of those 2 questions as we rocked our fabulous new team vests, to the envy of all who saw them. Lisa had even coordinated her knee taping to match them, which was dedication to the cause of run-fashion.

SJ Ladies back of vests

We had THE PLAN, we had THE VESTS….what could possible go wrong? As it turned out, not very much. Runner after runner returned to the camp having smashed their predicted lap times, those of us later in the ‘running order’ smugly began our 24hr eating festival, and the time ticked by. Sharon and Gemma developed an excellent theory, that as long as the person before you in the schedule was still relaxing and within sight, you had no reason to be concerned that you were supposed to be running somewhere! At this point we also discovered that Helen had brought enough run clothing to kit out everyone for several weeks.

Andrea pre start

After everyone in the team had run a lap, rumours of the leaderboard started to circulate and we discovered we were winning the Ladies ‘Large Team’ competition, now the pressure was really on (although it actually wasn’t as we were winning by a fairly significant margin). Day turned to night, and the well-oiled machine continued to run, with smooth handovers and swift loops around the forest. Unfortunately, on one of the night laps, Heidi picked up an injury, although still managed an amazingly fast time despite hobbling the last km or so.

Despite a bit of a cold, and some hayfever, I had been enjoying the running and socialising, but at around 2am came my darkest hour of the event, I was lying in my tent listening to the rain and dreading the call which arrived even earlier than expected. At this point we were over an hour ahead of schedule. On went the trail shoes, and I slipped and slid around the muddy trail which was getting more churned up by the minute. The music had stopped and the runners had spread out – had everyone given up because of the rain? At certain points I thought I’d left the route as I couldn’t see a single head torch, but I completed my lap – albeit, very slowly!

The rain soon stopped and it started to get light again which was cause for great celebration – the end was in sight, and things were still looking good for our win. Some frantic calculations and strategizing was ongoing as our last few runners headed out, although we were sure we had won, did we have time to squeeze in another lap before the clock struck 12? And more importantly, did we need to? It turned out to be a ‘ no we didn’t ’ on both accounts, so instead we had a fairly leisurely jog across the finish line as a team, with Katie doing some impressive ‘run-dressing’ (not to be confused with undressing). We had done it. We cheered the other teams home, picked up our winnings (a funky headband each, and a team trophy) and went our separate ways for some well-earned sleep.

winning team

Reflecting on a brilliant weekend, I’ve never really done any team sports, and had previously never really considered running to be one. It was an absolute privilege to be on the first Sandhurst Ladies Team with my amazing teammates Nikki Stanley, Helen Antram, Lisa Hale, Katie Herrington, Sharon Burfield, Heidi Zymela and Gemma Potter. Hopefully we’ll be back next year to defend the title!

Ladies team under finish banner


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Vitality 10k – Will Lucas reports back from his 1st race… a big one at that!

Having only joined Sandhurst Joggers a few months back, I had never before considered actually taking the plunge and signing myself up to an official race. However when the opportunity was handed to me and all it required was a yes or no answer, I decided that the Vitality London 10k was the one for me!

Vitality10k prerace

When the day arrived I made my way into Green Park to meet with some familiar faces and get my bearings before making my way to the start. Having started with some feelings slight nervousness of not knowing what to expect, they soon passed to leave me with excitement as I took in the sights and sounds of the busy park full of people getting ready for the race.

Vitality10k palace

It was not long before it was time to start heading down to your designated coloured zone to line up for the start in which I found myself on my own and fairly far back. To me this didn’t matter at all as everyone seemed in high spirits which created a great atmosphere of inclusiveness. Slowly the crowd surged forward closer and closer to the start and before I knew it, there we were, just waiting for the signal to go.

Vitality10k start crowds

As we started I found the pace very slow and with so many people out there quite difficult to get around and go at my desired pace. This was not a huge problem as running through central London was not something I imagined I would ever do and there was so much else to take in other than my pace. With crowds cheering and clapping on all sides of the street, bands playing every km or so and not to mention the iconic sights never seen in this light, I found the kilometres soon passing by.

Vitality10k london streets

By 5km the streets seemed to be much quieter and the stretch to 7km felt like the hardest point. The temperature in the city that weekend was hot and fairly humid. Much of it felt like there was little to no breeze which made the water spray all the more welcome. At this point I noticed the streets seemed to be becoming much livelier again and as the 8th KM past I felt like the final two would not be a problem.  I was not wrong, spurred on by the same sights, sounds and support of the beginning I only wished there was a little more to go! After crossing the finish line the whole race was made even more worth it when I picked up an excellent bag with finishers T-shirt, medal and a few other nice little bits.

Vitality10k will & team

All in all a great race which I would recommend to anyone especially those that have always thought about it but not quite made it to the sign up stage.

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Endure24 – SJ Team Red Captain Wayne Boardman reflects on a magical weekend of running

Upon securing a place at Endure 24 I decided to do a little research on the race, something I failed to do with The Grizzly with spectacular results, and after typing in the word ‘Endure’ into the laptop I was given a list of definitions that included:

1) To continue to exist
2) To support adverse force or influence of any kind
3) To suffer without yielding
4) To suffer patiently

Having read the above and looking at the course profile I wasn’t entirely sure I’d done the right thing by entering, yet having just completed Endure 24 I have to say it’s at the very top of my ‘must-do’ race list. I absolutely loved it!
Wayne don't shoot

There are a number of reasons why I loved this race so much including;

The course – it was the perfect distance for me to push myself around in a reasonable time for an unfit 40 something; it was hilly with a couple of steep uphills and equally challenging steep downhills; it was technically challenging with lots of twists and turns through the forest with countless exposed tree roots to run (trip) over; and it was entirely traffic free and very picturesque.

The festival atmosphere – Endure is marketed as Glastonbury for runners, and it certainly felt that way. Within the race village could be found the food tent and the caravan bar, deckchairs and bales of hay to lounge on, the DJ set and the huge colourful flags, and the best bit for me – the inflatable Mizuno shop! I just had to purchase another pair.
Teepee & caravan

It’s family friendly – I was unsure whether to take my two rug rats, Rufus aged 11 and India aged 8, but I’m so pleased I did as they had a wild time. Not only did they enjoy the camping, something we don’t often do, they loved being surrounded by other fun loving children including the Rice boys, the Potters, and Bowles Jr. What they enjoyed most was the independence the weekend gave them; they knew daddy was a little busy to parent them like he normally would, I knew the race community was a safe one, and so they had the freedom to enjoy their surroundings without me constantly nagging about their whereabouts.

The team spirit – I was lucky enough to skipper a hard working team of runners that included Kate, Zerrin, John, Jim, Dave, Alan, and Erol. Before the event I asked everyone what their expected lap time was, and based on this I set a plan that everyone could complete 4 laps within the 24-hours. One or two team members had some concerns as they’ve never ran this distance before, and/or they didn’t much fancy running in the dark, but everyone dug deep and got on with the task to ensure we as a team met our target of 160-miles. Throughout the weekend, whether it was day or night, hot and sunny, or dark and wet, everyone took their turn without complaint when the time arrived – and no one forgot to wake the next runner! Something that not all teams can say 😉
It was great running Zerrin in as a team on her last lap, a fitting end to an excellent team event.

The final reason why I loved this race so much was the camaraderie amongst the SJ family. From the pre-race arrival team who secured an excellent spot and worked tirelessly throughout Friday to get tents erected for other runners, the evening jolly where beers, wine, and a few tales were shared (who remembers spreadsheet gate?), to the sharing of food, water, tent pegs, pink giraffes and dry socks that occurred without question. As an longstanding SJer who has dipped in and out of the club over the years it was great to feel the SJ hug around me and my family this weekend; all three of us thank you for making the weekend so enjoyable.
SJ Red at finish clock

A truly wonderful and memorable weekend that simply has to be repeated next year.
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Meet the Member – Simon Whillis

Wednesday sees the June edition of the SJ Monthly Handicap so it’s the perfect opportunity to get to know the man behind the clipboard and stopwatch who earlier this year completed his 100th Parkrun; meet Simon Whillis…

Handicap trophy

Q) For members who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself?

A) Been a member of SJ for a long time although I now only do Park Run on a regular basis. I joined the ranks of the retired a couple of years ago and my wife joined me 3 weeks ago so “the world is now our oyster”, providing the money holds out. Enjoyed sport all my life without ever being any good at it. Running, or shuffling in my case, means I am competing against myself.

Q) How and when did you get into running?

A) Saw the first London Marathon on TV and a few months after that I entered the first Fleet Half Marathon. March 1982!!! Took part in a few local half Marathons – including the legendary 1985 Sandhurst event which included the heaviest downpour that I ever ran in. Did my first London in 1986 after 3 rejections. My youngest daughter was 2 days old then. Her 13th birthday present was to come up and watch me run what turned out to be my last London.

Q) What do you enjoy most about being a member of Sandhurst Joggers?

A) Without doubt the people that I have met. Joining SJ changed our lives. We have made so many lasting friendships. Walked and run all over the country with our SJ friends.

Q) Other than running the monthly Handicap, on which of the weekly runs are we most likely to bump into you?

A) I occasionally run on a Tuesday. I help out at the Yateley Road Races as well.

Q) I see you’ve ran at a number of different Parkruns around the country and volunteered at over 70! Of the 11 venues you’ve run at, which was your favourite and why?

A) I like Frimley because I have made a lot of new friends there. I recently did Guernsey which was challenging and enjoyable but the one I suppose I have most affection for is Keswick which was my first bit of Park Run tourism. It goes along the C2C cycle route and about a year after I did it a couple of the bridges were swept away by Storm Desmond. They found another temporary home for the run but it is now back where it was with a few amendments. Last August I ran it again.

Q) What other events are on your programme for 2017?

A) The running is a bit limited these days so we are making up for it by walking the West Highland Way in June. I might manage the Bounders relay.