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Farnham Pilgrim Marathon and Half Marathon – SJ Members’ Highlight

Pilgrim start

Nigel Evans – “Pilgrim Marathon- beautiful route – bloody hilly – bloody long way – yes would do it again.”

Ian Watson – “I’d thoroughly recommend this event.  Even the Half could be done by someone for whom a shorter distance would be considered by them to be a stretch.  If you’re comfortable with doing a club run, you could do this.  Not because it’s an easy one.  Far from it.  But remember that a “Walk+” attitude will be rewarded by a great experience.  As for the strong/fast, it would be a great course for taking up a challenge and really going for it.  I’ll be at it again, for sure.” – Click here to read Ian’s full report

Andrea Hadfield – “Absolutely loved this event – great scenery and more importantly drinks/food stations every 2 miles or so! Very friendly atmosphere made even better by the large turnout from SJ – one for the running diary for next year. Not an easy event by any means but thoroughly enjoyable despite the big sandy hill halfway round (St Martha’s!)”

Martin Gould – “This is the third time I have run the marathon along with doing the half from almost the start 9 years ago. It’s a great route, you get a TShirt & a medal, it’s probably the best marshalled event I have been to. And all this for £32 with the profits going to local charities.”

Tina Acock – “I’m still slightly broken, but I’ll live! It is still one of the most beautiful marathons I’ve done although it’s a tough course. I’m back next year to better my time and enjoy the views again. I would encourage anyone running marathons to do this course.”

Lance King – “It was a perfect day for running through the challenging Surrey Hillls for what must be one of the best marshalled marathon events by far. The terrain varies throughout and concentration is required from start to finish. Highlighted by me being able to catch my friend as he flew through the air after tripping on a root. Thankfully escaping with only a grazed elbow. I plan to return again next year for the 10th anniversary especially as it is Always Sunny in Surrey – well it always seems to be for this event!”

Sharon Burfield – “A lovely, local Marathon with beautiful scenery and great aid stations! Challenging but definitely worth it!”

Jane Bannister – “This was my 2nd marathon and couldn’t have been more different to the first one which was Leon’s 100th. This was off road and hilly. Nigel Evans had offered to run this with me and Alison Jones joined us. There were plenty of opportunities for photo stops and the views were stunning. We had already decided to walk the steep hills and run everything else and this was a good plan. It was superb day and the weather was excellent. There were loads of aid stations with plenty of food and lovely marshals. Definitely one for the calendar for next year.”

Alison Jones – “My slowest marathon by far, but the company was great, the route was challenging, the scenery was fabulous and plenty of pics were taken to prove this.  Definitely should be on everyone’s list, even just for the scenery the cakes and the marshals.” – click here to read Alison’s full report

Pilgrim SJ mara results

Pilgrim SJ crew

Andrew Brooks – “This was my 3rd attempt at the Pilgrims half marathon and it turned out to be just as hard as the first 2 attempts. Having learned the hard way from previous attempts I set out with a game plan – go fast on the flat / downhill and take it very easy on the uphill sections. This seemed to work as I still managed a reasonable turn of pace towards the end of the race, finishing within my target time of 1hr 40 minutes which turned out to be good enough for 27th place overall. If you fancy a trail half marathon then this a great race to try. The course covers all types of terrain from road to sand, across fields and through forests with some fantastic views along the way. The event is very well organised with friendly marshals which always makes for an enjoyable run – did I mention they also have cakes at the water stops? Next year is the 10th anniversary of the event and I hear they may run the course backwards (the marathon and half marathon) – that could be interesting.”

Katie Herrington – “It was more of a recovery run from Ridgeway 86 miler two weeks before! So I was out for a Sunday plod and not going for a time or anything. The run was relaxing and the scenery was lovely as usual. The legs had a tantrum at Mile 10 which rather slowed me down towards the end but aside from that nothing too exciting!”

Emma Lewis – “The Pilgrim is by far my favourite race of the year. I’m returning from 3 months of illness so my fitness isn’t great but when I saw they were accepting entries for walkers on the half marathon it seemed like a perfect opportunity to enjoy the race. I wasn’t disappointed as the trail is absolutely beautiful and it was wonderful to be out in the sunshine taking in the views. The hills on the half marathon are fewer and less challenging than on the full so this is an ideal race for someone wanting to try a trail race for the first time. With a generous cut-off for the half (4.5 hours) this is a great race for beginners and run/walkers. Next year is the 10th anniversary of the race and I will definitely be back!”

Pilgrim half marathon results 2018

Pilgrim team

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Ian Watson reports from the Pilgrim Marathon

I’d done The Farnham Pilgrim twice before, doing the Half Marathon each time and I enjoyed it thoroughly both times.  It’s run by Farnham Rotary as a charity event and this sets the tone for the event – it very much has a “run for fun” feel to it, though clearly there is no limit to the amount of effort a runner may wish to put into it.  One of the main appeals to it is the chance to enjoy running along the Hog’s Back, which gives a chance to not only run in some beautiful countryside but particularly to appreciate the extensive views over the North Downs from above.  With this in mind, and having heard great recommendations from those who’d already done it, I boldly booked onto the Marathon this time.

Because of this being an off-road event and because enjoying views from hills means you’re going to have to get yourself up them first, I knew this was not a little pootle in the countryside and that I would have to train for it.  So naturally, being a focussed and organised athlete, I did nothing of the sort.  (Well, I had one 12-mile run about 7 weeks before, but “marathon training”?  Nah).  The saving grace is that there was absolutely no point in trying to achieve a particular time in a race like this which might mean anything.  So the thinking was : could I walk 26.2mls? Yes.  In that case, this was going to be a “Walk+”, any amount of running being a bonus, and no guilt or disappointment for stopping to enjoy views, take some pictures or whatever.

The course did not disappoint – all the charm of the Half Marathon, double that and add a grand walk up the hill to St.Martha’s Church just to the south-east of Guildford at the turning point.  (presumably some would run it, but certainly not something I witnessed.  I expect you didn’t have to go far down the field to see the last of those who managed it).

As could be expected with such a strategy, I was not too out of puff to chat to people, including the sea of marshals who manned the huge number of aid stations, dishing out drinks and an array of toothsome snacks which you could just about convince yourself were needed to keep your energy levels up.  Oh yes, absolutely.  “No way am I going to finish if I don’t have a handful of jelly beans, several slices of Mars bar, half a dozen pieces of flapjack, a banana and some Haribo every two miles!” and they encouraged you to have it.  Honestly, it was like being spoiled on a visit to your granny.  Add in a lot of marshals ensuring we went the right way and there were probably as many volunteers at the event as there were runners in the marathon event which was about 300.  Though the route was well signposted and marshalled, I found one exception where I came to a farmyard with no other runners ahead to follow and no marshal or course sign.  Just a gate with some tape showed the way to the left and I saw a couple of runners in the distance who I followed.  After growing uncertainty, a U-turn, an extra 1/2ml added and a conference with the knot of runners now gathered in the farmyard, I located us all on the OS map I’d downloaded to my phone (!) and confidently and correctly told everyone what the real route was.  Considering that I’d been broken the previous week by the difficulty of the orienteering at the British Championships, this really was quite a coup.  Lina Johnson, take note: I am now the king of self-nav, and available for lessons at very reasonable rates as you prepare for your utterly bonkers challenges)

Amongst the runners I talked to, the most impressive was actually not the Superman doing his 312th marathon.  This accolade belongs to a woman of about my age who had done a marathon the day before.  (Okayyyy, nice!….)   Oh, and it was her 224th.   (Ooooh!…..) The first 100 took her 10yrs, the second 100 4yrs, and she was trying to get the third 100 in 80 weeks.   (Gulp….).   Oh, and at around 280, she’d had a heart attack, the doctor had advised her to stop running, she thought he was clearly not a runner and that running was actually the best thing, so ignored her and kept doing it anyway.  (Wow!!  But I’m very glad she’s being proved right!…).   And just when I thought she couldn’t add more to the astonishing story, she put the icing on the cake by telling me the previous day’s marathon had been in Devon, she’d driven back to her home in Cornwall and then driven up for today’s 9.30 start HAVING GOT UP AT 4AM TO MILK THE COWS.  I told her that I was doing my 6th marathon in 7 years.  It felt like an “I tried my best” sticker given to a child in Reception for their finger-painting.

I did complete the course, though it was quite a “challenge” towards the end (and I deserved it as my “training” got its own back on me).  As for my time…well I said it at the start.  You shouldn’t care because I honestly didn’t.  Even being “Dave Watson” in the results with a number which was one less than mine and not even being listed as an SJ, didn’t detract from the day, beyond proving I was there.

I’d thoroughly recommend this event.  Even the Half could be done by someone for whom a shorter distance would be considered by them to be a stretch.  If you’re comfortable with doing a club run, you could do this.  Not because it’s an easy one.  Far from it.  But remember that a “Walk+” attitude will be rewarded by a great experience.  As for the strong/fast, it would be a great course for taking up a challenge and really going for it.  I’ll be at it again, for sure.

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Handicap – September results

The clock is ticking for anybody who wants to do well in the annual Handicap Competition and September was one of just four months remaining!

Jon Green continues to impress as he logged the biggest improvement on the night of 1 minutes 45 seconds, ahead of Will Lucas who improved by 1 minute 5 seconds and 40 seconds for Blanche Barnes. The top 10 all went faster with season’s bests for Ray Hale and Sarah Alexander and personal bests for Stephen Casey and Martin Steadman.

Jon Hanicap trophy

Twenty two runners tackled the 4 mile hill course including first timers Imogen Murray and Allie Goodenough. Fastest on the night was Krzysztof Zielinski with 26:45.

Handicap result sept 18

Amazingly current series leader Colin Carpenter managed to add two points to his tally with a 14th place finish on the night in his ninth run of the year. With only seven scores to count he’ll struggle to improve in the final few months but he holds an eighteen point lead over second placed Andrea Vincent who in turn is five points ahead of third placed Mike Guess. Both improved their total scores as did Dick Newman and Roy Bentley. Watch out for Martin Steadman and Blanche Barnes who could make a late charge for the title.

Handicap table sept 18

Don’t forget the Handicap also counts towards the Club Championship so even if you are too late to join the Annual Handicap Competition make sure you log at least one run to enter into the Champs.



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New Forest 10k – Deb Harris tells of this beautiful mixed terrain event

So Sunday morning saw me getting up at 5:15 am to head off for the New Forest Marathon event, first stop Hook to join Lou (ex SJ member) and a few more mad people from Hook Runners for our convoy to the New Forest. We started off early mainly to avoid the queue getting into the car park later on. Luckily the weather was OK, even if it was dull and a bit breezy at the race village.  The 10k wasn’t due to start until 10am so we cheered the marathon runners and then the half marathon runners off before we dropped our bags and headed for the warm up area, where some mega happy, energetic fit bloke was telling us to squat and lunge, star jump etc etc. Hoping his energy had rubbed off on us we headed for the start line.

Deb New Forest stream

By now the sun had come out and if you know the New Forest you’ll know how beautiful it is and even more so with the sun breaking through the trees. The terrain is mixed, with light/small stones to larger stones, dusty woodland paths, grass and for short time tarmac but happily no mud his year due to our very dry summer.

Deb New Forest bridge

The start is very busy, but typically thins out within the first half mile or so. It’s well marshalled and needs to be as there certain points where the longer distance runners join us and then we split off again further on.

Deb New Forest finish

Despite the long day and Lou having an ongoing issue with her back which meant we decided to Jeff the course, I still 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. Various distances to run, marathon, half, 10 k,  a 5k, junior race and a woodland walk.

Deb New Forest medal

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Alison Jones tackles the Farnham Pilgrim Marathon as ‘just’ a training run

I really don’t know what possessed me to enter this marathon, off road and very hilly – my two least favourite things! But I was in.  I had a really busy week the week of the Pilgrim so did not manage to run at all, but I had done the Maidenhead Half the Sunday before so knew I would at least last for half of it.

I arranged to pick-up Jane Bannister, Richard Boese, Ian Watson and Andrea Hadfield so quite a little gang of us set off early that morning, and because we are so lovely and very special we had VIP parking at the start. Actually it was because there were five of us from the same club (but I like the other reason better!) The flag was planted and we swelled in numbers as the rest of the SJ’s arrived, many to run the half-marathon, and a photo shoot was promptly organised.

The marathon started at 09.30 so after the usual toilet visits and discarding of clothing the marathoners lined up at the start. I had no plans for this apart from a hilly workout and to finish since I have Loch Ness in two weeks, followed by Chester a further two weeks after that, so this was really a training run for me. The first half was not as hilly as I expected but the terrain was pretty rutted with the hot weather, so you had to be fairly sure footed. There were marshals everywhere to prevent us getting lost, although this did not prevent Ian from taking a wrong turn; he must have been going so fast he missed the arrow.  There were also aid / water stations approx. every two miles which were very well stocked with food and home baking. There was a danger that you would actually gain weight whilst running this marathon.  When we arrived at St Martha’s church I knew that was the hardest climb and we were half way.  By this time I had joined Jane and Nigel Evans and stayed with them for all but the last 2 miles of the run, we also met Andrea and her friend Dan at the water stations.

After the last aid station I decided to try and finish strong, then I met Martin and he informed me that there was a small climb up to the finish but it was on road, my surface, so no problem I also managed a sprint for the line as I saw a lady in front of me who looked to be in my age category, so job done.

My slowest marathon by far, but the company was great, the route was challenging, the scenery was fabulous and plenty of pics were taken to prove this.  Definitely should be on everyone’s list, even just for the scenery, the cakes and the marshals.

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Angela Harper tells of her Great North Run experience

I ran the 13.1 miles for ‘The Firefighters Charity’ starting in Newcastle centre with the route taking in the Tyne Bridge, passing through Gateshead and then finishing on the North East coast in South Shields by a beautiful sandy beach!
Angela GNR bunny bridge
We were lucky enough to fly up and stayed in the Premier Inn next to the airport and Metro line.  The hotel staff fully embraced the GNR event and provided complimentary water, bananas, safety pins, etc at reception. Plus Bucks fizz and chocolates when checking out!
Angela GNR metro
The Metro line was straight forward and only cost £5 for a day ticket.  There were coaches available to drop your bags and this service went smoothly, picking up our gear at the other end was easy after the race and large tents were available to get washed and changed. It was a busy start to the run and took us half an hour to even move to the Start line but we enjoyed the Red Arrows flying over at the beginning and then again at the end of the run.
Angela GNR busy start
The run started off in two lanes then merged and it did become rather congested in places. There were Duracell Bunnie pacers around so you could follow them to achieve a particular finish time.
Angela GNR
The crowd were very supportive the whole way giving out Jelly babies, oranges and ice pops. There were also bands playing, water stations, showers and even beer at mile 9!
I had booked a free post race massage with Simply Health in advance and it was a decent session which sorted out my hip aches, so really worth doing. We then enjoyed a lovely sunny walk along the beach to find that Beer and sit down to enjoy fish n chips before calling an uber taxi back to the hotel as time getting tight to catch our flight.
Angela GNR finish
I have not run a half marathon in about 15 years so I was very nervous and just wanted to run 10 min/mile pace and finish in time to see the Red Arrows fly over the finish line and I am pleased to say I achieved that so feeling Proud.  My family used The Great Run App to track me throughout the run so that was exciting for them all too.
Angela GNR I did it
A great experience and I would highly recommend to anyone for 2019 as the whole city is very proud of the GNR and you will receive a warm northern welcome everywhere.
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8th/9th September – SJ Weekend Run Down

A very big day on Saturday with two landmarks happening at two of our local Parkrun venues…

Twenty-two members joined Richard Boese at Frimley Lodge to celebrate his 400th parkrun. There is no Tshirt reward or ‘Badge’ for this milestone so Richard celebrated with cake at his home venue. Richard is the Sandhurst Jogger with the biggest total of Parkruns completed and he can also take a lot of kudos having volunteered at 321 along the way!

Richard 400th parkrun.jpg

Jon Payne was first SJ into the finish funnel as he celebrated his fastest time of 2018. There were many other celebrations as outright PBs were earned by Sharon Burfield, Dave Bartlett, and Gareth Hopkins. Course PBs were recorded by Patrick Wadsworth, Louisa Enriquez and Liz Ujszaszi Evans. While Dave Ayling and Royston Crandley both logged seasons bests.

FL PR SJ results Sept 8th

Over at Parkrun Bracknell it was a big day for the latest graduates of the Pure Beginners course. A combination of students and supporters meant there were 36 SJs running which equates to 10% of the entire 369 field in action!

Congratulations to Karen Read and her daughters Leanne and Amy, Fran Dimmock, Geraldine Durante, Graeme Rafferty, Lou Turnor, Sarah Denton, Alan Boother, Kris Brownhill and Abbie Malcolm. If you haven’t already don’t forget to add ‘Sandhurst Joggers’ to you parkrun profile.

Pure beginners at bracknell

Well done also to Kieran Cooper in his first parkrun! Dave Breslin was first member to finish and lots of supporting members were rewarded with outright PBs; Celeste Moruzzi, Samantha Wood, Kim Taylor and Sarah Davies. While course PBs were enjoyed by Jon Green,  Jim Haffey, Alison Bone, Liz Crow and Samantha Larkin.

Bracknell PR SJ results Sept 8th

Just a solitary member in action at Rushmoor with Martin Gould flying the SJ flag.

Rushmoor PR SJ results Sept 8th

Parkrun Tourism and starting with the local ‘short breaks’ we had Neil Praine finishing 6th at Dinton Pastures, Lisa Hale and Stuart Overhill at Newbury and Will Lucas at home venue Seaton (yes I know its in Devon – btw entries are open to the Grizzly ballot so get your entries in!)

Sharon Conquer reached a volunteering milestone as she clocked her 25th by Tail Walking at Northampton. Well done and a purple Tshirt will be on its way to her eventually.

Sharon Tail Walking at Northampton.JPG

Further afield, Phil Boylan ran at Llanelli Coast, Catherine Barnes at the recently popular with SJs Poole, Dave O’Toole at Brockenhurst, Mark Neve at Northallerton and Kevin Forster at Dungloe.

Onto Sunday and starting with one of the biggest running events in the UK; The Great North Run where five Sandhurst Joggers joined 57,000 other runners.

GNR results 2018

For a very different vibe and setting we move onto the Farnham Pilgrim with beautiful trails and plenty of hills.

Here’s the SJ results from the half marathon…

Pilgrim half marathon results 2018

…and the full marathon.

Pilgrim SJ mara results

Denbies Wine Estate provided another hilly course with alcohol stocked feed stations to keep runners moving and smiling in the Bacchus half and full marathons.

Lisa Denbies

Lisa Hale had a superb run as used her recent form over shorter distances to record a speedy 3:26:40 which would be impressive for a flat road marathon, let alone a hilly trail 26.2! We still need to establish exactly how many glasses of wine were consumed. Lisa finished as 1st female and 31st overall finishing one place ahead of Radio 2’s Vassos Alexander.

Bacchus marathon results 2018

A trio of SJs took on the half marathon event. Reports suggest the wine measures were a bit stingy but looks like a fun day was had all the same.

Bacchus half marathon fancy dress 2018.JPG

Bacchus half marathon results 2018

Another trio of SJs tackled the New Forest Marathon and 10k events, also on hilly, challenging courses with plenty off road.

New Forest Marathon results

Three SJ teams joined 73 other teams of five in The River Relay; a baton relay run over five stages from Boveney to Kingston-upon-Thames, finishing at the Hawker Centre. Our teams finished 4th, 25th and 59th so strong runs all round.


The biggest ever participation this week with 100 members logged runs on Strava. Once again Lisa Hale took the top spot. 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 9th.JPG

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 leading 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 TYTHINGS in Yateley at 8pm. The session will be run near Waitrose and will be 2 x 5 minutes with 1 minute recovery then 6 x 2 minutes with 30 second recoveries. You can read more about the Tuesday night intervals here

Wednesday:  It’s the second Wednesday of the month so time for the Handicap. There are only four opportunities remaining to score points in the 2018 competition or to log a time to enter into the Club Championship. This four mile run over a two lap course around Crowthorne is ideal for all abilities and starts from the Morgan Rec in Crowthorne at 7:30pm. Don’t forget the post run curry at The Raj in Sandhurst.

The 10k to 10 mile course continues with a 4 mile run this week, starting at 6:30pm at Sandhurst Memorial Park.

Thursday: This week there will be a very special threshold/improvers run to celebrate the upcoming wedding of Thursday General Member Nikki Stanley and Mark Fallowfield-Smith. The run will start at their house in Crowthorne at 7:30pm, take in a fun 10km route before returning to their house at roughly 8:30pm for drinks and nibbles. If you haven’t seen Nikki’s genius Facebook announcement I strongly recommend you search it out on the SJ Facebook Group. All members are welcome so message Nikki for the address of the starting point.

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 few 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