Runners travel far and wide to compete in challenges

Featuring the 2023 Grizzly multi-terrain, HRRL Salisbury 10, Cranleigh 21 and Fleet Half Marathon races.

The Grizzly 2023

Crossing the finish line together, Steve Bailey, Kate Townsend, Clair Bailey and Colette Grist, at the 2023 Grizzly multi-terrain race

Thirteen members of Farnham Runners travelled to Seaton, Devon to take part in The Grizzly and The Cub, multi-terrain races organised by Axe valley Runners. Some members chose to make a whole weekend of it, travelling to Devon on Friday and doing Seaton parkrun on Saturday morning followed by The Grizzly on Sunday morning.

The races start on the seafront at Seaton and take runners up along the cliffs through the village of Beer then on to Branscombe beach. Here the route splits, the Cub runners turning back along the shingle beach towards Seaton and onto the cliff tops via the infamous ‘Stairway to Heaven’ path.

Kate Townsend, Steve and Clair Bailey climbing up the Stairway to Heaven path at the 2023 Grizzly multi-terrain race

The Grizzly runners follow an undulating inland loop before returning to Branscombe beach and following the same route as the Cub to complete 20 miles in total.

Weather conditions were unusually kind this year. The sea was flat calm and there was no wind even on the cliff tops. Due to the lack of rain, signs warned of ‘Sharp Stones’ rather than mud, however the famous bog had been kept topped up with water so Grizzly runners still had the pleasure of wading through knee deep mud followed by a steep, slippery ascent where they had to pull themselves up on a chain.

Runners were encouraged along the way by drummers, bagpipes, pirates and numerous cheerful marshals with enthusiastic crowd support from the villages of Beer and Branscombe as well as in Seaton itself. The local fire service was ready at the finish to provide a welcome hose down of muddy shoes and legs!

Kate Townsend and Colette Grist receiving a post-race hose down aftert the 2023 Grizzly multi-terrain race

First home for Farnham Runners in The Grizzly was Nick Grist in 3:06:48, followed by John Hill Venning in 3:09:58. Next came Ivan Chunnett 3:45:41 just ahead of Andy Brown in 3:49:44, Lindsay Bamford 4:16:15, and James Goodwin 4:22:22. Clair and Steve Bailey, Collette Grist and Kate Townsend enjoyed a sociable run together recording a time of 4:47.

In the Cub race Farnham Runners were lead home by Kay Copeland 1:51:33, followed by Howard Inns 2:03:34 and Jacquie Brown 2:33:52.

This excellent race, which is well supported, is becoming a strong favourite in the running club’s calendar. They will be back next year!

Salisbury 10

Louise Granell running just after the start of the 2023 Salisbury 10

The flooding on the roads on the way down to Salisbury on Sunday 26th March did not bode well for having dry feet at the end of the Hampshire Road Race League race. However, by 10:00am better conditions and good drainage prevailed and the roads were mostly clear for the 828 runners who took part.

The race is the 8th one in the road race league, with four remaining. The next race is closer to home in Alton, in May.

There were plenty of other races to choose from on the same day so the club numbers were a bit lower than usual. With the upcoming London Marathon, some runners chose Cranleigh 21 or Fleet Half to use as a training run. Eleven members of Farnham Runners took part in Salisbury 10.

The race features quiet roads, a few undulating hills and lovely views of the cathedral on the return route.

The first mile wound through the outskirts of the city, before opening up onto small country roads. The route essentially followed the River Avon for 5 miles before returning on the north side of the river.

There were various supporters on the route, ringing cattle bells as the runners passed. Three water stations were provided and there were numerous St John’s Ambulance points.

Rob Baker checking his watch near the finish of the 2023 Salisbury 10 Emma Pearson and Tony Jones pacing each other to the finish line of the 2023 Salisbury 10

First back for the club was a fairly new member, Rob Baker in 1:06:33 which was a PB. He came 108th overall. Next up was Emma Pearson with another PB, in an excellent 1:08:41, she was 6th in her age bracket. Tony Jones ran with Emma and finished 11th in his age group in 1:08:43.

Louise Granell making a dash for the finish line of the 2023 Salisbury 10 Louise Granell making a dash for the finish line of the 2023 Salisbury 10

Sam Angell put in a great performance, finishing in 1:10:05. Richard Denby cruised along the course, chatting happily to other runners. He finished in a superb 1:13:42. Next was Louise Granell in 1:16:45, practising her pacing for London.

Ivan Chunnett used this race as his final training run before the Brighton marathon. He kept a steady pace throughout, finishing in 1:18:49.

Back from injury and improving every time, John Phillips completed the course in 1:20:02. Andy Brown and Chris Raby, who were also running the Brighton marathon, took a ‘relaxed’ approach to the race finishing in 1:27:24 and 1:27:25 respectively. Chris Gill finished in an excellent 1:32:22.

The ladies team are an equal 6th place with Denmead Striders in the league standings. The men’s team are 9th.

Fleet Half Marathon

James Goodwin, Linda Tyler and Craig Mackie after 2023 Fleet Half Marathon

Since the first event in 1982, thousands of runners have completed the Fleet Half Marathon, which has become the highlight of the year’s sporting calendar in Fleet and the surrounding area. The course is gently undulating with personal best potential and it is always well organised by Fleet and Crookham AC.

Despite being the start of spring, the morning of Sunday 26th March race was a very wet one; however, the rain eased off for the race itself and with only a gentle breeze, conditions were generally good for the 1,758 runners, following a new course for this year.

There were six members of Farnham Runners representing the club at Fleet this year. First to finish was Stuart Taylor in 1:26:26; James Goodwin followed the 1:40 pacers to get a personal best time of 1:40:14; next came Linda Tyler in 1:41:35 for the F60 3rd place. Paul Mackie followed in 1:47:06,

Howard Inns in 2:03:13 and Amanda Muir in 2:09:26. Previous Farnham Runner member, Ali Hardaway, travelled from Wales for the race, completing it in 01:44:14.

Linda Tyler has recently returned from Japan where she completed the Tokyo Marathon in 3:46:45 and finally earned the coveted Six Stars Medal for completing all six of the World Major Marathons.

Cranleigh 14/21

Chris Matthews running through the woods at the 2023 Cranleigh 21

Other members of Farnham Runners took part in Cranleigh 21, which is a mixture of rural roads, Down Link trail and a disused railroad. It is billed as a good long-run training option in the build up to the London marathon.

The 21 miles consisted of three 7-mile laps. Chris Matthews was first home for the club and placed 2nd overall, in an excellent 02:17:29. He also completed the fastest lap in his age category on his third time round. Next back was men’s captain, Justin Clarke in 03:03:50. Colette Grist used the race as part of her ultra-marathon training, she completed the 21 miles in 03:44:01. Craig Tate-Grimes finished in 03:47:37.

Frances Letherbridge finished the 14-mile loop in 1st place in her age category in 02:21:46.

See the Photo Gallery 2023 for further photos from the above races