Access to All

A few weeks ago we announced we were providing funding for 5 local runners to complete the England Athletics Guide Runner course. We had some doubters, who thought we were promising something we couldn’t deliver, but we delivered, and will continue to deliver.

We had more requests than we thought we could get places, so had to draw 5 names from the hat.

Yesterday, the first of our candidates completed the course, congratulations to them.

This now means, local club, Meon Valley Runners, and Lonely Goat Running Club, are able to accommodate Visually Impaired runners.

As an event organiser, we always said that our races should be accessible to all. With VI Guide Runner volunteers we are now able to accept entries from VI runners.

Any Guide Runner acting as a guide or a helper in any of our events, gets FREE entry.

We will continue to work to be all inclusive to everyone, because we believe that running should be something we can all do, irrespective of ability, gender, sexuality, race, or religion, or age.

Meet our 2018 ‘Runner of the Year’

Today, Christmas Day, we gave out our own bit of Christmas Cheer, with our 2018 Runner of the Year Award.

It didn’t take long for us to decide there was one overwhelmingly worthy winner.

Our decision was based not only on their running achievements, but also on the support they have given us throughout the year, by supporting our events, supporting all the other runners, and by ignoring all the negative stuff that might, or might not have been posted about us.

Rich Harris has been an absolute star, and is a shining example of what ‘community’ Running is all about.

We are looking forward to seeing Rich at our races throughout 2019.

Winner of our ‘Club of the Year’ award goes to ‘Mr R’s Runners’. Thanks for all your support during the past 12 months.


All I want for Christmas ……..

All I want for Christmas is for the running community to come together, and work in harmony, rather than bitch and moan about  who might have copied whose race! and where people talk to each other face to face rather than from behind the keyboard!

Last weekend we held our Christmas Tree Challenge at Portchester Castle, an un-timed, 12 lap challenge. The field of 300 runners was made up from runners of all abilities, all ages and both club and non club runners.

At the same time, the Victory 5 was starting, just 2 miles away, and had a strong field of 900 runners.

When we published the details of our Christmas Tree Challenge, the HRRL fixtures were yet to be finalised. When they were, we saw that they were on the same day but didn’t bat an eyelid.

We at Rural Running have always held the belief that it will always be a case of ‘Peoples Choice’ and it is the people that will, and should be able to choose when, and where they race/run.

Inevitably there will be clashes, and the sensible thing to do, the adult thing to do, is to discuss perhaps making a compromise, if required, as has been the case during the past 3 years, and we have only been too happy to make changes.

We have had occasions where our races, the details of which have been published long in advance, have clashed with an event held by another local running company, but not once have we made an issue of it. We have always let the runners decide, and have even publicised the other event when our event fills up.

It has not escaped our notice that a number of local clubs appear to be boycotting our events, for whatever reason. Our races continue to fill up regardless, but sometimes it’s not about numbers. We miss you, we miss the sea of yellow that has in the past become a feature of our races, we miss the blue and white running vests, of which I was one, and proud to have been so. I also know that last week another local running club, whilst out on one of their club runs, had to listen to one of their experienced members going on about what ‘Jeff’ was doing, what ‘Rural Running’ were doing, and how bad ‘we’ were! Apart from anything else, in my opinion, the members of that club deserve better. I would prefer to listen to advice and guidance about running, fitness, nutrition and health, from an experienced, respected member of the club, rather than have to listen to a load of petty nonsense about someone else!

Whatever the reason for the boycott, it has never been our intention to offend, upset, or go head to head with person, or any club.

We have made some mistakes along the way, and some of them have been absolute howlers. We have always set out to give you the reasons, have always apologised, and have never shirked responsibility. We have always given reason, not excuses. We have never set out to organise races where people get lost, where people don’t apply their timing tag’s properly or where people feel they have been singled out as ‘different’ for any reason.

Our races are all inclusive and will always be, irrespective of race, religion, gender, colour, or sexuality! All inclusive means ‘ALL’ inclusive and that how it will always be.

We would like to extend a hand of welcome to those clubs and their members. We have some great events planned for 2019 and hope you will put the past in the past and come and join us.

Our events have been said to be ‘the friendliest races I have ever done’ by 100’s of our races, that’s not because of us, its because the runners!

We respect your choice, and hope to see you in 2019


In the meantime, have a great Christmas. Stay fit, stay healthy, and have a great 2019, wherever you might be running


Jeff & the Rural Running Family



Christmas Tree Challenge – Event Instructions

The Christmas Tree Challenge takes place at Portchester Castle on the 2nd December, starting at 10am.


Portchester Castle lies at the end of Castle Street, Portchester. It is owned and managed by English Heritage.

Parking in the FREE car park at the Castle is limited. We therefore request that all entrants use the main village car park, accessed via Ashetton Court, off Castle Street. The Castle is a short 5 minute walk from the car park.

Local runners should, wherever possible, walk to the Castle, so as not to cause inconvenience to local residents.

Number collection will take place from VILLAGE GYM, LAKESHORE CLOSE, NORTHARBOUR, PO6 3FR during the week preceding the race, Monday to Thursday from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. There will be a number collection at the start, on the morning of the race from 8am. those of you in teams should collect their team members numbers wherever possible. Team numbers will be in the same envelope. Only non team runners who are Meon Valley Runners / Rural Running Club Members will have their numbers posted out.

Entrants should only start the challenge if they are well, and not suffering any ill health. If any runner feels unwell during the event, they should seek medical advice from the medical team, who will be stationed alongside the start pen.

A full explanation of the challenge and how it works is set out below


The christmas tree challenge is a unique event, never before run!

The aim of the entrant is to complete as many 3.7km laps as they can. For every complete lap, the runner will receive a ‘bespoke’ tree decoration, to dress their impressive christmas tree medal.

The decorations are individually printed with each of the 12 days of christmas.

Runners will start in waves of approximately 80, a few minutes apart. At the end of every complete lap, they will be handed a wristband. Once they have completed their challenge, they must take their wristbands to the ‘christmas shop’ to exchange them for their decorations.

There are three ways the challenge can be run.

1. Individuals can run each lap of the 12, or less, on their own, completing the challenge as an individual.
2. Teams of at least 4 can run the challenge as a team relay, with each runner running a minimum of 1 lap. Once the team have run an accumulated 12 laps, the team cpatain should then take the teams total of wristbands to the ‘Christmas Shop’ to exchange them for their team’s decorations.
3. Teams can run the challenge together, with all members running together. Once the team, together as a group, have run an accumulated total of 12 laps, the team captain shoould take the teams wristbands to the Christmas Shop’ to exchange them for their decorations.

Runners can ‘break’ from the challenge at any time to take a rest, have a drink, or enjoy a snack. It is only when they return their wristbands that their challenge is considered complete.

Once the runners have completed their challenge and have exchanged their wristbands for the tree decorations, they can make use of the ‘snowdome’ for their commemorative photographs. Please follow the operators instructions and only enter the snow dome when instructed to do so by the operator/attendant.

There will be a charity collection bucket at the snowdome, with all donations going to the LOOK charity.

Each runner will be timed. Their time will start when their wave starts and will finish when they declare their challenge is over by handing in their wristbands.

This event is all about fun! Make sure you have plenty of it!

Fancy dress is encouraged, with a prize going to the best fancy dress, as well as a prize for the most creative ‘team name’.

Rural in The Village

We are very pleased and proud to be able to reveal, we have today teamed up with Village Gym in Portsmouth Lakeside Northarbour who will be our main event sponsor through 2018/19

Village Gym are an amazing partner for us, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge of health & fitness.

Village Gym will feature in all of our event promotions, and will host our pre-race day number collections. The team from Village Gym will also be providing our pre-race warm up at ALL our 2019 races.

Samantha Tomlinson and her team at Village will be providing all our racers with lots of goodies, including exclusive membership offers, as well as little tasters for use in the Village Hotel.

Our first race with Village Gym as our sponsors will be the Bacon Roll Run, in Portchester, on the 14th October. The race kicks off an exciting series of fundraising races for us, with the first being the Alex Wardle Foundation.

It seems a good fit for Rural Running to be supported by a Village 😃

Wickham 10k & 5k Race report

What a day, what a race!!

Last years Wickham 10k started outside of the village, so as not to clash with the Wickham Festival, being held over the same weekend. This year we decided to move the start nearer to the village centre, using the Wickham Centre as the hub for the race.

200 runners lined up on the start line in Mill Lane, for the start of the 10k race, with Steve Wardle, co founder of the Alex Wardle Foundation, ready to head out in front as the ‘pace car’.

Bang on 10am the race started, with the runners heading uphill for the first 300 meters. The course was, to say the least, undulating, but you know what they say, for every uphill there is a downhill, and runners were soon able to suck in the air as they headed down hill, out of the village.

Earlier on the day, the roads had been closed, with the kind permission of Winchester City Council and with great support from Neil Driscoll (Fareham Crusaders), and his team at Ashtead Plant.

Once the 10k runners had all passed through the 2km marker, it was time for the 5k to start. With only 7 entrants, it was an intimate affair, with runners introducing themselves to each other on the start line 🙂

Off they went, and so both races were now on.

For the 1st time, we were using a GPS tracker to monitor the position of the tail runner in the 10k race, which allowed us to keep marshalls informed. The water station, at the 5k mark, was located outside the front of one of the residents of Gravel Hill. We wish to pay a massive thank you to her, and for keeping the marshalls at the water station supplied with tea & coffee!

After 22 minutes, the familiar figure of Ross Wayne came running down the hill, winning the 5k race in an impressive 22.58, followed closely behind by Rural Running events ever present Bruce Richards (23.38). In the ladies race, Zodwa Chasokela finshed in 1st place (32.02) with Amy Green coming in closely behind (32.44).

It wasn’t long until local Fareham Crusaders runner, James Hughes appeared, crossing the line to win the 10k race in 36.27, impressive for such a hilly, unfamiliar course. Following close behind was Denmead Striders runner, Neil Williams (37.48) with Ian Howard from Itchen Spitfires coming in third in a time of 37.54.

In the ladies 10k it was Rachael Phelps, from Lewes Running Club who took the honours, wining in a time of 40.55. Fareham Crusader Lucy Bartlett (46.17) took second place, with Southampton AC runner Lucy Harrison coming third (46.39).

There were loads of PB’s over the 10k course, and lots of smiling faces.

Brett Rumfitt from Baffins Fitclub said ‘the course was a lot better than last years. It was much tougher, but I really enjoyed it’.

Finally we would like to thank all the supporters  and especially the volunteers who helped make the event the success it was, and thanks also to the residents of Wickham, Swanmore and Shirrell Heath, who welcomed us and supported the event.


Thank you everyone 🙂





In light of the forecast high temperatures on Sunday 8th July, we have decided to move the start time forward to 9am. As you will appreciate, this has an effect on more than just the runners.

Number collection is available from NOW from 58 Kelvin Grove, Portchester, PO16 8LE (call Michelle on 07947 911323 if you wish to collect during the day to ensure there is someone in), otherwise its between 5 and 8 every night up to, and including Friday. If you wish to have your number posted out to you today/tomorrow, you can by clicking here

If you are turning up to any of the Meon Valley Runners runs this week and want your number to be bought along, let me know.

Number collection on the day will be from 8am. The race brief will be at 8.50 with the race starting at 9am prompt.

Please share this post so as many people affected get the message. Emails and text messages will go out this evening.

Thank you all for your co-operation and understanding

Everyone welcome, runners and joggers!

After many comedic responses to the recent facebook posting by an as yet unknown member of Portsmouth Joggers, relating to our ‘lazily’ named Hundred Acres Summer XC, I wanted to set the record straight once and for all.

In 2012, I joined Portsmouth Joggers, having just begun running. I have to say, that they were welcoming, friendly, and inclusive, with running groups for every type and level of runner.

The club was going through a change, with an almost ‘mass’ resignation of the committee, with a new committee taking over. I wanted to make a contribution so joined the new committee.

If I had known then, what I know now, I would have opted just to continue enjoying my running and not become involved with committee’s and petty politics. Committees are a fundamental part of the club network, but committee members have to be volunteering to be so for the right reason, and not just to boost their ego’s.

My biggest mistake was to let personalities dictate what I felt about the club, and that, with hindsight, was a grave error! I left PJC, with very fond memories and some great friendships, that continue to this day. PJC got me running and for that I will always grateful.

At around this time, I started to organise a few local runs, primarily to assist the local Guide Dogs Fundraising and Support Group, with whom my wife was involved. I arranged the Twixmas 10k on the 27th December,  and was accused of going head to head with PJC’s Pub to Pub on the 28th. The P2P was a road race, and Twixmas was off road, and 350 runners made their own choice and ran Twixmas, with some making their own choice to run both races.

Over the years, Rural Running has been accused of copying race formats, and copying race names, as well as organising races on the same dates as PJC races.

I can state categorically, that when we organise a race, we have to consider a number of issues. Locaton, Distance, Type of Race, Terrain, and other local events.

It will always be the case that there are not enough weeks in the year to not have clashes, and there is always going to be the inevitable head to head. Most race organisers are polite, courteous and are able to request either a name change, or date change, and those requests are met!

PJC on the other hand, take the alternative course of action, by attacking! The recent FB thread included a statement from the original author of the post, saying that they had contacted me personally to request a name change. I challenge them to provide evidence of this! because they didn’t!

All our races, bar none, are supported by all the local clubs, with the exception of PJC, whose absence from our start lines, stand out like a sore thumb, with the exception of the few who continue to support us.

I would like to extend an offer to ANY member of PJC to run in any of our races, they are low key, friendly, and always well supported, with friendly, supportive marshals, and great medals.

Not only will ANY PJC member be made welcome, they can get discounted entry using the code pjc2018 when they enter via the website.

PJC will always hold a special place, regardless of who might or might not be running the club, and it is sad to let petty rivalries spoil the memories I have of being a member of their great club.

As I posted recently, only one person can tell you what races you should enter, and that is you!


It was Harry’s day!

First launched onto the diary a year ago, as the Fareham Creek 10k, the race was renamed as a salute to very brave young man, and a very supportive family.

The Harry St Ledger 10k, named after Harry, whose story has been the feature of many news items over the past months, proved to be a winner on a number of fronts. The race was a sell out, with 200 entrants, who turned out in their numbers, some dressed a superheroes, as a tribute to Spiderman loving Harry.

The race, run on the now well established Twixmas 10k course, along the Fareham Creek Trail, out to Cams Hall and back, was more challenging than usual, as temperatures rose towards the 22 degree mark, before the start at 10am.

Harry did us the honour of starting the race with his ‘air horn’ and remained at the finish line to cheer the runners home. The 5k race was won in 19:53 by Ross Wayne, a regular at Rural Running events, followed closely behind by Harry Sage, winner of the recent Ditcham Park 5k. First lady home in the 5k was Hayley Parker in 28:02.

In the 10k, first man home in a time of 37:16 was James Dean, with Portsmouth Jogger Catherine Metcalf taking the ladies title in 48:29. There was a great finish line atmosphere as all runners remained behind to cheer home the rest of the field.

Before the race, Andrea Maynard, of Portsmouth Joggers, and ever present at Rural Running events, was presented with a trophy for conquering the Rural Running ‘Everest Challenge’, climbing accumulated ascents of over 8000 metres in just 5 months.

The Fareham Creek 10k, in its third year, has become a favourite for local runners of all abilities and is always a sell out, despite its date clashing with the Purbrook Ladies 5 just going to prove that rather than argue about whose race was published first, its better to celebrate the fact that runners of all ages, and abilities, across the region have lots to chose from.

Next up on the calendar, is the Portchester Castle 10k on the 8th July, which once again, for the 3rd year is a sell out.

Future events include the Wickham Twilight 10k on the 20th July, the Wickham 10k on the 19th August, the Meon Valley Trail Half/10k/5k on the 16th September, the Wickham Torchlight 10k on the 12th October, the Bacon Roll Run on the 14th October, Remembrance 10k/5k on the 10th November, and the Twixmas 10k on the 30th December. More information on all these races can be found on

It was ‘Bonjour’ then ‘Au Revoir’

The idea of a group jaunt across the channel to run around rural France, was conceived about 5 minutes after Michelle and I arrived for a short break over 12 months ago. Forest View, in very rural Lower Normandy offered the ideal site at which to base ourselves and take in some of the beautiful scenery.

And so it proved! With 5 pre-erected, 4 man tents, and our 4 berth caravan, with a rather large awning, waiting for our guests, there was space for one very large tent, erected in record time by Tilli Brown, her husband Mark, and the kids Connor & Sasha. Our group was very soon bonding over a cold beer, and then an eye-opening 5k+, up into the forest and across some of the local trails and paths, taking in some stunning scenery. Bethany Adaway was awarded our runner of the day award for her grit and determination on the ‘undulating’ hills!

That evening, we all (26 of us) were treated to a 2 course ‘plat-du-jour- meal in the converted 300 year old barn now serving as a licensed restaurant, by our hosts Sarah & Peter Wilson, owners of Forest View. The overwhelming consensus was that the food, drink and atmosphere were great.

Saturday morning we all headed off to a local village called Mogan, to take part in our own little ‘pop up’ parkrun, in fact 6k, around a picturesque lake. Whilst we were running, some the full two laps, and others just the one, Michelle prepared a ‘continental breakfast’ feast of croissants, baguettes and pain aux chocolate, with coffee and fruit juice. It was the perfect setting and was very welcome! Chase was first home and was duly awarded the runner of the day award for Saturday.

The weather was changeable, to say the least, with some long spells of very hot sunshine and clear blue skies, interspersed with the most spectacular thunder storms with amazing lightning shows!

Our Sunday run was a 5k out to the local village of Dorceau, where the runners met up wit their families, apart from the missing men!, for a group picnic, by the riverside. Most, if not all the kids took advantage of the clean, shallow waters and took a paddle, with Sasha showing us all how to swallow dive into 10″ of water! A couple of brave runners, ran the 5k back, not wanting to miss out on the uninterrupted views, quiet country lanes, and marked out footpaths and trails.

That night, we all all met up for BBQ, again hosted by Sarah & Peter, with not a morsel left to be had! It was then games time, so starting with the shot putt, we moved swiftly on to  few rounds of welly wanging, with the main event being a spot of ‘husband and wife’ piggy back racing!! All great fun, and a spectacle for any locals that might have been passing.

The weekend was a great success, due in no small part to the people who joined us, and of course our hosts.

Our 2019 trip is already filling up. The dates are the 27th to 31st May for the family trip, and from the 20th to the 24th for the adults trip.

Michelle and I would like to thank everyone, adults and kids, who made the weekend so enjoyable.