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.



Not fantastic Plastic!

We have decided to stop using plastic cups and water bottles in future races. In the past each runner in every one of our races has been given a plastic water bottle during the races, maybe even two, depending on the race distance, only to be discarded, normally 3/4 full, around the course. Runners then got another bottle when they finished. During last years Remembrance Day 10k on Portsdown Hill, we handed out nearly 2000 bottles, most of which, were discarded 3/4 full!


After seeing all the discarded bottles around both the London and Southampton marathon courses, Michelle and I have decided that Rural Running should take a stand and make a change.



Rural Running will now use bio-degradable cups, both out on the course, and at the finish line. Michelle went on to say “after our Ditcham Park 10k on the 29th April, we will no longer be using plastic bottles, we hope other race organisers will follow our lead”.

Hundred Acres

Well! A weekend of two halves, demonstrating that our runs are like marmite! Some love em, some hate em. Happily the latter are in a very small minority, who, to be honest, we would rather not have in our races!

If you want seamless events, accurately measure courses, lots of rubbish bins, a toilet for every runner, and a car park the size of Dover docks, Rural Running events are definitely not for you!

At most of our locations we can only work with what we are given. As an example, we are not allowed portable toilets are Hundred Acres, we are not allowed to place rubbish bins and we have nowhere we can use for overflow car parking! Is this me passing the buck? No, most certainly not!

Everybody who ran the Hundred Acres races was able, without it having been necessary to include the obvious in the race day instructions, take their rubbish home with them, from the empty water bottle, to the little silver wrapper on the biscuits we gave out at the finish!

We have to admit to being caught napping with the car park, specifically at West Walk. We always try to encourage car sharing but can not force people to travel with other runners, we live a free world! Next year, runners travelling to Hundred Acres with 2 other runners, will receive a FREE parking voucher!

We would also like to emphasise, our races are ‘ALL INCLUSIVE’, no, that doesn’t mean there are endless amounts of local beers and spirits available, it means we don’t care whether you are black or white, fat or thin, tall or slim, christian or muslim, gay, straight, bi-sexual, or transgender! If you are a runner, you are welcome, if you run, you are a runner! NOBODY is excluded!

Those of you that ran the Half, whether the confusion at the start of your third loop affected you or not. We have arranged a FREE  Half Marathon for you, on the 17th June. It will be timed, but there wont be a medal. All you need to do is email us with your previous bib number, and your surname!

Finally, Rural Running is a limited company, and as such we try our hardest to make our races profitable, although we sometimes fail miserably! When we do make a profit on ANY of our races, we like to spread a bit of it about. We have a charity partner for each year, we make spontaneous donations to local charities, community associations and we donate money to runners who are running their own fundraising events. We have also bought essential equipment for local parkruns!

I AM NOT motivated by the money I could make from organising runs, I have a very well paid full time job that I enjoy, and thankfully, allows me the time to run Rural Running.

Anyone who wishes to challenge any of the above is more than welcome to meet with me in person and I will discuss any issues with them face to face. I WILL not tolerate keyboard warriors insulting me or questioning my motives!

I will continue to organise events just as long as you continue to enter them!!

This is the end of me having to defend myself, to a very small minority. Its now time to concentrate on the majority and appreciate the amazing supportive comments you have all sent me.




What a week its been!

At 4.30am on Sunday 31st December, New Years Eve, Twixmas Day, I awoke to the sound of winds blowing a gale, and the clatter of icicle Christmas lights banging against the window. A sense of impending doom came over me, as I came to the realisation that the lying water, and slippery mud that we had encountered the previous day, whilst setting the course, was going to be a whole lot worse!

Off I go, with markers and signs in hand, and a car full of water, to walk the worse parts of the course. What I saw was not a pretty sight. I was suddenly faced with the one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make. The course was clearly too dangerous to run, so decision made! The first call is always the most difficult, but I made it, to the timing company, on their way down from Northampton!

With the timing company cancelled, there was no turning back, so it was back home to wake up Michelle and my daughter. Blurry eyed, with adrenalin flowing at high velocity, we set about texting 445 entrants to give them the bad news! A call to Wave105 and a few strategic facebook posts later, the message started to get through!

With that all done, I was now in uncharted territory! Damage limitation being the order of the day! Hanging off the T’s & C’s of no refunds or re-arranged races was not an option. I’ve often heard of races being cancelled with no refunds and have always winced at the thought of how the race organiser can make such a decision!

From the sublime to the ridiculous….. three alternative races, over the course of 7 weeks, with heart surgery bang in the middle!!

Then the trolls come out and start turning the screw! trying to profit from the disaster, caused by storm Dylan or whatever his name was!

“Don’t take it personally” I kept hearing, that’s the trouble, I did, and always will! I’m passionate about what I do, I enjoy seeing people enjoy themselves!

Twixmas 2017 is now done. We are in 2018 now, with lots of exciting events planned, and we have recently started enrolling members in the Rural Running Club!

I’m looking forward, not back, and am eternally grateful to everyone for their comments, yes, even the trolls! you, in particular made me realise that you only represent 0.5% of the people I organise events for, the other 99.5% are supportive and have been helpful and constructive in their comments!

I have always lived by the philosophy of ‘its not about getting it right all the time, its about how you put it right when it goes wrong’.

I am looking forward to seeing you all cross finish lines over the coming months. You make this job the pleasure it is and I hope you always will 🙂

Happy New Year to you all

Don’t forget, “Always Rural, Always Real”

Twixmas Cancellation

Following the cancellation of the Twixmas 10k on the 31st December, due to adverse weather making parts of the course dangerous, we have come up with the following plan.

A full 10k run on the Twixmas course will be run on Sunday 18th February, start time 11am (RR3)

To accommodate those runners who had confirmed entries, and who had not previously withdrawn from the race due to injury, we will also be holding a number of smaller events, of 10k, run on the same Twixmas course. These smaller events however, will not be timed.

These ‘less formal’ 10k runs will take place on the following dates; Sunday 14th January (RR1), Sunday 28th January (RR2).

All the rescheduled events will be open for entries as new events.

All runners must wear a valid Race Number, which will be the race number they were allocated for the race that was cancelled.

ALL finishers in any of the rearranged events, will receive a finishers medal.

As you will appreciate, cancelling an event so close to the start is a massive decision and is not taken lightly.

I would also like to say that we have found some of the comments on social media a little upsetting. We tried our best, given the circumstances, to inform all those affected, as early as possible. We used text messaging, Facebook and local radio to get the message out there. We particularly chose Facebook as it is a very effective platform for disseminating information across wide networks of friends. In this case it served it’s purpose well, with only 5 people actually turning up at the venue, two of which admitted to not having checked their mobile phones! We would like to thank all of you that took the trouble to pass on the news about the cancellation.

Any entrants who wish to make a representation to us about the above, are asked to contact us by email (


2018 Programme of Events

Our programme of races for 2018 is now complete. We hope you agree that there is certainly something for everyone.

Our Charity Partner for 2018 is Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association, who will benefit from at least £1 from every entrant in every race!

Twixmas is coming!

On the 31st December, 400 runners will line up for the start of the 3rd Annual Twixmas 10k at Wicor Recreation Ground, Portchester. The race is a full for the 3rd year in a row, with runners travelling from all parts of the UK to take part in what is becoming the ‘must do’ race on the south coast over the festive period.
The course takes runners out along the coastal path, joining the Fareham Easy Access Trail and continues to the Cams Hall, where the runners turn around return along the path, to finish at the home of AFC Portchester.
The race brings down the curtain on what has been a busy year for Portchester based Rural Running, who have this year raised money for both local, and national charities, including Rowans Hospice and Blind Veterans UK, as well as supporting local runners with their own fundraising. In November, 600 runners competed in the Remembrance Day 10k at Fort Nelson, raising money for Forces charities.
Jeff Clark, owner of Rural Running, went on to say ‘without the support of Fareham Borough Council and the local community, none of our races would have taken part. The success of what we do is largely down to the runners, who continue to support us by entering our events. We try to make our events ‘all-inclusive’ by not imposing shut off times, and by making our events fun’.
Looking  back over the past three years, Jeff admitted that things hadn’t always gone to plan!. In April 2016, their Hundred Acres Half Marathon went horribly wrong, when parts of the course was sabotaged, with direction signs being moved prior to the race start, leaving runners stranded in the forest!
Since then, their events have gone from strength to strength, with the majority of races filling up.
Rural Running’s charity partner for 2018 will be Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association.
Full details of Rural Running’s 2018 events can be found on