Wickham Twilight – Race Instructions

The Wickham Twilight races are out & back, 5k or 10k, along the Meon Valley Trail, Wickham.

START TIME – The race starts promptly at 7pm.

PARKING – Parking is at The Wickham Centre, Mill Lane, Wickham, either in the centre car park, or in the car park at the surgery at the top of Houghton Way. Parking is FREE

REGISTRATION – All race numbers need to be collected from The Wickham Centre before the race starts. The collection point is The Meon Room, which is situated at the rear of the centre.

TOILETS – There are toilets at the centre

COURSE DETAILS – IMPORTANT – This race is being held on the Meon Valley Trail. The trail is predominately compacted gravel, with some soft mud along a short part. There is also a short section of tarmac road at the start/finish.

MEDALS – Finishers medals will be handed to all runners at the finish line

TIMING – We are using chip timing for this event. We cannot stress enough, the importance of wearing your race bib/timing chip on the front of your shirt/vest. If it is not worn correctly the timing system may not register your finish time.

I always feel like an imposter!

Just over a year ago, following the 2018 Hundred Acres races, I was sent an email, calling me a charlatan!

I don’t mind admitting that at the time, I didn’t know exactly what I was being accused of being so I took to google, and what I saw made me both sad, and angry.

“a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill.”a self-confessed con artist and charlatan”

All of my working life, I have suffered from self doubt in my own ability and discovered that this is actually known as ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostorphenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or theimpostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts his or her accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. “

This attack, by somebody who themselves had been the subject of bullying and name calling, also accused me of being homophobic!

To be honest, this all came as a bit of a shock and did nothing for my insecurity and self doubt, but I wasnt about to give up.

My ‘Imposter Syndrome’ has made me more resolute, and more intent on proving to nobody else but myself, that whilst I am not anywhere the best at what I do, I am ALWAYS the best at being who I am, what I am, and what I am capable of,

If that isn’t good enough for people, then I would prefer not to have to deal with them. There are plenty of races available to run, without people having to race the ones I organise, only for them to speak out and attack me again, for the lack of mud, for too much mud, for too many hills, for not enough hills.

Whether or not I am a charlatan, or an imposter, is for all of you to decide, but let me leave you with one thing to ponder.

All Rural Running events, are planned by me, the course is designed by me, the signs are put out by me, the race day preparations are done by me, the numbers are sent by me, emails are dealt with by me, the Race Director is me, the results are processed by me, the course is dismantled by me! This ‘hobby’ is something I do alongside a full time job that takes me away from home, and means I have to work some evening planning my activity. Saying all that, I am so lucky to have met lots of lovely people who are always happy to help, by giving up their time, to give something back. I am also blessed to have the support of an incredible wife, who selflessly gives up not only her time, but also her dining room table and spare bedrooms for the cause!

I will never be able to organise the ‘perfect’ race, but I will always try, with limited resources, to organise enjoyable, fun, and friendly events, offering value for money.

If I am indeed a charlatan, I think I am a pretty good one!

Finally …. Thank you all for continuing to support what I do, if you stop running, I’ll stop organising 🙂

Southwick 10k Instructions

Race Day Instructions

We will soon be holding our Southwick 10k Road Race, on the 19th May. We would like to thank the Southwick Parish Council, Winchester City Council, and the people of Southwick for their help and support.

Your race is a 10 km (approx) road race, comprising an out and back course on closed roads. Whilst roads are closed to through traffic, you should expect a small amount of traffic moving around the course. Please keep left on all parts of the course and use pavements when you can, for your own safety. Only cross any unclosed roads when it is safe to do so.

The start is in West Street, Southwick.

There is no need to register once you have your number and chip. However, any queries on the day, should be directed to the crew in the Race HQ, which is situated in the car park in Priory Road, just outside the main entrance to MOD Southwick Park.

Please note that the race starts at 9.30am, with a short safety brief, at the start line, at 9.20am.

Prizes will be awarded to the 1st placed male and 1st placed female. All finishers will receive a medal, which will be given to them at the finish line.

Parking is extremely limited in the village of Southwick. Once again we will be using the car park outside MOD Southwick Park. There is a parking charge of £4 per car. Please ensure you have the correct money. We would encourage you to car share.

Some race numbers have been posted out. If you have not received yours, it will be issued to you on the morning of the trace from the car park.

There is a water station on the course at approximately 3km, 7km and at the finish. Please dispose of your cup/bottle thoughtfully


The Golden Lion Public House, High Street, Southwick will be open for refreshments at the end of the race.


The results will be published in the hours following the end of the race on and on the Rural Running Events Facebook Group.

The course will be marshalled where deemed necessary in the interest of safety, but all turns and changes in direction will be clearly marked. Proceed with caution at all junctions and crossings. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety on course.

If you know anybody who is not taking part but would like to be involved, we still need marshals for the event. Please pass on my email address to them.

By taking part in the Southwick 10k you declare you are fully aware of the actual and potential risks in participation in this event. You declare that you will not compete in the race unless you are medically fit on the day of the race and that, in any case, you will compete at your own risk.
To the extent permitted by law, you accept that the organisers and sponsors of the race, or any of their agents, will not be liable for any loss, damage, action, claim, costs or expenses, which may arise in consequence of your participation of the event.
Nothing in these terms of use shall exclude or limit the liability of the organisers or their agents for death or personal injury due to its negligence or for its fraud
you grant your permission to Rural Running and its sponsors, assigns and licenses to use or authorise others to use photographs, motion pictures, recordings, data or any other record of your participation in this event for any legitimate purpose without remuneration
By starting the race you acknowledge that you have read and understand the above.

Kind regards
Jeffrey Clark
Race Organiser
Southwick 10k

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