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.



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 (