Running Through the Year – January

The 1st of January brought a New Year, a New Decade and doubtless many running resolutions! The Purbeck Runners got the year off to a flying start competing in the Broadstone Quarter, the first round of the Dorset Road Race League and doing a parkrun double. The cool, still weather was perfect for running and the 15 Purbeck Runners at Broadstone flew round the course showing no sign of the previous night’s New Year’s celebrations. There were some great performances with Rob Murray the first club member home, Liz Goldsack the first woman, also taking an excellent age category win and Julia Noone starting the year with a superb PB. Meanwhile, 6 club members took the opportunity to do a parkrun double, the 1st January being the only day when this is possible. They started at Upton Country Park at 8:30 and then shot across to Bournemouth for 10:00 to complete their unique challenge. Congratulations to Clare Martin, Lizzy Yates, Mike Barron, Peter Smith, Ross Wayne and Steven Bowles on their double!

The Dorset Road Race season gets underway at Broadstone with Purbeck Runners well in the mix
The Dorset Road Race season gets underway at Broadstone with Purbeck Runners well in the mix

The Club Championship got underway as usual with the Swanage 10k on 12th January. This annual event, around the streets and lanes of the town, is organised by the Swanage Sea Rowing Club and this year saw a change in the route to a shorter course with two laps and the option to do a one lap 5k race. As the local race it is very popular with the club and an impressive 45 members lined up for the 10k, with three more taking on the 5k. There were some stunning performances throughout the field signalling what should be another hard-fought championship. Rob Murray kept up his early season form by coming home in 6th place overall and as first man from the club, with Stephen Bridger, the 2019 men’s club champion hot on his heals in 7th and taking an age category win. In a very exciting finish, last year’s women’s champion, Lorna Haines made the perfect start to this season by finishing as first woman from the club just 10 seconds ahead of a flying Tracy Byrom. Lorna also took an age category win. In the 60+ age category the Purbeck Runners got a sensational clean sweep with husband and wife duo Hamish and Barbara Murray winning the first prizes and Nigel Haywood and Greg Bemment 2nd and 3rd in the men’s and Joy Norman and Lizzy Yates 2nd and 3rd in the women’s category. While all this was going on, in the 5k race the ever fast Ross Wayne stormed round to a brilliant victory!

Purbeck Runners at the Swanage 10k
Purbeck Runners at the Swanage 10k
Hamish and Barbara Murray
Hamish and Barbara Murray

Away from the racing, a very wet and windy January saw some interesting club runs on Saturdays and Sundays along the Purbeck downs and Jurassic Coast with wet feet very much the order of the day. The dark Wednesday evenings presented an additional challenge and the night time off road headtorch runs have become quite a feature of winter training providing some memorable outings with high winds, rain, mist and copious mud!

Wednesday night run on the Downs
Wednesday night run along the Downs

All of this proved to be excellent practice for those competing in the next race, The Dirty Devil Stampede. This annual event is uniquely held on the Army’s tank training ranges at Bovington and takes the runners over a very challenging 10k of grit, mud and water, with features such as “the knife edge” and the “sheep dip.” There’s nothing like going up to your waste in freezing water to set you up for a race, so with this in mind a sunny, but cold day saw 14 Purbeck Runners brave the ranges, with 4 going around twice for the Dirty Devil Double! Congratulations to you all for conquering the Dirty Devil and especially to those doing the double – Tish Alberry, Tracey Colquhoun, Clare McDermott and Liz Goldsack who brilliantly won the prize for first woman.

Braving the icy waters of the Dirty Devil Stampede!
Braving the icy waters of the Dirty Devil Stampede!
Liz Goldsack won the women's first prize
Liz Goldsack won the women's first prize

The Trust 10 at Studland rounded of the month. These once monthly 10k runs held at National Trust venues around the country are an opportunity for a social run, training session or unofficial race depending on your preference. There was a big turnout from the club for what was billed as the “first Studland Trust 10 of the decade” and the weather held for a glorious run along the beach, over Ballard Down and past Old Harry. How lucky are we in the Purbeck Runners!

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