February was dominated by Ciara, Dennis and Jorge, the three storms that hit the Country in quick succession. With the storms coming in from the south west we felt their full force on the Isle of Purbeck, with wind damage, flooding and coastal landslips, but thankfully were spared the worst of the flooding that caused so much distress in other parts. Understandably, races were cancelled and postponed across the Country including several of our local events.
Getting in ahead of the weather, the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon took place on Sunday 2nd with seven Purbeck Runners taking on this undulating course, which is both part of the Dorset Road Race League and the half marathon in the Dorset County Championship. Nigel Haywood stormed round, being the first club member home and taking an impressive M60 age category win. Also flying was Liz Goldsack who was the first woman from the club to finish and there were great personal performances by Purbeck Runners throughout the field.
Storm Ciara claimed the first race with the Lytchett 10 (mile) on 9th cancelled. This DRRL race was to be the second round in the club championship, but has been rearrange for 23rd August.
As we recovered from Ciara, Storm Dennis blew in the following weekend causing the Dorchester 10k road race and the Sika Trail 10k in Wareham Forest to be postponed. However, with a few last-minute route changes the Poole Winter Warmer at Upton Country Park did go ahead. Not at all deterred by the conditions 16 intrepid Purbeck Runners turned up for the 10k and 5k races, including the Saturday Morning Crew who were there in force. The Saturday Morning Crew are a resilient bunch, led by the ever enthusiastic Tara McLintic, who week in week out, come rain and shine will be there at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning outside the Mowlem ready to take the group on another adventure on trail or road. As Tara explained it is all about having fun and running together as a group (“crew rules”). It is sociable running at its best finishing back at Fortes Café for coffee on the “naughty” stools.
The Saturday Morning Crew are featured at the head of this article and below at the Poole Winter Warmer
The Purbeck Runners are all a hardy lot, so despite the worst the weather could do, the Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday club runs carried on regardless, including Ross Wayne’s winter speed training sessions. All the individual training carried on too…. Ah there goes Sarah Colquhoun again, who got this year’s club place for the London Marathon, leaning into the wind as she nears the end of yet another long run! Indeed, there have been several members getting out there in really challenging conditions to notch up the miles for future marathons and other long races.
Off road, February certainly produced some “interesting” conditions. There is an expression in cross country running when the ground is soft that “it takes a stud.” Well, the ground not only took a stud, but the whole shoe and if you were not careful your leg with it! These were definitely the runs where at the end your kit must be left at the back door! It hasn’t been any easier on the roads, as with all the water about you were just as likely to come back with soaking trainers. But we love it! We are runners and there is something elemental and exhilarating about getting out there when it is tough, especially when reflecting on it afterwards with coffee and cake!
It's another weekend and another race is stopped by the weather, this time the Bournemouth 10 (mile) with the route covered in sand where it ran along the seafront – not a problem if it was the Studland Stampede, but not ideal for a classic 10 mile road race!
Meanwhile over in Studland the Trust 10 did go ahead with several Purbeck Runners taking part including Peter Smith who was amazingly running it for the first time, despite having helped set up the event and marshalled it so many times. Peter has made a huge contribution to local running, also being a key member of the club’s Purbeck 10k organising committee and the driving force behind the KG5K, the once monthly 5k run around King George’s Field in Swanage. It was an exciting day for the run and as Pete said the tail wind along Ballard Down made for some fast running, although stopping at Old Harry was problem!
As a challenging February came to a close it had a parting gift… being a leap year, we got an extra day’s running! This coincided with Saturday, so in celebration the local Upton House parkrun reversed the route for the first time after 140 events. The day saw the third and final storm, Jorge, arrive complete with a hail, but it didn’t stop six Purbeck runners enjoy the new route, led round by the flying Ross Wayne!
So that was February. There was not a lot of racing and no change in the Club Championship standings, but it will be a month that is talked about and those hard training sessions will undoubtedly be rewarded in future races.
Thank you to all the club members who have provided reports and photographs that I have used in this article.