Sunday, October 18, 2009


In almost 'perfect' conditions for marathon running, sunny but not too hot, both my son, Russell and I, smashed our PBs for the 26 and a bit mile race. Russell, who is to blame for getting me into this running lark, was ninth overall (out of almost 2,200 other finishers) in the tremendous time of 2:41:41. He was hoping to get below 2:45:00 which would qualify him to start with the elite runners in next year's London Marathon, and didn't he do well, beating his target by over three minutes and knocking over eight minutes off his previous best.
I wasn't that far behind him, though, completing the very hilly course in 3:15:21. I hadn't intended to run that fast, my aim was to get somewhere near my Barcelona time of 3:29:26, and I'd set my pace on my Garmin sports watch thingy to five minute kilometres but it kept on losing contact with the satellite, so I had no idea how fast I was running. But all the hard training and long runs was worth it in the end, as I won the Over 60s category (out of 50 other old 'uns) and came 140th overall. Russell had said that if I ran well I could possibly get into the top three, but I never thought that I would actually win it. My prize was an engraved quaich plus a £100 gift voucher from a sports clothing store.
As all my running friends know I'm not that observant when I'm running, I managed to totally miss the Sagrada Familia when I ran in Barcelona but I did manage to spot Loch Ness during the race (mind you, you do run alongside it for about 23 miles).
I read in their publicity blurb that the Loch Ness race is the third biggest in the UK (after the London and Edinburgh marathons) but it must surely be one of the most picturesque events in the whole marathon calendar. All the competitors are taken by bus/coach (half a mile of coaches, in fact) out to Whitebridge, then run back down alongside the loch's south eastern shore, heading north east towards Dores on the northern tip of the loch. From Dores, the race heads directly into the centre of Inverness, finishing at the Inverness Queens Park Stadium.
We met up with our old friends Ros and Neil after the race and had a well-earned drink in a local Inverness hostelry in the evening. Ros and Neil had spotted me with about two miles to go and gave me a great cheer, which was really encouraging, as I was beginning to flag a bit by then. The final 'lap' of the town was pretty tough going, my legs ached, I felt faint, my chest hurt, in fact everything was feeling a bit 'uncomfortable'... I'm just glad that the race is only 26.2 miles and not 26.3 miles, as I don't think I would have made it.
Brian, the commentator (a good friend of Russell's), gave me a big build-up as I came into the final straight, but I wasn't that aware of what was going on around me, I have however since seen it on the race video... I look more knackered than I felt. After the race I treated myself to a massage to ease the cramp I was getting in my calves. My masseuse, by the way, was a very attractive young lady, but I couldn't have cared less, it could have been Vlad the Impaler for all I cared.
My other son, Harvey, was too late to enter the marathon but took part in the River Ness 10K, finishing in a very creditable time of 48:48. The former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, who also ran in the 10K event (54:55), was on hand to present the prizes to the overall winners of the main race, Simon Tonui (2:20:13) and Joice Kirui (2:48:23), who are both members of Birchfield Harriers.
This was the second time that I have run in the Loch Ness marathon, the first was in 2007, and that was the first time that all three of us had run in a race together. I suppose I must 'thank' Costa Blanca News for making me redundant, as it is a lot easier training in the morning rather that running in the heat after a day's work. I did promise that I would never enter another race that involved training during the scorching heat of the Spanish summer (it's no fun getting up at 06:00 to get the long miles in before you fry), but never say never... who knows... it's a lovely race.
PS – a special thanks to Eileen for putting up with me and washing my sweaty running gear and to my running partner Paul (Elliott) who got up at the crack of dawn to accompany me for the first half of my long runs.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Beach Party

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Summer Beach Party

On the evening of Saturday 27th June, we met on the beach in Moraira and spent a few hours relaxing and enjoying ourselves. Most brought a picnic, some barbequed a few tasty morsels and, of course, there was just a little vino in evidence! It was a great end to a summer season of local races, in which The Striders did very well, as you will have read in the previous items. Well done to all of you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Euro Weekly News article


The ninth and final race in the 13th Circuit a Peu Marina Alta 2009 series, the XII Cursa Popular Benissa took place last Saturday (June 20) and two members of the Costa Blanca Striders went home with awards. Amanda Fletcher was placed second in the ladies Vets B category in a time of 42:45 and, in the men’s Vets C category, Jeff Whittington came home third in 40:01. Two more Striders just missed out on the medals, Louise Ambler (45:53) and Bianca van Londen (46:50) were in fourth and fifth positions respectively. In the Vets B class, Tony Sharpe (42:39) and Steve Waller (49:19) also completed the draining, hilly 9.1 kilometre course.

The icing on the cake came when the prizes for the overall winners in the series were announced and the Striders took home another three cups; Amanda was first and Louise was third in the ladies’ Vets B group and Jeff Whittington was runner-up in the Vets C class. In the team event, despite only being a relatively small club, the Striders were placed 32nd out of the 95 clubs who had taken part in the races. In the 2009 series, the Moraira-based running club, which was started about five years ago by Phil and Laura Welch, amassed an amazing 23 trophies, which is pretty remarkable by anybody’s standards. If are interested in joining the C B Striders, whatever your ability or fitness, then visit their blog spot at for all the details.

There was a new name on the winner’s trophy in the men’s race this week; Vicente José Mas Leyda of C A Cametes Spat winning in a time of 31:26, second and third were Juan José Martinez Diaz (C A San Vicente) and Alejandro García Agulló (C A Decatlon Kondy), who both clocked 31:52. However, in the ladies section, the first home was a very familiar name; C A Dianium’s Maxine McKinnon, who took 35:34 to complete the course. Patricia Lopez Vicedo of C A Xeresa was second in 37:36, and third to cross the line was Olivia Peiró Sabater (38:37) of C A Safor.

C A Cametes Spat won the series team prize, followed by C A Safor in second and C A Llebeig Xàbia. Well done to all the teams, competitors, around 1,200 in total, and all their supporters and friends, and especially all the organisers of the 13th Circuit a Peu Marina Alta 2009 series, without whom there would be no event, here’s to the 14th Circuit a Peu Marina Alta 2010 series.

You can view all the results and details of all nine races at the Som Esport website ( and there are thousands of excellent pictures of all the races at

Picture, by Eileen Whittington

Jeff, Amanda and Louise

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Euro Weekly News article


On one of the hottest days of the year so far, 900 resilient runners managed to conquer the taxing 9.3 kilometre course in the penultimate race of 13th Circuit a Peu Marina Alta 2009 series, the XII Cursa Popular Jesús Pobre last Saturday (13).

The men’s race was won by Emilio Vizcaya Gregorio of C A Dianium in an exceptional time of 31:59; second home was C T Prodesport’s Juan Ramon Pous Perez (32:36), who was just in front of Vicente José Mas Leyda (32:54). Sandra Diaz Hernandez C A Runnersworld Alzira was victorious in the ladies event, finishing in 38:35; Olivia Peiró Sabater, of C A Safor took the runner-up spot in 40:28 and Ana Alberola Puigcerver (40:46) was third.

In last week’s contest in Ondara, Sasha Lines, who is more at home on the sea, completed her first ever 10K road race in an excellent time of 1:04:28, and that was after just five weeks training at Paul and Amanda Fletcher’s Run in the Sun. During the week, Sasha, who now appears to have succumbed to the ‘running bug’, was casually talking to local ultra-runner Rafa and he mentioned that he was taking part in a 30 hour mountain run in August.

An intrigued Sasha asked what his full name was so she could look out for him. “Rafael Abbot”, he told her. “That surname sounds awfully English”, Sasha responded. “Well, that’s because I was born in England - Guildford hospital.” Sasha, who hails from that part of the UK, thought that Rafa was pulling her leg, so, knowing that there were three maternity hospitals in the area, called his bluff and named one, but Rafa said he didn’t think that was it. She then named a second hospital that was run by nuns and this time Rafa said that he thought that was the one. A very surprised Sasha then announced that that was where she had been born… small world, isn’t it?

Sasha, who took 1:03:00 to run the Jesus Pobre course, also managed to get her hands on a trophy from the race, albeit on somebody else’s behalf. She accepted the Vets B third place award for Costa Blanca Strider Bianca von Londen (48:26). Two other Striders also won prizes. In the women’s Vets B category Amanda Fletcher (44:31) took her place on her eighth consecutive winners’ podium. Amanda has now accumulated five first places, two seconds and a third. Jeff Whittington (41:19), who is not far behind Amanda in the ‘trophy stakes’, once more managed the runner-up spot in the Vets C class. The other members of the C B Striders who toughed out the demanding conditions were: Paul Fletcher (36:47), Tony Sharpe (42:49), Paul Elliott (47:37), Steve Waller (53:22), Ron Hoare (53:49) and Carol Hoare (58:06).

The final race in the 2009 series takes place this Saturday (20) at Benissa. As with all the previous weeks, the youngsters begin their races at 17.00 and the grown-ups two hours later, at 19.00.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Euro Weekly News article


The seventh race in the 13th Circuit a Peu Marina Alta series, the 11th Cursa Popular Ondara, took place last Saturday (6) and one of the runners, Sasha Lines, reckoned that it was ‘harder than sailing across the Atlantic’. Sasha, from near Guildford, is currently on a ‘running holiday’ at Paul and Amanda Fletcher’s Run in the Sun. Sasha, a keen sailor, who was part of the America’s Cup organisation when it was held in Valencia, had never taken part in a road race before and her one fear was coming last, as she had only had just over four weeks training with Paul. Well, she need not have worried, as she finished almost six and a half minutes in front of the back markers in a time of 1:04:25. It was obviously plain sailing for Sasha, who, four weeks ago could only manage to run for two minutes at a time and then she would have to walk for a minute, what an achievement, watch out Paula Radcliffe.

After eight races in the 2008 series and six in this year’s event Costa Blanca Strider Jeff Whittington finally managed to beat his great rival Norbert de Wulf in a 10K event. Paul, who had managed the runner-up spot in the previous two Vets B class, had had a rigorous track training session the previous evening, so decided to ‘take it easy’ and ran alongside Jeff, encouraging and cajoling him all the way. A very pleased Jeff said after the race that Paul, a UK Athletics qualified coach, had ‘made all the difference’. Jeff ran the arduous 9.8 kilometres in a time of 40:11, beating his Belgian Vets C opponent by just over 40 seconds. The only other C B Strider to be placed was Paul’s other half, Amanda, who came home first in the Vets B category in 44:42. Only two trophies this week for the Striders but two winners, though.

The other members of the club who finished the demanding run in baking hot conditions, were Paul Fletcher (40:05), Brian Boobier (48:25), Steve Waller (49:35), Jeff’s son Harvey (51:07), Bianca von Londen (52:50) and Louise Amber, who, supportively, ran around with Sasha (1:04:28).

It was roles reversed this week in the men’s race, with Said Day Day (31:43) of C A Lamuratti beating last week’s winner Mounir Horma (32:01) of C A Franc Beneyto into second place, with Juan Ramon Pous Perez (32:25) of C T Prodesport in third. The women’s race was a pretty close affair with Olivia Peiró Sabate (40:24) of C A Safor coming out on top, followed by Cristina Oselló Prats (40:58) of C A La Ribera second and third was Ana Alberola Puigcerver (41:24). For all the results and other information visit the Som Esport website at

The penultimate race in the series is this Saturday (13) at Jesus Pobre. As always, the youngsters begin at 17.00 and the adults at 19.00.

Costa Blanca News article

In was a distinctly family affair at the XIII Volta Popular a Gata on Saturday, when three pairs of husbands and wives representing the Costa Blanca Striders took part in the sixth race in the 13th Circuit a Peu Marina Alta series. Paul and Amanda Fletcher, who are the owners of the Run in the Sun running holidays (, were second and first respectively in their categories. Amanda was back to winning ways, taking the top spot in the Vets B class in a time of 44:49, and Paul equalled last week’s runner-up spot in 37:57.
Running in their first race of the series, Matt and Helen Round achieved very creditable times, considering the extremely hot conditions. Matt took 45:45 to complete the 10km course around the narrow streets of Gata de Gorgos and Helen was seventh in the Seniors class in 47:46. After her successes at Teulada and Xàbia, Carol Hoare (57:50) could only manage fourth position in the Vets C group, and husband Ron finished in a time of 53:33.
Two other C B Striders also made it to the winners’ rostrum, Bianca van Londen (48:56) and Jeff Whittington (42:00), were both third in their respective categories. The remaining stalwart Striders who finished alongside over 920 others were Brian Boobier (47:46) and Louise Ambler (51:22).
There was an exciting sprint finish in the men’s race, with Mounir Horma (32:21) running for C A Franc Beneyto, just pipping Said Day Day of C A Lamuratti by a single second; third place went to C T Prodesport’s Juan Ramon Pous Perez (33:12). In the women’s race Sandra Diaz Hernandez of C A Runnersworld (38:50) was the victor, closely followed by Patricia Lopez Vicedo of C A Xeresa (39:22) with Olivia Peiró Sabate (42:11) of C A Safor in third. For all the results and other information visit the Som Esport website at
There are just three races to go in the nine-race series; next Saturday (June 6) it’s off to Ondara, followed a week later (June 13) at Jesus Pobre, finally winding up in Benissa on June 20. The junior races all commence at 17.00, and the seniors set off at 19.00.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I would like to thank you all for all the support you have given me for the Ironman.
The Ironman Lanzarote is known as the toughest Ironman in the world,mainly because of the mountainous bike leg which is so windy at times that it nearly blows you off your bike!
I was very nervous before the race and was "bricking it" as i entered the water about 1395th of the 1400 compeditors. As you might know swimming is not my best discipline but i came out of the water in a credible time of 1hr 20mins for the 3.8 kms.
On the bike i had 2 punchures,but had plenty of time in hand to start the marathon knowing i was going to finish within the cut off time of 17hrs. The run went well for 20kms,but on the 3rd leg i ran out of steam and dropped back on my estimated time.But i picked up on the last leg and finished in 4hrs 30mins. Total time 13hrs 26mins.
I was totally Knackered and humbled by the support of my family and friends who had spent the day following my progress. It was a fantastic experience and a great event which takes over the whole island.Would i do it again,of course i would!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CBN article


Local running club Costa Blanca Striders added another four prizes to their already overflowing trophy cabinet at the XX Volta A Peu A Xàbia on Saturday. Paul Fletcher, running is his first event of the 2009 series, was runner-up in the Men’s Vets B category in 38:34, not to be outdone, his wife Amanda also took second spot in the Ladies’ Vets B class in 45:53. Carol Hoare improved last week’s third spot in Teulada, by taking second place in the Vets C group in 57:22 and in the Men’s Vets C category, Jeff Whittington finally managed a win coming home in 42:24. In the five races thus far, the Striders have now taken home a dozen trophies, which is pretty impressive, is it not?

Another expat, David Edwards, also picked up an award by finishing third in the Men’s Vets C class in a time of 46:28. The other Striders who both manfully and womanfully completed the comparatively flat but taxing 10K race, run in extremely hot and sticky conditions, were Brian Boobier (47:06), Paul Elliott (48:03), Louise Ambler (49:53), Phil Welch (50:25) and Ron Hoare (55:45).

There was a new name on the winner’s list this week; C A Franc Beneyto’s Mounir Hourma was first past the post in the men’s race, winning in a splendid time 32:36. He was closely followed by Juan Ramon Pous Perez of C T Prodesport (33:30) in second and third was Juan José Martinez Diaz (33:39).

It was three wins in a row for Maxine McKinnon  of C A Dianium, who finished 34th overall in a time of 37:43. Patricia Lopez Vicedo of C A Xeresa, who has achieved a top three place in of each of the five races, was second in 39:30 and third home for the ladies was Sandra Diaz Hernandez of C A Runnersworld (39:41). For more information, and a complete list of all the finishers, visit the Som Esport website at

Whilst the 1,000 runners were ‘pootling’ around Xàbia, all in under 75 minutes, a couple of thousand miles away in the Canary Islands, another C B Strider was on the last leg, the marathon, of the 2009 Lanzarote Ironman triathlon. Former fire-fighter Jim Stanners swam, cycled and ran the demanding 140.6 mile (226 km) course in an incredible time of 13 hours 26 minutes and 21 seconds. Fifty-three-year-old Jim, taking part in an Ironman competition for the first time, completed the 2.4 mile (3.8 km) sea swim in one hour 20 minutes, then, despite suffering two punctures he spent the next seven and a quarter hours in the saddle for the 112 mile (180 km) bike segment, finishing up with the 26.6 mile (42.2k km) marathon in four and a half hours. What an achievement, congratulations Jim on a superhuman performance, take it easy for a few days, you deserve it.

The next race in the series takes place in the Costa Blanca’s ‘wickerwork’ capital, Gata de Gorgos. The youngsters start at 17.00, and the old stagers at 19.00.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Costa Blanca News article


Carol Hoare, one of the Costa Blanca Striders’ newest recruits, went home pretty pleased after the latest race in the Circuit a Peu Marina Alta series at Teulada on Saturday, by managing third place in her category. Vets C Carol crossed the finish line alongside husband Ron in 1:06:59.

Around 910 other competitors took on the tough, hilly 11 kilometre race around the town and the previous week’s winner, C A Dianium’s Emilio Vizcaya Gregorio (37:13) once again came out on top in the men’s race. He was followed home by Juan Ramon Pous Perez of C T Prodesport Gandia (38:48) in second and Juan Antonio Mas Leyda of C A Cametes (39:24), who took third spot. Despite suffering from the after-effects of a cold Maxine McKinnon, also running in a C A Dianium vest, won the ladies’ race in 43:48, Sandra Diaz Hernandez of C A Runnersworld Alzira (45:31) was runner-up and Patricia Lopez Vicedo of C A Xeresa (46:07) third.

Carol was joined on the winners’ podium by two other C B Striders, Amanda Fletcher (52:17) won her fourth consecutive trophy when she came second in the ladies’ Vets B class and Jeff Whittington (47:59), who was literally pipped at the post by just two seconds by Norberto de Wulf of C A Pindaro (47:57) in the Men’s Vets C category. Not to be outdone by his mum, Amanda’s young son Morgan also went home with a locals’ trophy from the junior races.

The other hardy C B Striders who completed the arduous, undulating course in very warm conditions were: Brian Boobier (54:38), Paul Elliott (55:32), Louise Ambler (57:17), Phil Welch (58:16), Steve Waller (1:01:25) and Bianca van Londen (1:01:31).

It’s off to the seaside for the next race on Saturday (23), when Xàbia (Javea) plays host to the next event in the Circuit a Peu Marina Alta. The youngsters’ races start at 17:00 followed at 19:00 by the adults. For more information visit the Som Esport website at

All the members of the Costa Blanca Striders would like to send their very best wishes to fellow Strider Jim Stanners, who is taking part in the Lanzarote Iron Man Triathlon competition this weekend. For the initiated, an Iron Man Triathlon means that former fire-fighter Jim will have to swim 3.86 kilometres (2.4 miles), cycle 180.25 km (112 miles) and then run a marathon (42.195 km, 26 miles 385 yards), in that order and without a break, the very best of luck Jim.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Despite the grey skies and an afternoon of drizzling rain, the third race in the Circuit a Peu Marina Alta series, the Volta A Peu El Verger (Vergel) 10 kilometre run went ahead last Saturday and, once again, over 1,000 hardy souls took part. Being relatively cool, the conditions were near perfect for the event, and the Costa Blanca’s top female athlete, Maxine McKinnon of C A Dianium, took full advantage and romped home in first place in the ladies’ race, in a tremendous time of 37.35. It was Maxine’s first appearance in the nine-race series and she left the rest of the ladies in her wake, finishing almost two minutes in front of Patricia Lopez Vicedo of C A Xeresa (39:20) in second and over four minutes ahead of third placed Olivia Peiró Sabater of C A Safor (41:40).

Emilio Vizcaya Gregorio (30:47), also of C A Dianium, took the honours in the men’s race. Like Maxine, finishing around two minutes faster than his nearest rivals, Mounir Hourma, running for C A Franc Beneyto (32:54) and Juan Ramon Pous Perez of C T Prodesport (33:00).

Unfortunately Amanda Fletcher of Costa Blanca Striders couldn’t quite make it three in a row, after her successes in Pedreguer and Pego, coming third in the Women’s Vet B class in 45:37. Club mate Jeff Whittington (41:04), managed second place in the Men’s Vets C class. The other C B Striders who finished the race were Paul Elliott (46:11), Brian Boobier (46:37), Bianca van Londen (47:55). Louise Ambler (49:08), Phil Welch (49:40) and Steve Waller (51:20). If you would like to join the Moraira-based C B Striders, then visit their blog spot at for all the details.

The fourth race in the series takes place in Teulada next Saturday (May 16), starting at 19.00, why not come along and join in the fun. For more information visit the Som Esport website at

Monday, May 4, 2009


Another successful race meeting for the Striders. Well done to all of you.
No pics this week I'm afraid but check below for results.

In Vet B - Amanda, 1st (hoorah) with a time of 46.55; Louise 4th in 48.59; Bianca 5th in 50.16.
In Vet C, Carol came 7th in 58.13.

Now the lads. In Vet B - Steve 43rd with 51.02 and Phil 57th in 52.59. Ron came 16th in Vet C in 55.12.

We're off to El Verger next Saturday, a good flat race. Hopefully it won't be too hot.
Watch this space!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Euro Weekly News article about Pedreguer race


The first race in the 13th Marina Alta Circuit a Peu series took place in Pedreguer on Saturday, April 25, with over 1,000 athletes of all ages and abilities competing. Following on from their successes of 2008, eight members of local running club Costa Blanca Striders completed the demanding 10 kilometre course around the small market town, and two Striders managed to get their hands on trophies. In the Women’s Vets B class Amanda Fletcher was first home in a time of 46:56 and Jeff Whittington finished third in the Men’s Vets C class, completing the course in 42:06. In the Women’s Vets C category, Carol Hoare just missed out on an honour, finishing in fourth place in one hour exactly; husband, Ron just pipped her in 56:26. The other members of the club who successfully completed the demanding course were: Paul Elliott (49:12), Louise Ambler (49:59), Brian Boobier (50:24) and Steve Waller (53:34).

The overall winner of the men’s race was Mohamed Said Day Day of CA Lamuratti Denia in a splendid time of 33:29, runner-up was Ferran Xavier Estruch Camarena in 34:15 and in third spot was Juan Ramon Pous Perez in 34:24.

Carmen Sala Ferrer, running for Club Esportiu Ambra, was first home in the women’s race, in 40:14, second was Patricia Lopez Vicedo (41:12) and Olivia Peiró Sabater (42:28) took third place. Well done to all the finishers.

The next race in the series is on Saturday (May 2) in Pego. For more information visit the Som Esport website at

If you are interested in joining the Moraira-based CB Striders, visit their blog spot at for all the details.

Picture: Amanda and Jeff with their trophies

Monday, April 6, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Circuit a Peu Races

You can now register for the Races but unfortunately the price has risen to 18€.
Go to Somesport.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


This is the new blog for runners in and around Moraira. Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

Anyway, see you all on Saturday,