The Isle of Wight is a hot-spot for running events, so I’ve prepared a breakdown of what’s on throughout the year.
JANUARY (21 January, 18 and 25 February 2018) Towards the end of the month and crossing into March, the Harriers also put on 3 cross country races; the Ryde Harriers Cross Country Championship (guests welcomed), the Isle of Wight Cross Country Championship and the Arthur Biggs Handicap. Expect lots of mud!
FEBRUARY (4 February 2018) Still not burnt off the Christmas excess? Then remove it all at once at the Ryde Harriers Ryde 10 – a hilly road race. As part of the Hampshire Road Race League, it’s a popular race for Islanders and mainlanders alike, often with in excess of 400 runners taking part.
MARCH The Sport Relief Seaclose Mile is held biannually, with the next in 2018 (2018 date TBC). Choose to run 1 mile, 3 or even 6, raising money for charity. Fancy dress is encouraged in this run for all the family.
The Rog Run (25 March 2018)is a nominated run around Ventnor, organised by the Isle of Wight Road Runners. It’s in memory of Isle of Wight Road Runner, Roger Walker-Reed; this was one of his favourite running routes. The idea is to estimate how long the run will take you, then to run it without watch/GPS etc, and see how close to your estimate you can get!
EASTER On Easter Saturday (31 March 2018) the Ryde Harriers hold the Newport to Ryde Race. A multi-terrain challenge involving scrabbling over stiles and tackling mud. If that doesn’t finish you off, you can do the double and run their 3 Hills Race on Easter Monday (2 April 2018) – a great challenge that’ll have you wondering why they only decided it had 3 hills!
Setting off at sunset and running into the night, the Night Runner Trail Challenge (2018 date TBC) is a non-timed, checkpoint adventure. With a range of distances from 5km to 20km the event has something for all abilities.
If you fancy a bit of off-road biking too, you might fancy the Isle of Wight Off Road Duathlon (2018 date TBC). Run, bike then run again around the IOW Mountain Bike Centre at Cheverton Farm.
In 2016 Newchurch Primary School held the Newchurch Nine (29 April 2018). A 9K run along country paths and over heathland and through woods, it’s a beautiful route that was a hit last year, and will have a shorter junior run available too.
MAY Principally a walking event, Walk the Wight (2018 date TBC) also welcomes runners up to the demands of a 26 mile run from East to West across the Isle of Wight. Expect huge crowds of participants, lots of support and some of the best views of the Island you’re ever likely to see.
MAY/JUNE (Dependent on tides) The Needles Cross Country Full Marathon and Needles Cross Country Half Marathon (3 June 2018) are races like no other. They are mostly off-road, taking in fields, downs, nature reserves, sea walls and even a section of sandy beach. They are hilly but so rewarding, with awesome views across the Solent and the Needles themselves. It’s the crowning event in an Isle of Wight Festival of Running that weekend, which will also include a 5K and 10K fun run on the Saturday, and a Junior Fun Run on Sunday.
JUNE Full Steam Ahead (16 June 2018) is a family fun run that takes place in and around Havenstreet Steam Railway. Offering both a 5K run and a shorter junior option, this run has you running through both picturesque woodland, across the lines (don’t worry, no trains running on the day!) and along the railway platform at Havenstreet, complete with steam trains and a conductor to let you pull out of the station at the start.
The Brading 1OK (24 June 2018) is an evergreen Isle of Wight road race, starting and finishing from Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde.
JULY XNRG Round the Island Race (7 July 2018)for those who like to go long, long, long! Spread over 2 days, this race covers 70 miles, all around the coast of the Isle of Wight.
The St George’s 10 Mile, (22 July 2018) hosted by the Isle of Wight Road Runners, is a newcomer to the race calendar. A road race with plenty of hills to entertain, it’s tough yet was an instant hit first time round in 2015.
To celebrate summer, the Shanklin Dash and Splash (2018 date TBC) gets you down onto the sandy beach and even into the water. This fun race does what it says on the tin, and has been a roaring success in its first two years since it started in 2015.
AUGUST It’s usually a beautiful summer’s day for the Isle of Wight Half Marathon (19 August 2018) so make sure to wear plenty of sun tan lotion! Finishing in Appley Park, Ryde, makes it a great race for the family to come along and watch. There’s also a 2K and 5K Fun Run option on behalf of the Isle of Wight Youth Trust.
Yarmouth Carnival and Regatta 4 mile Fun Run (2018 date TBC) is a light-hearted multi-terrain run that takes in both sides of the River Yar.This is a nice little fun run and it only costs a quid to enter just buy a carnival programme (min £1) the entry form is in it.
Registration is on the Green from 13:45 -14:30hrs & the start time is 14:45hrs, distance is approx 4 miles – little maps are available if you neeed them!
SEPTEMBER For those of you who can swim and cycle too, why not take on the West Wight Triathlon? (16 September 2018) A great event that’s welcoming to people of all abilities (they put up with my rubbish swimming last time!), it’s a dip in the indoor pool at West Wight Sports and Community Centre, then a cycle ride along the awe-inspiring Military Road, before a quick, flat run alongside the River Yar.
Fancy three races in two days? The Fell Races Series is right up your streeet (or up and down your hill, more to the point). Organised by the Ventnor Fell Run Championship Association and Ryde Harriers, and consisting of the St Boniface Fell Race (15 September 2018), the Ventnor Horseshoe Fell Race and the Wroxall Round Fell Race, (16 September 2018) victory falls to those who climb fastest and descend fearlessly!
The Great North South Run (22 September 2018) Organised by the Isle of Wight Hash House Harriers, come and enjoy the rolling countryside in the company of runners from all different branches of the sport in this non-competitive 19.6 mile trip from Egypt Point to St Catherines Lighthouse (“It’s Not A Race” stress the organisers!). What a fantastic way to spend Isle of Wight Day 2018! There are shorter stages for first timers.
The Queensgate Fun Run (29 September 2018) is a 10 mile multi-terrain run that goes through the grounds of Osborne House and the Barton Estate, so you can run where Queen Victoria once walked! There’s also a 5K option available. Both events start at 10:30am.
OCTOBER The Isle of Wight Marathon (14 October 2018) is one of the UK’s oldest marathons, which celebrated its 60th year in 2016. It starts and finishes in Cowes, and undulates its way through Gurnard, Shalfleet, Yarmouth and Wellow.
The Nettlestone RAT Run (2018 date TBC) is a 5 mile fun run, with kids races on the day too.
The Ghost Run (2018 date TBC) is a spooky night time 5K run along the paths of Parkhurst Forest. Fancy dress is encouraged, and expect to be frightened!
DECEMBER The Earl Mountbatten Hospice Santa Dash (2018 date TBC) is a 5K run for all the family. Your entry fee will get you a santa costume as a sea of red and white makes its way from LA Bowls in Ryde, along the flat of the sea front to Appley Park and back.
2015 saw the inaugural running of the Chilly Hilly (9 December 2018) .It’s a race with a friendly feel to it, which is just as well as the hills are brutal! Stunning views over Tennyson Down and Headon Warren, mulled wine and minced pies and the world’s best marshals are some of the highlights of this festive jaunt. There’s also a Junior Fun Run year to cater for families full of runners! It was possibly the windiest race in the UK last year yet everyone rose to the challenge and thoroughly loved the experience.
First ran in 2016, the Bembridge Soup Run proved to be a popular run, taking competitors over the hilly Culver Down, guaranteeing them wonderful views as compensation for their hard work, as was the welcoming mug of soup afterwards. As a bonus, they also got to keep the mugs as run souvenirs (2018 date TBC).
The Abominable Snowman (2018 date TBC) is the perfect way to burn off the Christmas excesses. Using the mountain bike centre at Cheverton Farm, this tough race will see you climbing hay bales, wading through ponds and fords, descending steep hills and tackling the unbelievably sheer “Eliminator” just before the end. Well over 400 entrants put themselves through hell last year – are you tough enough this year? And if 10K of hard work isn’t enough for you, there’s even a 10 mile option!