Stour Valley & Sandringham

There was lots of activity this weekend with RntS members taking part in events near and far.  Thanks to Kirsty for the report on Stour Valley Narrative Marathon, Michelle for covering Sandringham 5K and Vikki for reporting on the Sandringham Half Marathon.  Well done to everyone involved!

Stour Valley Narrative Marathon

On Saturday 17th June, Lucy and I set off at 6am to go to Nayland for the Stour Valley narrative marathon. We arrived in good time to register and got ourselves ready for the 9am start.

The course is a figure of eight so they also had two half marathon races; one starting at 9:15am in the same direction we had started from and then the second one starting at 11am to encompass the other loop which was our second half. 

The first half was extremely hilly and it felt like it was mostly uphill. There was a nice mix of woods/shady areas, rivers, field and road throughout the race which made the navigation a bit easier rather than endless fields! We also well-timed coming out of a wooded area to see some of the flyover for King Charles which was an added bonus to the beautiful scenery.

We had a slight setback within the first two miles where Lucy encountered a tree but after checking she was OK (and thanks to a couple of other runners who also stopped) she said she felt OK to carry on which we did. She’s a strong woman 💪

Towards the end, the heat was beginning to make me feel a bit sick but we made it over the finish line well within the eight hour cut-off time. There was a four hour cut-off time to do the first loop which we done really well so had extra time. 

Would highly recommend this race and would love to do it again.


Official Results

Kirsty & Lucy –  6:56:28.6


Sandringham 5K

It was lovely and cool when I arrived at Run Sandringham for the 5k. Not too many people do the 5k race, around 200 ish so it’s a great race if you want something low key.

Just me racing the 5k so it was lovely to see Marie had arrived very early for her race to support me.

The race starts on grass and then heads towards the house on farm tracks, there are a few undulations on the course and the first one comes quite soon after the start to stop you going off to quick! The course takes you on a lap around the house and along past the church before heading into the woods where there’s a finally some shade. After a lovely long downhill you head back out of the woods across the grass and turn to sprint through the finish.

All the half marathon runners are there now and there’s a real party atmosphere.  I met up with all the other RntS racing the half and stayed on to offer them support and man the supersoaker.


Official Results

Michelle – 30:12

Sandringham Half Marathon

It had been over 4 years since I completed the half marathon distance and although I had been considering working up to it again I hadn’t made any solid plans.  That is, until one day in April, when someone sent a message to see  if I wanted to take up their place at Sandringham Half, and I accidentally found myself saying yes!

Now I must confess here, I often feel a bit of a fraud with my RntS kit on because I don’t actually like running-next-the-sea, nor on trails very much.  This is because I’m lazy and I don’t like to lift my feet up!  I’m much more comfortable getting back to my city-girl routes and pounding roads and pavements, so Sandringham Half probably wouldn’t have been my first choice, and I found myself dreading it a bit in the lead up.  Added to that the weather forecast said ‘Scorchio!’ and I had a terrible run in Fakenham on the Thursday night.  It felt hard to imagine getting round 13.1 miles when 5 was such a struggle just a few days before, and I did think at one point I may not bother.   However, supportive clubmates and  friends got me to the start, along with a realisation that I needed to prepare my fuel, hydration and strategy better  – rather than just wing it as usual.

Sandringham Half Marathon is quite a big event, with around 1000 runners taking part.  As the race start time ticked closer the toilet queues weren’t moving fast enough for everyone to get together.  The solution?  Have a team photo in the queue!  Ingenious RntS problem solving!

On paper the course looked very windy-bendy, and I was a little worried it would feel a bit convoluted, like we were continually covering the same ground to make up the distance.  However there was only one little stretch like that and the course was actually very interesting, with a varied mixture of paths, road, field and woodland, along with the money shot view of Sandringham House to enjoy on the way too.  The mixed terrain was a little uneven in places and twice I nearly came a cropper on a tree root but managed to save myself.  I told you I didn’t like picking my feet up!

It was a hot, hot day but thankfully there was some shade and a little breeze – though annoyingly never at the same time!  There were 4 water stations en route, plus the added bonus of Mark and Michelle popping up along the course with Super Soakers.  Getting sprayed was so cooling and was appreciated by so many runners, not just RntS.  A random stranger even bought them a drink and a cookie to say thank you for their important work!  I decided as part of my strategy that I would wear my hydration vest and I sipped my way through a litre of water during the event, plus the extra I took on at the stations,  so I felt like that was a really good move.  It was amazing how re-energised  I felt after a brief stop at each water station.  I also took on fuel during the race and made sure to adjust my expectations due to the weather.  I set my target pace at 1 minute per kilometre slower than I had at Dereham 10 Mile race a month before.  As it was I managed a lot quicker, but I had taken the mental pressure off by giving myself permission to run slower if I needed to and that really helped.   

The hardest part for me was the hill at around 13.5K.  I slowed right down, tried to remember what the coaches say – pumping arms, smaller steps – and was glad to make it to the top without walking.  Another runner overtook me on that hill and when I caught up with her I complimented her on how strong she had been.  She told me she had cried on that hill the year before and wasn’t going to let it beat her this year, which I found inspirational.  I’d only trained to 10 miles and I did find my legs getting tired towards the end, but I still had energy left for a bit of a sprint finish which pleased me.  Despite my worries I really enjoyed the event and the sense of satisfaction at completing this distance again was fantastic.  Well done to everyone who took part in such difficult conditions and a big thank you to all the supporters too.


Official Results

Kyle – 1:38:44
Kevin H – 1:45:02
Tara – 1:49:31
Shane – 2:00:27
Stuart G – 2:02:08
Gemma – 2:04:23
Laura W – 2:19:43
Marie – 2:25:21
Vikki – 2:31:38


Liam, Michelle, Lorraine & Mark