Simon McMorran during the BUPA Great South Run. Picture by Katherine McMorran.
GREAT SOUTH RUN
IN ONE of the greatest days for Island distance running, painter and decorator Simon McMorran had the race of his life at the BUPA Great South Run last weekend.
Simon, 52, of Yarborough Road, East Cowes, has enjoyed great form in his distance running of late, with times tumbling and new PBs in 17 of his last 19 races.
However, even he did not expect to knock almost four minutes off his previous best when he crossed the line at Southsea in 57.48 — the only Islander to run under an hour.
This time was enough not only for a brilliant 47th overall — out of more than 17,000 athletes — but it was also enough for him to win the vet50 title too and rise to eighth in the UK rankings for his age group and over that distance.
"I did go off quickly but as I went on I felt in incredible shape and with every mile I kept thinking that feeling would go away, but it didn’t. The last two miles were tough because of a headwind but everyone suffered that.
"It was just a magic day for me and for everyone. I got as much joy from seeing runners from my club and from the Tuesday Night Group gain times they never thought possibly, as I did from finishing myself."
Simon, who ran as a teenager until the age of 22 before taking a 25-year hiatus, thinks the key to his success this year has been the introduction of a rowing machine to help a groin injury.
"My physio, Perry Fisher, gave me the best piece of advice ever, to do cross-training with a rower, and it’s worked wonders for me."
The flat course and cold, dry conditions, clearly suited the IW contingent taking part.
Alongside Simon, more than 20 members of IW Road Runners took part, with seven gaining new best times. Simon Randall gained a new PB and was within the top 100, when he came 87th in a time of 1.00.22, while Steve Rumsey gained a PB time of 1.04.44 a week after gaining a PB at the Abingdon Marathon.
Andy Macarthur ran an excellent PB of 1.04,45, Heather Drudge knocked seven minutes off her best time to finish in 1.15.34, while Natalie Lazenby smashed her previous best by 11 minutes, crossing the line in 1.15.58.
Other PBs were recorded by Jodie Giffard (1.21.44) and Claire Campbell (1.25.07), who was 20 minutes quicker than last year’s race.
For Ryde Harriers, four runners took part, with Stephen Goodier finishing in 1.12.42, Rowland Sillito running a PB in 1.16.12, Tom Hill finishing in 1.19.11, Alison Smith finishing in 1.23.00 and Sally Roberts crossing the line in 1.23.48.
Stephen’s son, Joseph, 16, raised more than £170 for the Ellen MacArthur Trust by finishing his first ever race in 1.14.40,
Five members of West Wight Road Runners took part, with Anne Dines leading the way in 1.30.17, while Jason Clark was the sole representative of Wight Tri, finishing in 200th, in 1.04.47.
Three youngsters from the IW Athletic Club did a great job in the junior Great South Run,
Sam Hutchinson came a brilliant eighth, in 8.26, with Jack Fellows finishing 31st in 9.46 and Eden Crumplin coming 20th in the girls’ race.
Eden’s achievement was all the more remarkable considering she had a foot operation just seven weeks ago.
Eden, 13, of Haylands, had the surgery on her toe which had been damaged in an accident she had as a toddler. Despite it still being very painful, the Christ The King College pupil decided to give it a go and she produced a great run to cross the line in 9.58.
• Results for all the IW runners who took part can be found on pages 22 to 24 of the Friday, November 2, County Press.