IF YOU fancy having a crack at running up some of the Isle of Wight’s biggest hills, there is still time to get your on-line entries in now for the Isle of Wight Fell Running Series in Ventnor this coming weekend.

Hosted by the Ryde Harriers running club, in association with the Ventnor Fell Running Association, the 24th annual event — which has become a nationally popular athletics fixture — will feature two shorter fell races of 3.8km and 12km on Saturday, September 15, followed by a longer race of 21km on Sunday, September 16.

In all, the races cover over 4,300ft of ascent.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Action from last year's Isle of Wight Fell Running Series in Ventnor and Wroxall. 

You don’t have to enter all three races, but many regulars who take part in the series usually choose to do one or two.

The races, run under Fell Running Association (FRA) rules, will incorporate the South of England Athletic Association Fell Running Championships for the 15th year.  

You don’t have to be an accomplished fell runner to take part either.

Beginners are encouraged to give it a go, with all three routes rewarding runners with some breathtaking views.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Action from last year's Isle of Wight Fell Running Series in Ventnor and Wroxall. 

Race one, the St Boniface Fell, will be held on Saturday at 11am — a straight dash from Ventnor seafront to the top of St Boniface and back.

Runners will cover three miles and 776 feet of ascent — half of which will take place over a half-mile stretch leading to a testing descent on the way back.

It’s then all-too-short-a-gap to race two, The Ventnor Horseshoe, also on Saturday, starting at 3pm.  

The runners, again starting on the seafront, will ascend St Boniface, which will take in the full height in a continual climb — unlike the little bit of respite runners get in Race 1, before climbing again to the top.  

Race 2 will then descend to Wroxall, via the site of the former Cook's Castle, the Sunshine Trail and a long ascent to St Martins Down, up the cliff on Luccombe Down and a return via a descent of St Boniface.  

In all, the runners will cover eight miles with 1,600 feet of ascent to negotiate.

On Sunday, at 10.30am, runners will line up for the Wroxall Round —
the longest run of the weekend — which will cover 13 miles and about 2,000ft of ascent.  

The gruelling race will start off from La Falaise Park, before ascending to Watcombe Bottom (Ventnor Rugby Club) and on to Stenbury Down.  

A steep descent to Stenbury Manor Farm and further drops to Gat Cliff
and Freemantle Gate will follow, then through to the Donkey Sanctuary and the Sunshine Trail again, before another long ascent to St Martins Down, up the cliff at Luccombe Down and a descent of St Boniface to the finish.

As usual there will be strong teams from the Ryde Harriers, the Serpentine Running Club, Victoria Park Harriers and the London Frontrunners, to name a few.

Chris Lewis, a spokesman for the Ventnor Fell Running Association and Ryde Harriers, said: "Whilst we have no proper ‘fell’ terrain on the Island, the races meet the FRA classifications for ascent and distance, with the hills around Ventnor some of the steepest climbs and descents in the South of England.

"Entries are up to 220 already, the best ever, with more expected in the next few days, with on-day entries accepted."

This year the race venue is Ventnor's St Catherine’s School in Grove Road — the finish line for races.

Ferry firm Wightlink are supporting the event by offering runners free travel.

  • Online entries close today (Tuesday). Visit www.rydeharriers.co.uk/the-isle-of-wight-fell-series for more details.