21 Jun

Glass Full At Hampshire Hoppit

Hampshire Hoppit hoppers

“One of the hardest events I've done in that heat. Lovely race, beautiful scenery, great marshals but that first hill – OMG.” This was just one of many similarly praiseworthy comments posted after the 2017 Hampshire Hoppit Trail Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday (18 June).

Hampshire Hoppit is a trail-tastic run/walk based at Kingsclere on the Hampshire/Berkshire border. Both races follow sections of the Wayfarers Walk and Harrow Way in Watership Down countryside. Every finisher receives a unique engraved beer glass (half or pint depending on race distance) filled with Hoppit Ale from Loddon Brewery. The race medal is also beer glass-shaped to complement the theme. 
Pre-race and post-race medical and massage facilities were tested to the full by 750 runners as the mercury nudged 30°C and the on-course sprinklers were well received, along with ice pops at halfway. Elite athletes never seem to suffer in the heat but even the best had to modify their approach on the hottest June day for some years.
Coping best in the marathon were M40 master Alex Hamilton (Basingstoke & Mid Hants, 3:16:31), Paul Sargent (Burgess Hill Runners, 3:28:36) and Ally Watson (Serpentine, 3:34:32).
Getting among the leading men was Kate Towerton (Winchester & District, 3:31:54) and W40 Sarah Hill (Farnham Runners, 3:37:36) with Jill Collett (Datchet Dashers, 4:00:19) third.
The half marathon leaders were Dan Siddons (Shelton, 1:29:13), Karl Westhead (Basingstoke & Mid Hants, 1:31:47) and Ian Rummey (1:33:30). Female awards went to W40 Sam Scott (Hart Road Runners, 1:51:53), Alison Jessop (W40 Datchet Dashers, 1:52:08) and Bethan Gwynn (1:54:07).  
The races were promoted by Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletic Club and the final word is from a delighted Sittingbourne Strider: I don’t normally join these 'follow us' groups but have joined so I could tell you that after 5 years of running I have never experienced a marathon like I did today. It was top quality. Marshals/road management/goody bag. You have found perfection.”
Image courtesy Hampshire Hoppit