6 sporting events and challenges in Hampshire this year - marathons, triathlons and more

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Whether you punish the quads in a gruelling 530 stair climb or kayak around Hayling Island – 2015 is the year to drag yourself off of the sofa and sign up for one of the county’s top sporting challenges

Kayak Hayling Island

Kayak Hayling Island - Credit: Archant

Kayak Hayling Island

If running, climbing or clambering around in mud doesn’t appeal, why not take to a kayak and paddle 13 miles around Hayling Island? “This is a brilliant event for the whole family,” says organiser, Robert Piggott from Believe & Achieve Events. “We can supply all the equipment for anybody who has not got a kayak - we rent out singles and two man sit on kayaks with floatation aid and paddle. Participants will just have to supply suitable clothing for the day and a dry bag with a little bit of food and drink and maybe some warm clothing just in case the weather changes. We stop twice to stretch our legs at Hayling Lifeboat Station and at Langstone, and take on some snacks and drinks that we supply,” says Rob.

This charity event raises money for the RNLI Lifeboat Station in Portsmouth, and made a grand total of £1000 last year.

• When: Sunday 19 July 2015

• Find out more: Costs £25 with your own kayak or £40 with kayak hire plus £10 for a BBQ. Enter at fitprorob.biz

Tough Mudder / photo by Kirsten Holst

Tough Mudder / photo by Kirsten Holst - Credit: Archant

Tough Mudder, Winchester

Tough Mudder is not for the faint-hearted. Even the obstacle names can strike the fear of god: Ring of Fire; Electroshock Therapy; or Arctic Enema – anyone? In fact there are 26 obstacles on the 12-mile long route, and you can expect barbed wire, ice and a whole world of mud.

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“The London South event is the finalé of the UK Tough Mudder season and had over 20,000 Mudders take part last year,” says Vice President of Marketing, John Fidoe. “The venue is a sprawling estate, Matterley Bowl, which features stunning landscapes, plenty of testing undulations and the largest ‘Mud Mile’ of any of our UK events.”

If you’re not brave enough to sign up alone, this is the sort of gig you can recruit team members in the pub, preferably once they’ve had a few. You can always run to support Help for Heroes – who Mudders have raised over £1,000,000 for to date!

• When: 26 & 27 September 2015

• Find out more: www.toughmudder.co.uk

Great South Run, Paula Radcliffe

Great South Run, Paula Radcliffe - Credit: Archant

Morrisons’ Great South Run

This fast and flat, 10-mile route takes in the iconic sites of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, including HMS Victory and the Spinnaker Tower; whilst the final stretch along the seafront is lined with thousands of spectators, cheering on runners as they dig deep and belt it to the finish line.

The Great South Run has attracted many world-class athletes over the years, including the current Olympic, World and European champion in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, Mo Farah!

Another of the race’s great Gold medal winners is Paul Radcliffe, who now stands as the Great Run ambassador for women. “Inactivity is increasingly cited as the most dangerous risk factor to our health and a third more women than men in the UK are considered to be inactive,” says Paula. “Despite the preconceptions, no matter what level of fitness you’re starting from, walking, jogging and eventually running regularly is an achievable form of exercise for most people.

“For busy women, juggling the demands of jobs and family life, running is time effective, cost effective and requires no special equipment. This year I want to encourage as many women as possible to set themselves the goal of a Great Run event, like the brilliant Morrisons Great South Run in Portsmouth, to motivate them to get active and stay active in 2015”

• When: Sunday 25 October 2015

• Find out more: www.greatrun.org/great-south-run

Spinnaker Tower-thon 2015

Towerrunning is one of the fastest growing sports in the running scene, according to the Towerrunning World Association. Each year more than 100,000 athletes and running enthusiasts from around the globe climb towers, skyscrapers and outdoor stairs, in a bid to experience this vertical high. Towerrunning competitions are on the rise with over 40 countries hosting events in their iconic towers, including the Empire State Building in New York (1576 steps) and Taiwan’s Taipei 101, whose 508 metre structure has a lactic acid-inducing 2046 steps. Closer to home, you can check out this heart-pumping trend in Portsmouth! As part of the World Federation of Great Towers (WFGT) series of stair runs around the world, The Spinnaker Tower have launched the second ever Tower-thon, in a bid to find the fastest stair runner to conquer its 530 steps. Current overall record holder, Mark Sims, completed the tower in 2 minutes 18 Seconds, also winning last year’s Tower-thon in 2 minutes 32 Seconds. “It’s an honour to hold the position for such an impressive and recognisable building,” says Mark, who is planning to enter again this year.

“Don’t underestimate the benefit you’ll get from training on some stairs,” advises Mark who spends a few evenings a week running up the stairs where he works. “During a session I’ll do three to four timed ascents of differing lengths either to target my speed or endurance. Alongside this I’ll mix in some regular running, cycling and core strengthening exercises.” When asked what his winning secret is, Mark replies: “My technique involves taking the stairs two to three steps at a time and depending on the width of the stairs and their layout, I will either use both handrails, or just the inside. I’m mostly using it to take some of the weight off the legs.” The Spinnaker Tower-thon 2015 is now accepting entries with a £15 entry fee to each competitor.

• When: Sunday 11 October 2015

• Find out more: www.spinnakertower.co.uk

May Day Tri

“The May Day triathlon is the perfect event to have a go at a triathlon in a fun environment,” says Tri Events Director, Ben Cook. “You do not need any special equipment, only a bike, trainers and goggles to give it a go!”

Set in the centre of Winchester, you’ll start the race in the beginner-friendly, 6-lane pool at Kings School – where you’ll swim 200 metres with people of a similar ability. With just four folk per lane, you don’t need to worry about being bashed about by someone mid-butterfly.

Next up, find your bike, don your helmet and cycle out of the medieval city into the wilds of Hampshire, taking in the rolling countryside around the village of Sparsholt. Psyched up for the final phase, you’ll be ready to tackle the slightly hilly run with one long drag down out of the college and back up again, on a combination of footpaths and flat playing fields. Here you’ll be cheered on by spectators as you cross the finish line, where your well-earned medal awaits.

Ben’s advice for first-timers: “Take it slow and enjoy the day, its all about having fun. If you think you can swim 200m, cycle 10km and run/walk 2.5 km, then give it a go - I promise, you will get hooked! And if you are worried about coming last, don’t you get the biggest cheer!”

• When: Monday 4 May 2015

• Find out more: www.trytri.co.uk

ABP Southampton Half Marathon & 10K

For the first time in more than 30 years, Southampton is set to host a half marathon. “There are so many great running events in the south but Southampton was clearly missing out so I set about creating a half marathon and 10k event to put the city on the running map,” says Race Director Chris Rees.

“The city has so many amazing landmarks that we have been able to include,” explains Chris, “the route takes in everything from the Itchen Bridge and Southampton Common to Ocean Village.

“It has been so well received that we’re set to see around 6,000 runners take part, with a great mix of those competing for the first time through to seasoned runners. We’ve also had tremendous support from the local community with charities involved, such as Milemakers, to motivate the runners; and from business such as the Wessex Health Nuffield Hospital and Hendy Group.”

• When: Sunday 26 April 2015

• Find out more: www.abpsouthamptonhalf.co.uk

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