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The Island Run

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Sunday May 9th 2010



The day of the 4th Paul Trigwell Island Run dawned grey and windy. Those runners and walkers brave enough to face the elements were subjected to the bitter cold of a Leysdown onshore breeze that seemed to transport a concoction of rain, drizzle and general murk to the very core. And it was not a great deal better for the two mile competitors at Minster Leas, near to the Beach Hotel.

But no-one was deterred. Frank Dunn and Fiona Trigwell started the day early; Frank took the easy job of running the course from finish to start to ensure the signs for the competitors were in place while Fiona drove, tirelessly, alongside him to make sure he did it properly. Marshalls arrived in their designated places clutching lists of competitors and their numbers. Photographers poised ready to record the action and, at approximately  7.30 am, Fiona drove into the car park at Leysdown, speeding away from the still running Frank.


On your marks......Meanwhile, even more volunteers began the process of setting up the finish line and arranging facilities for those who wished to enter at the eleventh hour.  By 8 am the first walkers had started to arrive. Without exception, everyone who climbed out of a car braced visibly against the elements, those with foresight, produced flasks of hot, steaming tea.

Eager hands clutched at registration numbers that flapped in the wind and proved difficult to pin on with cold fingers, but they were not deterred and smiled for the camera, some in fancy dress, some attired in gear more fitting to the day’s climate, and two brave competitors with their legs tied together; watching them descend a muddy and slippery Donkey Hill provided the photographers with 4 legged runnersgreat entertainment!  Some walkers even had four legs and appeared delighted to be out on a Sunday morning, in the sort of weather that would normally entice their owners to a lie in, and with the prospect of a long walk in front of them. They all started off at 8.30 exactly, with smiles and fresh feet, many of them looked surprisingly spritely as they crossed the finish line at Sheerness Sandpit, albeit a little bedraggled.

The start of the 10 mile run was heralded by pouring rain, no longer just murk and drizzle but the stuff that soaks you in minutes. Queues of competitors snaked around the officials’ cars as they waited to register, all ages and abilities,  united in one goal, a determination to finish regardless of time. As it was, the fastest runner completed the course in around 55 minutes.

As 10 am approached, they edged their way to the starting ribbon, Frank Dunn said a few words of encouragement and added a word of wisdom about staying to the left at the bottom of Donkey Hill, where tons of hardcore had been delivered and spread the previous day, in an endeavour to make the route more comfortable. As Fiona raised the starting pistol, silence fell and the tension was tangible; she pulled the trigger and they were off. 

2 mile startMeanwhile, at The Beach Hotel, the “Fun Runners” were gathering, amongst them SpongeBob, Bananas in Pyjamas,  Batman, Harry Potter, Men in Black, Sheerness Boxing Club and The Karate Kid, bringing with them supporters . They registered in the relative shelter of the “The Beach” forecourt before heading to the start point on Minster Leas where, once again, the starting pistol was fired to signal the commencement of the 4th Paul Trigwell Island Fun Run.

At the finish line, the first fun runners raced down the ramp, cheered on by spectators who had lined the barriers to wave and welcome their loved ones to the end. “Dangermouse and his relay rally” crossed the line with energy to spare, no doubt ready to “save the world” yet again. A party atmosphere was apparent as people danced to the music provided by BRFM, who along with Paul Evans, provided  both commentary and welcome…………and sometimes, a little comedy! Some foolhardy young men, even decided to brave the sea afterwards in an effort to cool down and soothe aching muscles.

Eventually, competitors from all events, mingled and crossed the finish line together, the crowds started to thin and the runners and walkers became sparse, the last one arriving well before 1pm. The organisation and   the dedication of  many volunteers and the commitment  of competitors and supporters on the day, all merged together to make the day what it should be, a community coming together to offer what they can, which is just what Paul Trigwell would have admired: the work of a team, a team like “Team Richmond” who  walked together with their  name emblazoned on  identical sashes across their chests, identical except for one competitor whose sash, as she crossed the finish line, clearly carried the words “Running for My Dad”.