The Dorset Invader 18th July 2015 – by Cherry Shannon

‘Twas the morn of Saturday the 18th of July when I met Sally Roberts, Abi Cooke and Isle of Wight Road Runner Julie Salter at silly o’clock for the Yarmouth to Lymington ferry. We were off to the Dorset Invader, a combined event of a full and half marathon. We reached the venue in very good time, relying on Sally’s expert driving (no speeding this time Sally)and her trusty sat nav.

On arrival at East Farm at Winterborne we were greeted by some IWRRs who had camped over and were already excited about Sunday’s event called Chaos and involved finding your running shoes mixed up in a bag with everyone else’s, your paired runner with the same number as you then running a 10k with them….but I digress….. Back to our day…..There were plenty of Roman centurions and toga clad Romans ready to do battle with the races but after a brief be-donning of my rubber centurion outfit on the ferry I decided against wearing mine for the race, a decision I was to be very glad about later.

Dorset Invader Half 007

One fellow was very impressive in his REAL METAL battle dress! ‘He must be mad’ we said as if all the other Roman runners weren’t; but later, the REAL METAL centurion was seen astride his real horse on the brow of the hill, brandishing his sword. What a sight!  At 9am we saw all the marathoners begin their race. I wondered how long the romans amongst them would keep their helmets on in the already rising heat of the day, but I wondered not for long as it was all of a sudden 9.45 and US! By now the horse was very prancy and obviously wanted to go off for a good gallop, not waft around a lot of would-be-Romans.

So to the race……Abi Cooke was off like a streak of lightning. Two corners of a stubble field and she disappeared forever from my view (well, until the end of the race anyway). We all ran our own race at our own pace. Despite the fact that the course was fairly flat it was entirely off road, full of lumps and bumps, long grass and tree roots (one caught me out and I got a bit dusty). It was hard to run fast and you really had to concentrate on your footing. This meant I somehow missed seeing the Iron Age fort at Weatherby at mile 3, but never mind. En route there were signs to make you smile but I didn’t have my Roman/English dictionary with me to translate the Roman ones….There was a Lovestation at about mile 9 which had lots of goodies as well as the much needed water. I didn’t hang around to find out what was on offer, but Sally had pretzels (for the salt)!!!! And Julie had Schnapps. She was very late coming back so she may have had more than one…..

Now, to the best bit. At the end we received the biggest medal you ever did see! A massive gurt red shield. We all proudly wore ours home on the ferry. The goody bag was full of lovey things too including a Roman muff and Dorset Invader strawberry jam.

Dorset Invader Half 012

I would recommend this event for a fun, yet challenging day out. The White Star Running chaps are top notch at organising events with a fun running attitude. In conclusion, a proper lovely day out.

Special commendation must be made to Abi Cooke who ran a fine race which speaks for itself in that she came 40th out of 242 runners with a fabulous time of 1.53.51. I was 60th in 2.02.31 and Sally Roberts 104th in 2.15.12.

Dorset Invader Half 011