AFTER a gap of a two years due to Covid, the 26th Isle of Wight and South of England Athletic Association Fell Running Series in Ventnor gets underway this weekend — an event which has become a nationally popular fixture for fell runners.

Hosted by Ryde Harriers, in association with the Ventnor Fell Running Association, the weekend will feature two shorter fell races of three miles and eight miles today, followed by a longer race of 13 miles around Wroxall and Ventnor tomorrow (Sunday).

The races incorporate the 16th South of England Athletic Association Fell Running Championships, with beginners encouraged to give it a go.

Isle of Wight County Press:

While there is no proper fell terrain on the Island, the races meet Fell Running Association classifications for ascent and distance, with the hills around Ventnor some of the steepest climbs and descents in the South of England.

Entries are expected to pass the 200 mark, with on-day entries accepted.

Today’s races start from Ventnor seafront — the first, The St Boniface Fell, starts at 11am, the second, The Ventnor Horseshoe, at 3pm.

Tomorrow, The Wroxall Round, starts at 10.30am.

The St. Boniface Fell is a straight dash from Ventnor Esplanade to the top of St Boniface Down and back down — the runners covering three miles and 776ft of ascent. 

Isle of Wight County Press:  

Half of this ascent takes place over a half-mile stretch, leading to a testing descent on the way back.

It’s then all too short a gap to the second race today, The Ventnor Horseshoe, at 3pm.  

The runners again start at the seafront and ascend St Boniface. This ascent takes in the full height in a continual climb, unlike the slight respite you get in the St Boniface Fell,
before climbing again to the top.  

The route then ascends to Wroxall, via Cooks Castle and the old railway line (the Sunshine Trail) before the long ascent to St Martin's Down, then up the cliff to Luccombe
Down, before returning via a descent of St Boniface.  

The runners cover eight miles, with 1,600ft of ascent.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Tomorrow morning's Wroxall Round sees quite a few stiff runners line up for the weekend's longest race, with competitors covering 13 miles and 2,000ft of ascent.  

The race starts off relatively flat through La Falaise Park, before ascending to Watcombe Bottom and Stenbury Down.  

It’s then a steep descent to Stenbury Manor Farm, before another ascent to Gat Cliff
and Freemantle Gate.

Runners then pass through the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary and onto the old railway line again, before another long ascent to St Martins Down and up the cliff to Luccombe Down, finishing with the descent of St Boniface to the finish, in the grounds of St Catherine's School, Ventnor.

All runners can enter either today or tomorrow at 9am at the school.