Monthly Archives: April 2017

What to do with all those race medals!?

By Martin Bulger

Don’t make the same mistake as me! Medals engraved with the name, date and distance of the event are generally quite acceptable souvenirs of your running. If you are disciplined enough to keep a paper/electronic record of those achievements as well, it becomes a useful point of reference, especially when your love of running is measured in decades.

My competitive running began when I was 13 and lasted 50 years… that’s an awful lot of medals! I didn’t know when I first started running that I’d still be running when I picked up my old-age pension!

While I have kept details of all my 160 marathons I have not been quite so dedicated with the other events that I’ve done… and that could be as many as 500. Just think of all those medals to look after, not to mention mugs, horse-brasses, plates, plaques and trophies.

So, what do you do with your medals? Display them by hanging them on hooks on the wall? And when you’ve run out of hooks and walls, do you then put them all in a drawer… and when the drawer is full, transfer them to a very large cardboard box in the attic… and forget about them?

Something to remember though – if, when you first won them did you put them round your neck for the walk back to your car? If so, it’s quite possible that those sweaty medals will now be rusty medals.

Should I be ruthless with mine and keep only those medals with special meaning and significance… and bin the rest?

I appeal to all of you but particularly those of you who are fairly new to running, what will you do when you have racked up a cricket score of running memorabilia? Heed my story, don’t leave it too late, be like Baldrick (of Black Adder fame) and have a cunning plan!

A visit from some old friends…

By Hilary Humphreys

Two Bude Rats came out to play! For those of you who do not recognise these two – they are Rob and Jackie Webber, who were long standing Seaford Striders until they went and moved to Bude.

They made the pilgrimage to Hastings for the Half and also met various Striders at The Welly pub in Seaford. The pair even came along to club nights during their visit to celebrate Rob’s 60th birthday.

Rob and Jackie send their thanks to everyone who went out of their way to meet up with them during their visit.

My Hastings Half: Hilly, windy, wow!

By Emma Goodwin

I had heard many things about the Hastings course. Having completed the Eastbourne half two weeks previously, and claiming at the finish line that that was it, no more, I was convinced to enter by the rave reviews about this race. (I don’t race by the way I just put one foot in front of the other and see where I finish).

Arriving early with trusted chauffer/photographer Tony and running conscience Hilary, we got ready for the off. Hilary was off fast, with me happy to sit in the pack. The first mile was ok, a couple of hills but nothing for me to be concerned about, hit Harley Chute road, which had been my main concern, and found it was only  short steep climb. What was I worried about? With the worst bit over, I settled in for duration. Hmm what did I know!

Miles 3-6 was a steady uphill that goes on and on. And on. It is straight with one right bend; did I mention it is straight?! Those miles seemed to take forever and I was mighty glad to see the back of them. Mile 7 saw an unscheduled pit stop necessitating for the landlord of the local pub to open his doors earlier than he intended doing! Any thoughts of a PB were gone at this point so I decided to push where I could and enjoy the tremendous support that seemed to be along the entire route.

Miles 9-11 were predominately downhill which I enjoyed tremendously and was feeling confident at this point about my finish time – just put one foot in front of the other, I thought. We hit the sea front and the last two miles only to be met by a wall of wind with no respite  for the remainder of the run.

I was struggling hugely at this point; I thought Brighton and Eastbourne had been windy, that was nothing compared to this. I tried to tuck in behind a couple of chaps in an attempt to get some shelter but the wind was coming from every direction (never behind me, mind). Deciding that this tactic was fruitless, I got my head down and attempted to go for it.

With the finish line in sight, I hear a shout from Tony which spurred me on to the end where running conscience Hilary, who had long since finished, stood shivering awaiting my arrival.

A great course, tremendous support and one that is on my calendar for next year without a doubt. My favourite half by far and given my unscheduled pit stop I was happy with my 2:19:28 finish time.

STOP PRESS: ITV reported that this year’s race was the windiest in the 33-year history of the Hastings Half!!!

Striders soar at the Steyning Stinger

Emily flying round the Steyning Stinger

By Joel Eaton 

The first weekend in March has been a staple in our race calendar for the last few years since Emily and I both started running. The Sunday plays host to the Steyning Stinger, a tough off-road challenge that goes up, down, and around the South Downs.

The Stinger never fails to disappoint, and this year we were greeted with rain, gale force winds, and plenty of mud. Every year the race briefing is always delivered with a wry smile with the announcement that runners doing the half-marathon have the option of switching to the full marathon at the 11 mile point where the routes separate. I’ve often wondered if anyone’s ever taken them up on that – it’s certainly never been me.

The Stinger is quite unique in that runners have a window of time in which they can start whenever they want. There’s normally a ‘mass-start’ for those looking for more of a competitive feel, but no-one really waited for that this year, I think most people just wanted to get it over with! With both of us opting for the half marathon, and hoping to beat the times of our last efforts, I opted for the mass start which consisted of 4 or 5 others (including, unbeknown to me at the time, fellow Strider Natasha Swan) who were also putting off leaving the warmth of the race HQ for as long as possible. Emily had started off at her own pace a while earlier.

I enjoyed the feeling of starting behind a lot of the other runners and went for it from the off, finding the best option was to go hell-for-leather through the deep puddles of mud during the early stages.

The half-marathon has two ‘stings’, basically one very muddy hill, and one not so muddy but very long hill, as well as a good mix of undulating fields, track, and downland.

Overtaking Emily around mile 7, much to her annoyance, I was really enjoying the challenge this year and was far ahead of last years’ time. Towards the end of the race, you slip and slide down a sharp descent off the downs from Chantonbury ring, which accounts for a good few days of post-race leg stiffness, only to be faced with a “13.1 mile” marker sign located in the middle of a boggy field – no race end in sight. It turns out the race is about 13.7 miles long – I think they just put that sign there to make you feel like giving up!

I crossed the finish line taking a big 11 minutes off my time from last year (2nd overall), while Emily breezed home knocking 2 minutes off her last attempt (6th female). Although too be honest, she was barely out of breath and clearly had too much fun – could try harder, Emily!

The best part of the Stinger is the post-race fry-up included with the entry fee. As it’s hosted in a school, there’s something quite surreal about child volunteers scurrying about delivering breakfasts to the exhausted grownups who can barely manage a hobble.

We can’t recommend the Stinger enough. If you fancy a challenge, a race with a great atmosphere, with lots of mud followed by a guilt-free fry-up, then it’s probably right up your street. Just don’t go expecting a PB!

Joel Eaton 1:33:48 (2nd overall)
Emily Eaton (pictured) 2:11:57
Natasha Swan 2:23:37
Chris Wrathall 2:37:39

My Moyleman: Ed takes on the challenge

Ed (right) tackles the Moyleman

by Ed Tuckley

The Moyleman is a Downland marathon which starts and ends in Lewes. The course features over 2,750 feet of climbing including Blackcap, Kingston Ridge, Firle Beacon and Mount Caburn. It’s very well organised and there’s even a relay option for pairs of runners with the handover taking place in Southease at the halfway point.

This year I opted for the full marathon. Luckily the weather was fine and runners were upbeat, chatty even. That didn’t last long. I ended up battling my mate from Lewes AC, also called Ed, along with a couple of other runners. We attacked the climbs seeing who would crack first. Whereas I was swallowing cloying energy gels every few miles, Ed would have run the whole thing on nothing, but as a matter of politeness, he had to accept a single jelly baby from a child at the top of Kingston Ridge.

Crossing the Ouse, I reached halfway in 1 hr 42 and in roughly 9th place but I knew it couldn’t last. Sure, enough the long grind up Firle Beacon was damaging and the chasers reeled me on the way down Bo Peep. Why hadn’t I done more training? Anyway, stronger runners glided past me including the leading second leg relay runners. It became all about damage limitation and hanging on.

Another chase group caught me at Glynde. Coming out of the village the course heads skywards straight up Mount Caburn. I could see in the distance tiny figures in agony as they neared the summit. On a hill like that, the hardest thing to do is start jogging again once you’ve started walking.

At last, I was stumbling down Chapel Hill into Lewes (by this time the descents were as painful as the climbs). Inevitably, Ed materialised out of the corner of my vision and the pair of us attempted to sprint up Cliffe High Street. By this time my legs were mutinous and instead of navigating the sharp right turn leading to the finish at Harvey’s Brewery, they (and me, because I was still attached to them) crashed into a bollard.

Ed beat me but I’d beaten the hills of the Moyleman… sort of. The winner was Mike Ellicock in 3:04:19. I managed 13th overall in 3:44:20

Five Striders close XC season at Pett

(L-R) Scott Hitchcock, Pete Weeks, Dave Dunstall, Luke Borland and Claire Keith. Image: Bob Hitchcock

By Peter Weeks

A calm and dry morning greeted the five Striders who made the trip along the south coast to Pett for the final race of the East Sussex Cross Country League. This is my favourite race in the series because not only is the five-mile course a mixture of all the types of terrain experienced in cross country running, hills, woods, farmland and mud, there is the added bonus of excellent home baked cakes in the village hall at the finish.

The race starts in a narrow country track which means spectators have to get there early if they wish to see us off as we disappear into the wilds. Bob Hitchcock and Pat (my wife) were there in time to see us start and then made their way back to the village hall to check out the after race refreshments, unfortunately Martin was delayed as Harrison preferred to look at the alpaca’s in the field on the way to the start rather than cheer on Mum (Claire).

Our three speed merchants Scott, Luke and Dave all lined up towards the front of the field whereas Claire and myself decide to start at a more leisurely pace in the middle of the field. We entered the woods after half a mile onto a downhill path which in the past two years has been very muddy and slippery, providing an opportunity to overtake runners who do not enjoy fast descents, however this year the going was soft to firm and everyone coped with the descent.

Then it was into the undulating fields before heading back into the woods and hills and as much as I tried to catch Claire she had other ideas and kept me at bay all the way to the finish.

The first Strider home was Scott in 17th position (32:40) another good run especially as he decided to try out a beauty treatment “Mud Pack” on the way round (see photo). He was very closely followed by Dashing Dave Dunstall 19th (32:47) which confirmed his position as 1st overall Male 55 for the series, which meant we had to stay for the prize giving and consume more cakes. Congratulations Dave you are having an excellent spell, all your London Marathon 5 training is certainly paying off.

Third Strider was Luke Borland 23rd (33:27) who is also enjoying the benefits of marathon training, this time it’s for Brighton. Our only lady runner Claire Keith was 112th (40:59), followed by your roving reporter Peter Weeks 114th (41:08) – I was just being chivalrous and ensuring that Claire got home safely!

That’s it for another year – who knows? Maybe some of you will be inspired by the achievements you have read about over the past six months and want to join us for the 2017/18 cross country races.

Taking on the Jog Shop 20

By Hilary Humphreys

The Jog Shop Jog has always been a bit of a cult race and is an ideal marathon training run; however, with race features like ‘Death Valley’, ‘The Snake’ and ‘The Big W’, you could be forgiven for thinking that this race takes place in the Wild West rather than among the gentle green hills of the South Downs national park in Sussex. Yet, as anyone who has completed the race will testify, those gentle hills are not as easy as they look.

The race, which this year took place on 25 March and commences and finishes in Brighton, covers just over twenty miles, most of which is within the quietly beautiful South Downs, with roughly 90% of the course being off-road.  This race is not for the faint-hearted and tests the stamina of the participants to the full, in fact there are many easier marathons around!

Three brave Striders took up the challenge and they all excelled.  Joel Eaton was the first Strider home in third place overall, in a time 2 hours 24 mins and 59 seconds.  He was followed in 8th and 9th places respectively by Dave Dunstall (first in his age group, pictured) in 2:35:35 and Ed Tuckley in 2:36:00.

Strider Claire joins the Maverick Race trail

 by Claire Dean

25 February saw the first in the series of Maverick Race trail running events, with the debut starting in Amberley. In each event, there are 3 distances to choose from – on this day the ‘short’ was 7km with 137 foot of climb, the ‘medium’ was 13km with 226 foot of climb and the ‘long’ 23km with 348 foot of climb. Naturally, I wanted to go for the toughest even though my training did not reflect my choice, having run just 6 times in 4 months at this point.

The course starts with an almost 2 mile climb up onto the South Downs. Added to the challenge of the hills was the task of trying to avoid the weaving runners who had the advantage of being pulled up the hills by their dogs, as the event welcomed the Cani-Cross, and the wind up on the exposed hills was still very strong from Storm Doris which had hit just two days before.

After many undulating hills testing my lack of fitness, at around the 12 mile point I knew there would be some pay back, with a steep long downhill section. Sadly, when I reached this point, I found it was in the form of a long set of narrow steps. All the front runners had slowed right down to avoid cramp or falling and so there was no opportunity to gain any time back. Then came the final couple of miles where it proved to have been a wise decision to choose my ‘very off-road’ trainers as there was mud galore – my favourite!

The finish was back at the Amberley Museum, where you were welcomed with a bottle opener medal, bottle of Maverick beer and an ice coffee. Being almost 19 weeks pregnant, the tea and cake was the safer recovery option for me.

Not knowing at the start whether I could manage, let alone finish the 14.5 miles of the course, having not run double figures since Sept 2016, I was pleased to have clocked a time of 2:14:34. Needless to say, I was very tired that afternoon!

Super Striders fly at Brighton Marathon

By Hilary Humphreys

Anneka and Scott at the Brighton Marathon

In glorious spring sunshine, thousands of spectators lined the streets of Brighton to watch nearly 8,000 runners participate in the country’s second largest marathon event, which incidentally raises vast sums for both local and national charities.

There were some truly stand-out performances for the Striders, firstly by Josh Rudd, who attacked the distance in his usual style, beating his last years’ time by just under 3 minutes, crossing the line in an outstanding time of 2:57:30.  Struggling in the heat during the final approach was Scott Hitchcock, who crossed the line in 3:11:52, sad to have missed the sub 3 time he had hoped for but still a fantastic performance and raising charity money by his efforts.  Not far behind, and looking cool and calm throughout was Luke Borland in another brilliant time of 3:19:54.

Next it was the turn of the ladies and they certainly didn’t disappoint.  In her first marathon for the club Emily Eaton crossed the line in a superb time of 3:38:25. She was followed by another club first-timer at this distance, Anneka Redley who clocked a very respectable 4:19:36.  Last for the Striders but certainly not least, given that she completed the Manchester Marathon only a week ago was another charity fund raiser, this time Carlie Watts who finished in 4:24:50, hopefully saving a little something for London Marathon in two weeks’ time!

However, not to be outdone by his wife’s fantastic time at Brighton, Joel Eaton completed the South Downs Way 50 miler on Saturday.  This trail race commences in Worthing, climbs up 6 miles of chalk paths to the Chanctonbury Ring before following the final 44 miles of the National Trail to Eastbourne where it takes a final turn off, bringing runners out to finish with a lap of the track at Eastbourne.  Joel Eaton completed this mammoth event in 7 hours 44 minutes and 24 seconds!

Couch to 5k: Week three already!

Striders at the start of a 5k seafront race

By Tom Roper

On Wednesday 5th April we’ll be tackling week 3 of Couch to 5k. Thanks to everyone who turned up last week for week 2, and especially to Emma, Hilary and Terry who helped lead the group. It was lovely to be out in daylight for most of the session, and to be able to run on the grass as well as the road.

Week 3 has us running for longer. After the usual 5 minute walking warm up, we’ll run for 90 seconds, walk for 90 seconds, then run for three minutes and walk for three minutes…and then we’ll do it all over again, followed by a 5 minute cool down.

Meet at 7 pm at the Downs Leisure Centre.