Monthly Archives: July 2017

A Couch to 5k runner comes of age

By Jo Enright

On 29 March, I took the plunge and joined the Seaford Striders Couch to 5k (C25K) group for the second week of the programme. I had been persuaded by my friend, a current Strider, to give it a try. I decided to go along to show willing but wasn’t planning to attend regularly! That week we were asked to run for 90 second intervals, alternating with a 2-minute walk. I remember commenting to a fellow C25K’er that running for 90 seconds would be a challenge for me.

It’s now 12 weeks later and since that initial session I have regularly attended the group and have run on my own in between. I had fun joining the Seaford Striders for my first Parkrun in Preston Park. I followed this up shortly afterwards with another Parkrun in Eastbourne.

My real achievement was completing the Eastbourne Race for Life 10k on 18 June. This is something I never thought I would be able to do! I used to play sports at school and since then have been a sporadic gym goer, but running has never appealed to me as it was something that I didn’t think I was capable of.

After completing a couple of 5ks I decided to try and push myself a bit further and the 10k felt like a natural progression. I didn’t sign up until the night before and didn’t tell anyone I was going to run, as I still wasn’t sure I could commit to it! I liked the idea of the Race for Life as I knew it wouldn’t be a pressurised race and I would be able to go at my own pace. After losing my mum, my mother-in-law and father-inlaw to cancer, it also felt like a good opportunity to combine my new challenge with supporting Cancer Research UK.

Sunday 18 June was a scorcher and the heat added to the feeling of ‘how on earth am I going to complete this?!’. But I did and felt hugely proud not only of completing the race but also running it in roughly the time I was aiming for.

I have greatly valued the support that experienced Striders have given the C25K group, whether that be running with us each week, pacing us at the Parkruns or cheering us on when they have finished their own races. I am now able to contemplate calling myself a runner!

To donate to Jo’s Race for Life fundraising, click here.

Striders fly at Horsham and Rye

 

By Hilary Humphrey

Simon Fletcher leads the Horsham 10k start

Seaford Striders’ latest participation in the Sussex Grand Prix have seen them travel across the border into West Sussex for the Horsham 10K on 20 May and almost as far as the Kent border for the Rye 10 miler on 28 May.

Starting at Horsham Rugby Club, the 10k route takes in a circuit of the hallowed turf followed by two laps of a route on road, lane and bridleway.  This meant the pleasure of the energy sapping hill back to the Club could be savoured twice and it certainly proved testing the second time around, although the excellent spectator support on the hill made it worthwhile.

First of eight Striders present and in full flight at Horsham was Simon Fletcher, who crossed the line in 6th position, in a time of 37:29, ensuring that he won his age category.  He was followed by the ever-reliable Ed Tuckley in a time of 39:02 and Luke Borland in 40:33.

There was strength in the middle order with Josh Nisbett 42:35; Ben Shorer, 45:30 and Peter Weeks 49:00.  The honour of first female Strider to cross the line went to Kristiane Sherry in a excellent time of 51:48 with notable times also being recorded by Anna Norman in 52:20 and Claire Keith in 54:48.

One week later it was time for another challenge, in the form of a 10-mile road race, the only one of its length in Sussex; covering the quiet twisting country lanes, which undulate through stunning countryside outside Rye.  After completing the looped section of the course and pushing through all those climbs, with barely any flat to recover and get back into a comfy stride; the runners headed back, with a nice downhill stretch that they had climbed at the start, to be welcomed by all the spectators at the finish line.

The first strider home was once again the unstoppable Simon Fletcher coming in 4th in an outstanding time of 01:02:45, ensuring yet another first in his age category.  Another excellent performance by Gareth Hutchinson saw him finish 11th in 01:05:26, with Josh Rudd finishing off his usually fast pace, to finish in what for him will be a disappointing 01:29:09.

Tom tackles the Triple Challenge

By Tom Roper

When the Lions moved the Seaford Half from its traditional mid-June date to May, they left a half-marathon shaped hole in the running calendar. Running, like all of nature, abhors a vacuum, and in 2016 the Martello Rotary Club organised the first Triple Challenge, which includes a half-marathon for runners, as well as a choice of 20 and 30 mile routes for cyclists, and a walking option.

The 2016 event was notable for thick fog and rain that caused at least one runner to lose his way. In the week before, it looked as if conditions would be better, but on Sunday 11 June the morning was cloudy. As we arrived at the Salts, thick cloud covered the cliffs above Newhaven. History would repeat itself.

Three Striders lined up with thirty-odd runners, and a similar number of cyclists: Amanda Feast, Trevor Jones and me. The cyclists were off first and, after a decent interval, we were sent off westwards towards the Sailing Club. This race follows the same route as the other Seaford Half until Bishopstone, where we carry on towards Norton, instead of turning off the road.

At the Norton pumping station, we ran out of road, and started a long ascent to the top of Beddingham Hill. Climbing was warm work, and the cloud cover seemed to make it hotter. I was alarmed when warned by a marshal that there would be no water at the water stop. An accident on the A27 had stopped the car carrying the water from getting through. This was dispiriting news, but there was nothing to be done.

Once at the top of the hill, we turned east, joining a very familiar route: apart from the many training runs we’ve all used it for, it’s the route of the Moyleman and, in reverse, the Firle half-marathon and the Bill Young Memorial Run.

The fog had set in, and visibility was very poor, but fortunately there was no rain. By the time I reached Firle Bostal I was pleased to find that there was water, despite the marshal’s warning. I drank gratefully.

Then we went over Firle Beacon, the highest point of the course, and then down, turning seawards at Bo Peep. The final slog is back from Bo Peep, and following the May Seaford Half’s course backwards, down to Bishopstone. Finally, with nothing left in my legs, I slogged back from Bishopstone, past the sailing club where, defying the fog, they were sailing, and along the sea front to the finish.

First finisher was Jamie Boucher in 1:29:33, while the first lady was Rachael Newble in 1:50:47. Amanda Feast was the first Strider home in 2:04:27, while Trevor Jones finished in 2:20:58. I was last, in 3:03:37. That’s the first time I’ve ever been the wrong side of three hours over the distance, and over an hour and a quarter slower than my best time for a half.

Thanks to Martin Bulger for time-keeping, all the Striders who helped with the road-crossing, the Rotary club organisers and marshals, and Tony Humphreys for photographing us, warts and all.

I’d recommend this race. It’s different from the May half, without the long slog by the Cuckmere, and the leg-shredding descent of Seaford Head, and the views, on a clear day, would be spectacular. Next year, perhaps.