Following the success of the inaugural Seaford Striders Couch to 5k group, the running programme for beginners is back for autumn!
The NHS-backed training plan takes place over nine weeks and gradually builds up from short bursts of running interspersed with walking to the full 5k distance.
Each session will be led by an experienced team of Striders who will support participants through the programme. The group is suitable for complete beginners, those returning from injury, and people who just want to give running a go. It is a fully inclusive, friendly, group, and no-one will ever be left behind!
The first session will take place on Wednesday 13 September. Meet at 7pm in the Olympic Room at The Downs Leisure Centre, Seaford. The group will then build up to completing a Parkrun as a team on 11 November.
Seaford Striders first led a Couch to 5k group earlier in 2017, with our ‘graduates’ now running regularly, achieving PBs, smashing 10k races, and some are even now training for half-marathons!
Looking for inspiration? Victoria, Jo and Matt all took part in the first group and have shared their experiences with us. Just click on their names to read more about their running.
The first session is completely free, with membership then priced at £16 per year.
Dust off those trainers and join us on 13 September – see you there!
According to The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy, the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. For me, 42 will be the age that I decided that the way I led my life was to change for the better. This happened with the help of a well-timed social media mail shot, an established NHS health programme and an immensely supportive and generous group of runners, giving up their time to encourage and advise over 9 weeks, to the goal of running non-stop for 3.1 miles.
For over a decade I hadn’t really exercised at all. At work I sat in front of a PC all day, the middle age spread had fully set in, leaving ever decreasing options in my wardrobe. But it was the day down The Salts when my 10-year-old daughter and her best friend invited me to play a game of “manhunt” that made me realise how unfit I really was. I was unable to get anywhere near them, saved only by a turn in the weather and a plea to stop.
It just so happened a few weeks later my wife alerted me to a social media advert that Seaford Striders, under the leadership of Tom Roper, was starting a couch to 5k group. It was with more than a little trepidation that I turned up at the leisure centre on 22 March to start my journey.
I look back on those 9 weeks now with more than a little pride (and over a stone lighter), remembering the early runs spent desperately looking at my phone, yearning for the next period of walking, cursing the ill-advised quickening of pace as another runner passed in the opposite direction, just to banish the feeling of inadequacy and not buying a pair of running shoes until my calf muscles seized up a few weeks in. The decision to deliberately choose a running route that started with a long gentle incline always stood me in good stead to increase the distance each Wednesday. After week 7, I had managed to extend my usual route to the full 5k distance, a real personal high.
It was therefore with great confidence a little over a week later that lining up with my fellow couch to 5K graduates, at Preston Park Parkrun, I established my first personal best. The commencement of our own local Parkrun at Peacehaven gave me opportunity to further my ambition to get quicker that motivates me now to get out running. Setting a new PB is a truly great feeling, something I have now managed to achieve on 5 of the 6 occasions I’ve participated in timed 5ks to a point that I am almost 5 minutes quicker than that very first marker, but in truth as long as I have given everything it’s an incredibly fulfilling experience.
During those latter runs I’ve surprisingly started to overtake some of the more experienced Striders and what typifies the club and the people is the genuine words of encouragement from all of those I’ve passed, to push on and achieve a good personal time. Sport wouldn’t be the same without a rival to get the best out of yourself (where would Cram be without Coe?) therefore I must thank one Strider, in particular, Simon Nixon, for not only mentoring and leading our Wednesday runs but also for giving me extra motivation to improve.
In recent weeks, pushing myself by joining in track nights and the Monday get-together that varies the distance and speed of runs, has not only shown me that Cuckmere Haven is not as far as I think but contributed greatly to new PBs and my first 10K finish in just over 50 minutes.
The most special thing about taking up running is that it’s an activity that has rubbed off on my two daughters, who are now regulars at Peacehaven junior Parkrun, and Madeleine, my eldest, has recently become a Junior Strider herself. She may have escaped me back in March but I’m pretty confident that if she and her friend invite me to play manhunt again I won’t be chasing shadows anymore!
As I now reflect on how far I’ve come in such a short space of time and think about what I’d like to achieve in the future, I’ve decided that 42 might not be a bad place to start, 42 minutes for the 10k that is. I may never achieve it but one thing’s for certain, I can count on the support and encouragement from the inspirational people who make up Seaford Striders running club. If you are interested in joining then I know you will be most welcome.
While most people spend their bank holiday weekends relaxing and enjoying that extra day off work, a number of Striders saw it as an opportunity for more miles and races. What with Peacehaven Parkrun, Rye 10, Folkstone 10k and Weald Challenge Trail Half marathon to mention just a few, my Strava feed was full of Striders competing across the south coast.
The Friston Forest 5 & Adder 10 mile races took place on the last bank holiday Monday in May. The events were capped at 44 and 66 spaces respectively, with a much smaller field turning out on the day. However, this led to a great camaraderie between all the runners, and a friendly feel to the race briefing and start. While the Adder 10 was a mass (if you can call it that) start at 9:30am, the Friston Forest 5 was a time trial staggered start scenario, where anyone could head off after 9:40am, one at a time roughly 10 seconds apart.
For those brave enough to do 10 miles in the heat and humidity, it was a two-lap course
around Friston Forest. As it was a Club Grand Prix event, there was no surprise that all four of the Striders on the day had entered the shorter one-lap 5-mile race.
The first two miles of the course took you on the outskirts of the forest that over looked the hills out to Littlington and Wilmington, all of which was uphill! After a sharp right hander and another steep climb the course eventually began to come down on itself, much to everyone’s delight. The remaining 3 miles were an opportunity to gain back some time
on the sluggish uphill start, with the rest of the course being on gravel tracks, with only one other short steep hill to contend with.
The humidity didn’t seem to slow down Joel Eaton who not only won the race, but set a course record for the 5 miles in 31:43. Next home out of the Striders was myself in fourth place in a time of 36:51, followed by Ben Shorer in seventh place and a time of 40.01 (39.59 on his watch). Our final Strider home was Emily Eaton in 24th, who like Joel was running her third race in as many days, and as if that wasn’t enough, did it pushing the buggy and little one round in a time of 54:10.
The Race to the King ultra-marathon from Arundel to Winchester was every bit as gruelling as I thought it would be. Luckily, the weather was incredibly kind to us, given the heatwave that had just occurred a few days prior to the event. Both me and my teammate Barnaby were feeling very strong after 10 miles and, to our surprise, we were actually enjoying the event. The seven pit stops along the way broke up the 53.5 miles nicely, and seeing the large ‘1 Mile to next Pit Stop’ sign was always met with huge sighs of relief.
Unfortunately, our partnership ended after the 15th mile; right before Buster Hill (an infamously steep ascent where the army train), Barney went over on his already sore ankle (from a recent rugby injury) and we had to stop for medical attention at the second pit stop. If I thought up until that point that I had landed myself in HBO’s Band of Brothers, my suspicions were only confirmed at that medical tent.
Several people had already injured themselves, with one woman wrapped in a foil blanket,
shaking, bleeding heavily from the arm and just generally freaking out. Fearing that Barney was going to have to pull out, and feeling unnerved by the state of my surroundings, we agreed I had to push on alone. I stupidly left all my provisions in our bag with Barney in an act of solidarity, and headed on to the halfway point. To my surprise, the fellow runners and walkers were incredibly pleasant to chat with, and thus I ended up making
several friends, many of whom would soon abandon me at base-camp as I was doing the event non-stop.
In spite of the fact that some of the hills could loosely be described as mountains, I was making short work of them. I replenished well at each stop, and had managed to contact Barney to find out that he had somehow made it past base-camp (24 miles) and was soldering on despite his ankle. I could not quite believe it, and promised to slow down and wait for him at the next stop.
Barney eventually managed to make it to 30 miles, just seven behind me, before he strained his knee and had to pull out for good. I was sad and tired, but I knew at least one of us had to finish. Problems for me only began to hit home after the 42nd mile, and whilst I was making good time (45 miles in just over 12 hours), it was around this point that I
strained my anterior tibialis. For those last 5-8 miles I was limping and it was getting dark, and with no head-torch (left in the bag with Barney), I knew I had to finish soon.
At the last pit stop (49 miles), I rested with coffee for 5-10 minutes and panic started to settle in. The importance of making friends, however, was soon confirmed when Becky, a nice lady I had met at base-camp, appeared out of nowhere. I was ordered to stick with her from a crew member as she had a torch, and given my present state, I was in no position to disagree.
Becky effectively carried me to the finish line with her partner Phil (who had thrown up three times on course due to bad salmon), and because she is a regular marathon
runner, she was more than capable of finishing the course comfortably with my crippled body in tow. My Band of Brothers analogy felt complete.
The Race to the King is without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done. Becky could not believe that I had only trained for two months, nor could she believe that I had abandoned my bag whilst everyone else was carrying hundreds of pounds worth of necessities. Were it not for her, I may not have made it, but equally, given that I was crying from pain, it would have been quite inhuman to leave me at the last pit stop.
In the end, the whole course took me 17 hours, and given that my goal was 20, and the fact I was injured for the last 10 miles, I feel a huge sense of relief and accomplishment. Overall though, I made it. And we raised over £650 for a charity very close to my heart.
I am currently resting up at home, praying that my leg is just strained and not torn, while Barney is out of action for a month with strained knee ligaments. I am very proud of
both of us. I have many people to thank, especially Pete, as I imagined him behind me the whole way shouting my name, but I would like to thank the Striders, because I would never have been able to complete something like this were it not for the regular community running. So, thank you. Hope to see you all again soon!
David took part in the Race to the King to raise funds for his best friend’s charity, Charlotte’s BAG (Battle Against Glioblastoma) in memory of his sister, Charlotte Eades, who
lost her battle with brain cancer last year. To find out more and to donate, visit David’s Justgiving page.