Category Archives: Couch to 5k

Striders top the big 100 for Summer Solstice challenge


Striders set a new team record for turnout at the annual Summer Solstice 5k and 2.5k Runs with 102 seniors and juniors, swapping their usual Wednesday night training for the pacing challenge.

Watches and phones were left at home with each runner predicting their finish time before starting the seafront race. The three runners who ran nearest to their predicted time were  1st Sandra Standen (2 seconds out); 2nd Gareth Hutchinson (4 seconds) and 3rd Josh Nisbett (6 seconds). Full time and finisher results are available here .

After numbers were collected and times predicted by the runners, the race was started by a klaxon blast, courtesy of the race’s start and finish venue Newhaven & Seaford Sailing Club. The 102 runners, many in neon Striders tops, brought a wave of colour to the seafront as they ran through the sea mist. They received many shout outs from supporters along the 5k route.

The race was also one of the first events for the Striders’ newly graduated Couch to 5k group, with many group members taking part. Couch to 5k programme co-ordinator Hilary Humphreys said: “Congratulations to everyone who took part in Wednesday’s Summer Solstice 2.5k and 5k runs.  Also, many thanks on behalf of the club to Anneka and her merry band of helpers, without whom we wouldn’t have had a run.  Within the club there is, sadly, always a number who are prevented from running through injury and it was brilliant to see so many of them turning out to help showing true Striders spirit – thank you! There were a number of other Striders who simply elected to come along and encourage the Couch to 5k graduates – again,  a big thank you for your fabulous support!”

Seaford Striders Couch to 5k graduates run their first 5k race at Peacehaven parkrun

Seaford Striders’ latest Couch to 5k (C25k) group celebrated their ‘graduation’ on Saturday (June 16) by running their first parkrun at Peacehaven. The event was the culmination of nine weeks of training, taking the group from walking to a non-stop 5k run.

The 19-strong Couch to 5k group were joined on the parkrun by programme volunteers who helped with pacing, plus other runners from the club. The high turnout resulted in a new club record for participation in a parkrun. With 52 runners taking part, Seaford Striders made up a third of all the runners at Peacehaven parkrun. The sea of coloured t-shirts and mention from the race director at the start meant the group could not be missed.
A total of 48 runners completed the latest Couch to 5k programme. The group will now join Seaford Striders at their regular Wednesday night training sessions. Previous Couch to 5k graduates have progressed to running 10k and half marathons as well as competing in Sussex Grand Prix events to win points for the club. The Striders also welcome runners who don’t compete, but prefer to run with a friendly, sociable group.

Running the full 5k was a real achievement for Kim Rennie, who had tried running before but decided to join Couch to 5k for added motivation. Kim said: “One huge bonus for me is that now I want to run, rather than feel I should run. I feel more positive, focused and have more energy as a direct result of Couch to 5k. Another plus, as I love my food, running helps keep my weight in check!”

Kim was initially unsure whether she would last the duration of the course, but quickly found her fears were unfounded. “I really can’t believe how quickly the nine weeks passed by. I felt a real sense of achievement to be able to run 5k without stopping. I also felt a little sad as there is a real community feel amongst the runners. The experienced Striders were absolutely amazing – they were really encouraging and supportive. They were all so friendly and approachable that it will make it easy to keep going and join in on their Wednesday training days.”

Seaford Striders’ at Peacehaven parkrun (June 16) full results:
Dave Dunstall (19:05), Jeff Young (19:10), Josh Nisbett (19:19), Nick Farley (20:18), Joe Plant (20:48), Andy Farley (20:52), Emily Eaton (22:16), Adam Haverly (23:10), Anneka Redley (24:17), Kristy Sherry (24:20), Aaron Horney (25:08 – C25k), Graham Jones (25:12), Claire Townsend (25:16), Emily Tearle (25:32), Jazz Shiret (26:06), Emma Cooper (26:46), Emily Farley (27:10), Lindsay Tearle (27:13), Richard Honeyman (27:38), John Gillespie (28:48), Chris Wilmot (29:18 – C25k), Simon Nixon (29:18 – pacer), Paul Bowler (30:30 – C25k), Chloe Wilmot (30:50 – C25k), Julie Taylor (31:13), Lewis Woodward (32:39 – junior), Steph Woodward (32:40), Kaycia Jones (32:49 – junior), Stacey Jones (32:50), Ruth McConnochie (33:53), Chris le Beau (34:01), Sandra Standen (35:04), Tara Holmes-Ling (35:37 – C25k), Alice Lennie (35:41 – pacer), Debbie Plant (36:22 – pacer), Kerry Bunn (36:24 – C25k), Graham Little (36:27 – C25k), Denise Colvin (36:28 – C25k), Kim Rennie (36:29 – C25k), Hilary Humphreys (36:29 – pacer), Wendy Woodford (36:32 – C25k), Carol Gillespie (36:32 – C25k), Victoria Maleski (36:33 – pacer), Tom Roper (36:34 – pacer), Nicky Patching (37:15 – C25k), Sharon Plank (37:16 – C25k), Mary Murphy (37:38 – C25k), Michelle Varndell (37:40 – pacer), Fawzia Whittuck (39:19 – C25k), Alex Morris (40:39 – C25k), Rachel Lofthouse (41:08 – C25k), Claire Sayers (42:25 – C25k), Sue Wallis (42:26 – C25k).

Seaford Striders Couch to 5k returns for autumn!

Team Couch to 5k complete their first Parkrun

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!

42: The answer to life?

By Matthew Franks

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.

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.

‘An unlikely runner’ – Victoria’s Couch to 5k journey

By Victoria Maleski

Victoria enjoying the new Peacehaven Parkrun

I am not your typical runner. I guess it stemmed from comments from PE teachers and fellow pupils at school, as I was usually the last person to be picked into teams for sports… but I am fairly determined and enjoy challenging myself.

I took early retirement a couple of years back and moved back to Seaford at around the same time. I have enjoyed the new-found freedom and have used the opportunity to see what I can accomplish.

I was tempted by the random Seaford Striders Facebook advert about the c25k programme, but didn’t really make up my mind to take part until the actual day. I’m overweight, in my mid 50’s, had regularly walked our dogs, but committing to learning to run would be a massive step for me.

Any fears I had about the experienced runners looking down on us quickly disappeared – I have found everyone at Seaford Striders to be so friendly and encouraging. This has made such a big difference to my running confidence. I keep saying to myself that the only person I am running against is myself.

The first session was personally challenging, but I kept to the c25k programme, doing two sessions by myself in between the Wednesday evening Striders session. I can now look back at what all of us on the c25k programme have achieved. We may all run at different speeds and have different ambitions, but I am sure we all can feel really proud of the progress we have made. None of this would have been possible without all the Striders who have given up their running time to help us in that process. I am touched by their kindness and encouragement.

I am writing this after completing my third 5k Parkrun in 3 weeks. I still can’t believe I have managed to do this and to be enjoying it so much (well, once I finish each Parkrun!). It is tough, but there is a massive sense of achievement.

So, it is a big thank you from me to Seaford Striders and I am sure also from the other c25k “graduates”.

Thank you to Victoria for sharing her Couch to 5k journey!

Striders celebrate Peacehaven Parkrun

By Hilary Humphreys

Striders at the first-ever Peacehaven Parkrun

Saturday 20 May was the inaugural Peacehaven Parkrun in Centenary Park, Peacehaven, and Seaford Striders were out in force to celebrate having a Parkrun so close to home.

After early morning rain the weather was ideal for running, with just a slight nip in the air to keep the runners from overheating. The undulating course is run on a mixture of wide pea shingle path and grass, a three-lap route starting just east of the café, with the first lap being slightly longer than the final two.

Jason Harrold (Crawley Saints and Sinners) was first to finish in a cracking time of 18:09 and the first female across the line was Seaford Strider Emily Eaton in a fabulous time of 22:00.

You could almost have thrown a blanket over the first four Striders, who finished in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th position overall. First of them was Joel Eaton, pushing son Caleb in a  buggy, finishing in a superb time of 20:18. He was followed by Josh Nisbett who was first in his age group in 20:32. Hard on his heels was Ed Tuckley in 20:40 and Jacob Miles in 20:42.

Next to cross the line for the Striders was Dave Freeman in 21:49 and Ben Shorer in 23:06 both maybe wishing the night before hadn’t been such a long one! The youngest Strider on the course was Joe Plant and he crossed the line next in 24:11, giving him a very well deserved first slot in his age group. Simon Nixon was next to finish in 24:53, just seconds ahead of second female Strider home, Kristiane Sherry who was also first in her age group in 24:57.

Richard Honeyman finished in a reputable 26:54, just ahead of Peter Weeks 27:41 and Emma Goodwin in 29:04. Then it was the turn of the newly graduated ‘couch to 5k’ members with Debbie Plant nursing an injury but still managing a very respectable 36:13; Victoria Maleski in 37:24; Sandra Standen in 37:29 and Tina Butterworth in 40:28, all matching their last week’s scores at Preston Park – an excellent result given that this was a hillier course, so overall times were down.

A mention must also be given to Striders who, once their own race was finished looped back to run with and encourage their newer team members, or waited at the finish line to cheer them home – once again demonstrating excellent sporting camaraderie from a running club noted for their friendliness.

Thanks also from Seaford Striders to the organisers, marshals and runners at Peacehaven Parkrun for making us all so very welcome – very much appreciated!

Strider’s Couch to 5k take on Parkrun

By Hilary Humphreys

The day had finally arrived.  The newly formed Seaford Striders’ Couch to 5K group gathered at Preston Park in Brighton on 13 May with a mix of excitement, anticipation and a touch of nervousness.  This is what we had been building up to for over 9 weeks – to complete a Parkrun and achieve what some of us felt was impossible (I know I did!) – run a 5k!

Seaford Striders were out in force on the Saturday morning, which was perfect weather for running.  Ten ‘Couch to 5K’s, with many more experienced Striders, were there to help us get around. The sea of Striders’ shirts certainly grabbed people’s attention and a mention from the race director before the start ensured everyone knew why we were there.  We received a big cheer and many well wishes as we nervously walked to the start.

First to cross the line were the experienced Striders with Edward Tuckley finishing 10th in a new PB time of 18:48; followed by Scott Hitchcock in 13th place in a time of 19:09 – just two seconds off another PB.  Dave Freeman once again showed Ben Shorer the way home, with the pair finishing in times of 21:08 and 21:32 respectively.  Ben achieved a PB with his time and hard on their heels was Joe Plant, still recovering from injury and putting in a worthy time of 22:32.

Peter Weeks was next to cross the line in 23:05, just in front of Emily Eaton, first female Strider home in an excellent time of 23:45, especially so given that she was pushing one year old son Caleb in a buggy!  Next across the line was Kristiane Sherry in another great time of 23:56 and she was followed by Richard Honeyman in a PB time of 25:36.

Then it was the turn of the ‘couch to 5k’ group with Matt Franks taking the honour of first Strider from the newly formed group to cross the line in a remarkable time of 28:19. He was followed by Simon Homer in 31:14.  Crossing the line together were Stacey Jones and Joanna Simmons in equal 31:43 and they were followed by Debbie Plant in 34:59 and Rob Plant in 37:24.  Finishing with him almost in a group were Victoria Maleski in 37:25, Jo Enright, 37:28, Sandra Standen, 37:29 and Tina Butterworth in 40:12.

Mention must also be given to Striders who stayed with this new group throughout the weeks of the course and during this race, namely Emma Goodwin, Simon Nixon, Terry Ward, Tom Roper and Hilary Humphreys.  Also, the rest of the Seaford Striders who, once their own race was finished, looped back to run with and encourage their newer team members – a demonstration of excellent sporting camaraderie from a running club noted for its welcoming nature.

Thanks also go from Seaford Striders to the organisers, marshals and runners at Preston Park Parkrun for making us all so very welcome – very much appreciated!

You can read more about Debbie’s Couch to 5k journey by clicking here.

Preston Park Parkrun success for Debbie

by Debbie Plant

Debbie takes on the Preston Park ParkRun

After driving my son Joe to and from Seaford Striders for the last three years, I finally plucked up the courage to officially join when the Couch to 5k group was formed.

I have run before but very, very slowly, usually very embarrassed and with no confidence at all. A text from fellow Strider, Scott on a Friday evening was all the encouragement I needed to join him and his family at Preston Park for the parkrun on a bright Saturday morning. Joe came too, and as he has a niggling injury, came purely to pace me and keep me going.

Joe spotted a 35-minute pacer and we decided together that I would try and stick with her. I had attempted this a month ago and failed miserably. I said a quick hello to the pacer, whose name was Chris, and as we set off I told her I would try my best to stay with her, laughing at the time saying that I couldn’t possibly.

Preston Park ParkRun is basically three laps of a set route. The first mile was covered fairly speedily in 10:30, too quick for me to sustain and by mile two I could feel myself beginning to slow. Chris directly in front of me and Joe to my side wouldn’t let me fall behind and I just about managed to stay with them for the second lap. I absolutely know that I would have stopped had I been on my own, however, with Chris and Joe’s encouragement I kept going.

Lap three seemed more bearable and on the final bend Chris had to slow as she’d paced slightly too fast and I continued to the finish with just Joe beside me, encouraging me all the way. I crossed the finish line with a time of 34:28 – my first time of running a ParkRun without walking some of it and my fastest 5k to date. Not a fast time for many but for me it was just amazing!