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.

 

 

Michael takes on Iceland double marathon challenge 

Strider Michael Treacy is raising funds for the Seaford Down’s Syndrome and Special Needs Support Group – by running two marathons in two days in Iceland this August.

Taking in the Laugavegurinn Trail, the 74km course traverses mountains, icy rivers and volcanic wastelands – quite the challenge!

Michael is looking to raise £1,825 for the Seaford Down’s Syndrome and Special Needs Support Group, an organisation which provides regular activities such as swimming and music classes for children with Downs Syndrome.

“Downs Syndrome is a disability that has always been very close to my heart as two of my younger cousins have this condition,” he says.

“I want to raise money for this amazing charity that tirelessly provides hope and support for children with special needs.”

To find out more about Michael’s challenge and to donate see his Virgin Money Giving page.

Summer Solstice Run 2017: Results

It was one of the hottest days of the year – and the Striders were out in force to mark the Summer Solstice with the annual 5k dash along the seafront.

Everyone was welcome to join the race, with the juniors tackling a 2.5k course while the seniors took on the full 5k out-and-back route.

The temperature might have taken the edge off the times, but the sunshine brought out the smiles – and it was a wonderful evening topped off with a dip in the sea followed by a drink at the Newhaven & Seaford Sailing Club afterwards.

Check out the results below, and don’t forget to click on the Seaford Striders Flikr page for all the photos.

Striders’ spirit at the Seaford Half Marathon

Joel competing in the Seaford Half

By Joel Eaton

The Seaford Half Marathon on 12 May concluded a special weekend that showed off the wider benefits of being part of Seaford Striders. The support, encouragement, and team spirit that was on show for the culmination of the couch-to-5k group at Preston Park Parkrun on Saturday was once again on display for Sunday’s Seaford Half Marathon.

The mostly off-road race starts and finishes on the promenade and takes in Bishopstone village, veers through Rathfinney Wine Estate, joins the South Downs Way to Alfriston, and then drags you through the Cuckmere Valley and over Seaford Head. Scenic? Yep. Hilly? Absolutely. This is a tough course but one that should hold no surprises for Striders as it encompasses sections of regular summer routes.

Race day itself was dry, although residual rain from the night before provided some slippery sections along the Cuckmere river. With Striders, en masse at the finish line, the Bishopstone Road crossing and the first water station and then scattered throughout the route, there can be no complaint of any lack of encouragement and friendly faces cheering club members on.

Myself, Dave Dunstall, Billy Moakes, Scott Hitchcock, and Emily Eaton were all present on the start line, with Scott having to be restrained from leading an impromptu fitness class, while we all waited patiently for the time keeper (an idea for the Mince Pie Ten, perhaps?!?)

Having the support from your club all the way around a race is a great feeling (special mention to Pete for some uphill pacing!), and once again proudly showed off the friendly and encouraging team spirit that defines the club.

Results for Seaford Half: Joel Eaton, 01:26:43, (3rd place); Dave Dunstall, 01:38:43, (13th place); Billy Moakes, 01:39:16, (14th place); Scott Hitchcock, 01:41:51 (19th place) and Emily Eaton, 01:57:49.

David tackles ultra-marathon for Charlotte’s BAG

David is raising funds for Charlotte’s BAG

Strider David Ainsworth is taking on the 53-mile Race of the King Ultra Marathon this weekend to raise funds for his best friend’s charity, Charlotte’s BAG (Battle Against Glioblastoma).

Charlotte Eades, his best friend’s sister, lost her battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rare brain cancer, early last year. Her charity, Charlotte’s BAG helps fund research into brain tumours and ultimately aims to eradicate this form of invariably fatal disease.

Alongside his friend Barnaby, David hopes to complete the ultra marathon route from Arundel to Winchester in under 20 hours.

If you’d like to help and make a donation, David’s JustGiving page has further details: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/CharlottesBAG

The pair have already raised more than £500 put it would be great to see that climb!

Best wishes to David and Barnaby from all at Seaford Striders!

Club Grand Prix 2017 – Standings after eight races

Eight races in to the Seaford Striders Club Grand Prix and the race is on!

On Saturday 10 June the Striders took on the Peacehaven Parkrun again, the eighth date in the Club Grand Prix diary.

Despite the heat on a gloriously sunny day, some excellent times were posted – congrats go especially to Hilary, who posted a PB time to lead the age grading ranks by quite a margin!

Her speedy result means that she has caught Emily Eaton in the women’s league, with the pair tied on exactly 100 points.

For the men the field is a little more stretched out, with Ben Shorer out in front on 115 points, leading Ed Tuckley in second on 94 points.

It’s fantastic to see the league tables grow as the Couch to 5k ‘graduates’ join the field!

Want to take part in the Club Grand Prix but not yet run a race? There’s still time! Points count from a minimum of six and a maximum of 10 races, with seven still to come.

The next event is the Peacehaven Parkrun on Saturday 1 July. Come and race, and get some points! Just don’t forget that vital barcode and to register in advance if you haven’t already.

 

Peacehaven Parkrun results 10 June:

Joshua Nisbett 19:57
James Smith 20:30
Edward Tuckley 20:46
Ben Shorer 22:23
Joe Plant 23:27
Simon Nixon 24:24
Matt Franks 24:43
Kristiane Sherry 25:07
Hilary Humphreys 25:11
Richard Honeyman 27:02
Emma Goodwin 28:52
Tom Roper 30:29
Simon Homer 30:38
Victoria Maleski 35:48
Sandra Standen 35:54
Robert PLANT 37:06

‘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!