Saturday 28th January brought the eagerly awaited return of the Great River Run (AKA the GRR), a coastal trail starting from the pier by Shoreham Fort, via Worthing Pier, and finishing at Littlehampton Pier.
With illness and ‘washing machine deliveries’ leaving a few non-starters, and logistical issues a couple of late joiners, our starting line-up – consisting of Clive Patterson-Lett (in luminous white leggings), Clive Harvey, Graham Liddell, Paul Martin, James Oram, Bec Day, Mark Day, Sim Scott, Jon (Five Cakes) Roper, Catharine Western, Muz Hodge and Debra Cauchy-Duval – were waved off by Tiff Orton into a strong headwind for the 14 mile route along the promenades. Sadly, Graham’s plans for a game of ‘Name that Tune’ (one for the kids, Google it) were thwarted by a threat of physical ‘restraint’ by Five Cakes, so we had to make do with other forms of entertainment from the ever-creative Graham. The attachment of balloons to his ‘bum bag of power’ provided the windswept gaggle with an early, colourful display of athletic prowess.
Debra, Bec, Catharine & Simone Graham shows his ‘athletic prowess’
Onwards past the Widewater Lagoons to a refuelling/photo/regrouping opportunity at Lancing bandstand, where we heard GI issue-inducing tales of Sim’s recent dog walking exploits. By this point the earlier chill was beginning to give way to clear blue skies and sunshine, with James having the last laugh after previous jibes of his ‘near naked’ running attire. Hitting Worthing we were met by the oncoming rush of Parkrunners, before branching off for the obligatory detour to the end of the pier for another photo opportunity. We lost two runners at this point, with Mark heading home and CPL disappearing off in the distance like a bolt of (very white) lightning. Two down, but one gained, as ‘International Horse Vet’ Andy Crawford galloped towards us, having ran from Littlehampton to join the gang.
Limited shelf-life games of ‘guess how many beach huts’ entertained us as far as the landmark half-way point George V shelter, from there passing the Sea Lane Café before dropping on to the greens of Goring Gap and in to Ferring. Another runner gained here, with Paul Howie also having ran from Littlehampton following his earlier limousine duties (thank you Paul!). Here we met a runner undertaking a charity run around the coast of Britain, now that’s epic! A big hello, well done and keep up the great work to Simon, doing ‘just a little run’ for the Ecologia Youth Trust (facebook.com/remembersimon),
Through East Preston and by now talk was turning to the hearty breakfasts that lay ahead. A seemingly never-ending procession of greenswards took us on to Rustington, past the familiar sight of the Leisure Centre and the end in sight. By this point there were three groups, with the testosterone-fuelled frontrunners leading the charge past East Beach Café and on to the finishing post at the end of Littlehampton Pier.
Paul H, Muz, Jon, Clive H, Andy, Paul M, James
It was all smiles here as were met by Tiff who dished out hugs and took jubilant photos of the hungry and weary warriors. Battled resumed at the Look and Sea Café with a post-run refuelling, where we were joined by Mrs IHV Ellie for a carb-fest of cooked breakfasts and cuppas. All went down an absolute storm, though Graham somehow ended up with a breakfast-for-three…
Well; 14 miles does work up an appetite!
Chairman Clive provided the perfect finishing touch, with a shiny GRR medal for all runners. A great morning, in a great place, with great company. Don’t you just love the Tuffs?