Race Reports from China & Shoreham.
CHINA COAST HALF MARATHON
James & Becky
Becky Sutton wins the contest for the most far away race this year, reporting in from the China Coast Half Marathon:
When planning a trip to visit my brother James in Hong Kong, we decided to plan it around an event so both signed up for the China Coast Half Marathon. It was a super hilly out-and-back course and I have to admit I struggled for most of it! It was one of those days when my legs felt tired and I found pacing difficult due to the climbs. Each descent was bittersweet as I knew we’d have to climb up it again on the way back! It was a beautiful course though, with stunning views over water and mountains, as well as perfect running weather.
Fortunately James and I were well matched with pace so stuck together for most of the run. I found a short-lived second wind at the half way point, as did James who sped up and helped pace me back towards the finish. With 2-3kms to go I caught the two ladies ahead and had a final boost as we came to a very long descent to the finish. I finished in 1 hour 33 minutes 48 seconds, with James just 45 seconds behind. I was really pleased to find I had come 5th lady and 2nd in my category which meant I got a trophy presented by David Bedford, previous 10,000m world record holder and director of the London marathon for 25 years. All in all a great day!
DARK STAR MARATHON ULTRA
Gav & Anthony
Gavin Sewell reports in from the 28.2m trail marathon:
I was persuaded to sign up for this by my so called friend Ant who had done the lunatic marathon in July and said it was one of his favourites. Marathons in July always tend to be better than ones in cold, windy and muddy January, and I probably should have thought of that at the time.
The meeting point was the scout hut at Shoreham and with me and Ant changed, camelbaks on we were ready for the off along with other 100 plus other nutters all hoping the dark clouds wouldn’t turn into rain. The start was quite congested as the single track that led us by the airport and up to the footbridge was very narrow and kept us from going off to fast, which is normally the case. Once past the footbridge the riverbank opened up and we could get into our stride of 9-9.30 minute miles. The wind was behind us so gloves, hats, snoods and layers were coming off as it was so warm.
The 10 miles along the river until we hit the downs link were fairly easy but a little boggy under foot. We hit the downs link and knew there were 4 miles on solid ground until the turn point at West Grinstead abandoned train station. We got to Stan’s Cafe when the leaders started coming past us in the opposite direction and they were probably 5 miles ahead at this point. A podium finish was definitely off the cards.
Along the way I bumped into Jason Rae who I last saw at Ironman UK in Bolton last year. Obviously we had to discuss this for a while and bore the other runners around us with our tales of glory!
Hitting the half way point was great as a fantastic spread was laid on by the guys from Sussex Trail Events of roast potatoes, sausages, water melon and many more things I digested in the space of 5 minutes. Leaving the turn point full of beans and energised, me and Ant felt very confident about the next 4 miles on the downs link then the last 10 along the river. But like most tough races they come back and bite you in the arse at some point. As soon as we hit the river, the wind was in our face, this side of the river seemed boggier and harder on the legs and the cold kicked in so the gloves, hat and snood went back on. To say those 10 miles were hard would be a understatement. We left the turn point in a reasonable 2 hours 10 minutes for the first 14 miles, and we finished the race spot on 5 hours. Those last 10 miles were just as much mentally challenging as it was physically and it was very much head down one foot after the other and very little chit chat.
After finishing and receiving one of the biggest and heaviest medals ever, we tucked into chilli and hop head and started to feel good about what we had just achieved. Then it’s was home for more beer and a afternoon on the sofa. Highly recommend this event, great organisation and friendly atmosphere by volunteers and fellow runners led by race directors, our very own, Danny Cunnett, Chris Ette and Jay McCardle at Sussex Trail Events
There was a second Tuff Running, Geordie Paul Atkinson who has a great record at Sussex Trails events. Completion of this Ultra event was all the more credible as Friday night had led to excessive partying due to his 50th birthday celebrations. An overall time of 4:27, impressive in those conditions
seeded runner? Happy 50th Birthday (photo: Jon Levis)
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