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Weekend Round Up 22nd 23rd June

This Round Up starts with events from earlier in the week including races from last Wednesday evening and over the period, many more great Tuff challenges completed:-

Ardingly Lake


The annual June swim at Ardingly Lake on a Wednesday evening. Run by Hedgehog Tri, competitors had a choice of swimming between long course , 3k, standard 1,5k or 750m. There was a trio of Tuffs pulling on their wetsuits with excellent effect all swimming long course – 3k. Nikki Gatland did exceptionally well exiting the water in just 43.55 which earnt her 1st Female overall. There was a further strong showing from James Togneri in 50.41 1st in his BTF category and Pete Littleboy exiting in 62.22 A great evening’s work from Nikki, James & Pete. Also congratulations to Andy Tester who came 5th overall who has just started joining us on track night

David Lloyd to David Lloyd.


A very successful inaugural new race – the David Lloyd ultra organised by our own Jason Rae at Southern Multisports. Not only success on the organisation but Tuff success in the event as well. Jay McCardle was 3rd overall and Danny Cunnett 4th. Jon Babbage was 7th overall all three completing the 41 mile ultra. Paul Atkinson was 8th in the 30 mile ultra. As well as our ultra four there was a full Tuff Relay team with TimMcGrath in another. James Brock has reported in with a competitors view and secondly the organisers perspective from Jason. :-

Shelley & Jon Babbage, Elle Williams, James Brock & Matt Whittaker

“Strange to think I shared a special day today with Jonathan Babbage as he completed his first ultra marathon, the reason I say strange is because until recently we had never met. This is one the many beautiful gifts of being a Tuff. A casual throwaway comment on our ‘closed running page’ Anyone want to run a relay ultra marathon? Next thing I know I join Shelley Babbage, Elle Williams & the legend known as Matthew Whittaker for a 40 mile relay with Jonathan staying with me, Shelley & Elle for the majority of his ultra. I did the first leg, just shy of 10 miles over Highdown, up through Angmering Park & onto the Downs. It was quite funny running through a field where the farmer had just released 100’s of sheep for us to negotiate past! Pleased to report we all made it home with new & existing friendship’s cemented. Valiant effort by Jonathan. He looked fresh as a daisy at the end. A fantastic race that I’m sure will grow in popularity over the years. Maybe we can get a mini bus together next year…


“As I’ve not done many activities recently due to a couple of injuries I thought I would write a report about my first venture into organising an Ultra Marathon.

About a year ago I was probably sat in the Jacuzzi at David Lloyd recovering from that mornings Ultra or Marathon when I started thinking about how I could get from David Lloyd Worthing to David Lloyd Brighton on foot. I knew it was about 15 miles along the coast but that would be too easy and far too many busy roads to cross.

Having spent a few Monday night runs with the Tuffs in the Angmering Woods and Highdown, and also running on the SDW lots of times the route began to emerge. One of the best races I’ve taken part in is Sussex Trail Events London to Brighton Ultra which joins the SDW for about a mile at Black Cap and finishes on Brighton seafront right next to David Lloyd in the Marina.  The route was born. After a chat with DL permission was granted as I’ve organised a few triathlons there and its now the only multi sport event I now organise.

Ultra running is very niche and the prospect of 40 hilly miles puts some people off (well , lots of people actually).  Whilst studying the route I noticed the 3 checkpoints very conveniently fell at 10, 20 and 30 miles so I thought why not add a team event and also stick a 30 mile finish line in at the top of Ditchling to cater for marathon runners who could add a few miles to their distance without completely breaking them. The Southdowns way relay has recently ceased but was incredibly popular so this first year a handful of teams would help the event establish itself.

Marketing included finding the right platform to advertise on, flyering at local trail races and generally posting on FB as much as I thought I could without people thinking I was over bombarding them.

Always wanting a great race experience myself I try to give as much as possible so for this and with the backing of David Lloyd again we truly pushed the boat out offering t shirts, medals, well stocked feed stations, and some body shop products .  Our USP was that after the race the competitors would also be able to use the sauna, Jacuzzi, pool etc , not something you find in church halls, scout huts or farmers fields for most trail marathon start/finish points.

I had an idea of about 40-50 runners on race day but the uptake for the relay was so good that we ended up with 100 runners over the 3 distances including the 15 teams of 4

The weeks running up to race day were quite busy answering emails, sending out gpx routes, race briefs , purchasing equipment, medals, race numbers, printing start sheets, risk assessments and reccying each part of the route.

The day before race day was spent cycling the route marking the course. We are trying to use as little single use plastic as poss so have recycled high viz vests with medal ribbons attached as race markers instead of plastic tape, stopped using plastic cups and only try to order what we need so as little as possible is thrown away afterwards.

The one thing I have no trouble with is finding marshals. I’ve learnt from the parkrun I used to organise that as long as you give marshals something that they are confident doing, they have as great a day as the runners and usually come back again to help out .  Danny Cunnett came with me to mark some of the route on Saturday, Linda Wright and Simon Thistlethwaite did an excellent job on the aid stations and Jay McCardle helped on registration before running. The marshals make these events easy to organise and they give the runners so much encouragement that I can’t thank them enough. Once the race brief was done and we got them under way all the nerves disappeared and I spent the day moving about the course checking the route, the runners and the marshals. Everyone finished including a relay team of Tuffs,  Shelley Babbage, Matt Whittaker, Elle Williams and James Brock. Geordie Paul fresh from a night out ran the 30 mile ultra and Jay McCardle finished 3rd in the 40 mile with Danny and Jonathan Babbage doing his first Ultra not far behind.  Tim McGrath spread the word to the Striders and he raced in their colours in one of two teams that entered.”

“Next year we will be doing this race in reverse to mix things up a bit.”

“Next event is the David Lloyd Triathlon on Jul 21st, those Tuffs who raced last year know its one of the best value for money triathlons you will enter. If you are not racing currently but still want to be involved we have lots of marshal roles to fill”


John & Karen McGrath with Sue & Liam


Karen & John McGrath travelled to Newton Abbott for The Dartmoor Classic Sportive with John’s brother and wife. The event attracts cyclists from around the world and typically sells out fast. A tough sportive, where lights were required in case of the infamous Dartmoor mist. So who better to tackle this than Karen & John with Karen reporting on the ride:-

“At 107 miles and 10,000 ft of climbing, the Dartmoor Classic lives up to its billing as one of the best sportives in the UK, attracting more than 4000 riders each year.
The stunning views of the moor and pretty little villages help take the mind off the pain  of the constant ups and downs (this is Devon after all).
John McGrath took on the full challenge and blasted around the course in 5 hours 43 mins, after finding a group of equally committed riders in his starting pen. A sportive is, of course, not a race, but with a timing chip and a target for gold standard   the race is on.
John’s time put him second fastest in his age group (old gits)and in the top 10 overall. It also meant he was back at base before the rain started and an hour and a half within the gold time standard.
Karen opted for the medio course  with 67 miles and 6191 ft elevation. This route still took in the two big (20%) climbs of Beckaford and Holme Chase in a circuit taking in Princetown. She finished in 4.35, which included a stop long enough to test out the sandwiches, pies and cakes on offer at the well stocked feed station. She was delighted to still achieve gold (especially as she also met the time for the men’s 50 + gold standard).
If anyone fancies a trip to Devon this sportive is highly recommended. It is a club run event, with an army of cheerful volunteer helpers and marshals. Entries open in the autumn and usually sell out within a couple of days.


Just some of the Team – Wendy second left


Next up a report from a Tuff undertaking a Half Marathon. Nothing unusual in that, but there was a special reason and record attempt as Wendy Frost reports:-

“Swansea Half Marathon.  Advertised as a ‘flat and ‘fast’ course, but out and back along the bay and exposed to all elements with no real shade or wind protection.”

“A long way to go for a run, but I had entered as part of a team of type 1 diabetics aiming to break the world record for the number of type 1’s completing a half marathon together.  The weekend started with a meal on the Saturday night with a bunch of people I had never met before.  Thankfully all were in the same position not knowing each other.  Some were seasoned champions and some wouldn’t describe themselves as runners and would walk the event.  We totalled up 611 years living with type one between a group of about 15 or so at the meal.  The oldest was Peter at the age of 65 having had type 1 for 62 years!”

“The morning began with us meeting at the start for team photos. This took many attempts as people struggled with their insulin pumps, high and low blood levels and last minute equipment failures.  My bloods did their typical peak as the adrenaline kicked in.  This results in sluggish muscles and nausea.  Gently I dosed a bit more insulin to try and get the balance right, but then still started the race higher than I wanted.  I knew this wasn’t going to be a PB race, but would do my best for the group. I stayed in front of the 2 hour pacer for the first 5 or so miles.  The conditions were very hot and humid and by this time my blood glucose had reached 15.  It’s not advised to exercise over 12 so I grappled with my sweaty pump to try and dose some more insulin , but the buttons wouldn’t work with my sweaty fingers.  I managed eventually to get things working and plodded on having lost sight of the pacer.  I decided at this point that it would be too uncomfortable and risky to push too hard and risk not finishing so continued on at a pace I knew I could sustain.  I ran the event alone, as I didn’t find anyone in the team that was my pace. ”

“After the half way turn the wind picked up, more pleasant to feel the breeze, but harder going to push against and it was still so humid.  The crowds were super supportive and Jon tried his best on his bike to pop up at various points en route to cheer me on.”

“Well I finished, along with the rest of our team, sadly there were a few collapsed athletes around the course and one man died at mile 13, which put a dampener on the event (RIP).  It was wonderful for the first time to run with other  people who truly understood the battle of competing with type 1, spurring each other on!  Unfortunately we don’t know if we got the record.  Not every type 1 was registered with our group and the organisers wouldn’t divulge the number of type 1 athletes entered due to confidentiality clauses.  Guinness had already demanded £500 to verify the record and then decided that they couldn’t be party to a world record based on a disability – they didn’t understand that we were actually celebrating our amazing ability! “

“The weekend was made complete by meeting up with a work colleague in Swansea who I hadn’t seen for 15 years and who did well feeding me post race. The team will be trying again next year and also at Liverpool Marathon and half, but I think I’ll give those a miss – I’ve encouraged the team to try out the Brighton events at some point, so watch this space….”



Next up a report from Meg Gritton who travelled up to Ipswich and the nearby Alton Water reservoir. These Great Swims are major events with swim waves starting at 8am and running through to 1:30. Meg takes up the story:-

“Decided to have another go at this swim having previously taken part in 2010 and 2012. Its a great venue and with over 2000 swimmers doing different distances it makes for an awesome day. “

“I checked in for my wave at 11pm they had a small area for a warm up, temp 19 so not bad at all. After a quick exercise session by an extremely funny guy I headed to the start.”

“Gun went off at 11.30, after finding some free water it was very calm swimming up to the green and yellow buoy just before the Pink half way mark, then it all changed rather quickly the water became extremely choppy going down the middle of the lake to the finish which made spotting hard with water splashing up every time you looked up to see the way.”

“The event is so well organised, with a great goodie bag containing a Cliff Bar, Sample of Joint Tablets (think someone’s trying to tell me something lol) a T Shirt and of course the awesome Medal.”

“On checking my Mile times for 2010 (40.55) and 2012 (35.27) I was quite please to finish in 36.27. Really enjoying my swimming so will need to see where to go next”

#keep swimming…..




Wednesday evening saw the Bracknell Forest Five, an event through a forest covering grass trails and gravel paths. Trevor Harvey undertook this race as a shakedown after the Windsor Tri at the weekend and was pleased to travel home with a goody bag and a time that was quicker than the previous year.


Tuff Fitty’s weekly sea swim is finally producing some nice summer conditions as this week’s banner shoot shows. Sunday’s swim saw a grand total of 20 swimmers at various points in the afternoon. Whilst Worthing Triathlon on Sunday 30th could well suppress numbers for the coming weekend, the scheduled swim is for 11am. Please ask on our Tuff Fitty Swim Group Facebook page to ensure others will be there. For those swimming, please bring a brightly coloured swim cap. Some shots of Tuffs in rubber are shown below – click on the photo for the album:-

<Tuff sea swim June 19>


At Littlehampton Park Run Adrian Oliver was first Tuff home in 24:40; Jane Bridgeman was next, Horsham Park Run saw Ian & Leigh Moore ran around together. Up at Maidenhead Park Run, Trevor Harvey was in action again. This left Worthing Park Run where Ed Lay was first Tuff home followed 18 seconds later by Chris Sloggett. Tim Kenny was next clocking up his 65th Park Run with Elaine Rousseau completing her 75th Park Run

Please keep the reports coming to :-