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Weekend Round Up 26th 27th June


Raw Energy’s Iron distance River swim in the Arun is always popular with club members and this year was no exception. There were 14 Tuffs swimming and a further 7 on the REP organising team. Photos courtesy of Sussex Sport photography, with our banner picture at the holding pen at Ford.

As many will testify, with the River Arun being the second fastest flowing river in the UK, there is the opportunity to get a good time if navigation is sound around the turns of the river across the 3,800m course. The 303 finishers highlighted the impact Covid restrictions had as normally 450 swimmers slide into the river at Ford.

The event had attracted plenty of rapid swimmers but the Tuffs acquitted themselves in excellent style. Drew Gowland was second overall in just 44:19. With Drew having started a new career, training has been put on the back burner. In light of this Drew had stated he wasn’t expecting much, but this was a fabulous result – congratulations Drew. Of course we still had plenty of swim specialists with Paul Howie next Tuff home – 5th overall. Andy Tester stroked home in 8th overall. Nikki Gatland was 12th and third female overall, just 40 seconds behind first position. Mark Walford was 20th meaning there were 5 club members in the top 20 – superb work.

The good news continued as more Tuffs exited the slipway at Fishermans Hard by the RNLI station; Adrian Oliver, Barry Davids Charlotte Lattin Rawstrone, Dom Mason, James Brock and Jo Meaney all returning times under 58 minutes. To complete the club participants Nicole Ewer, Janet Shepherd and Claire Moyle rounded up a very strong display of swimming for our club. Of course for any event to succeed marshals are required so thanks to event manager Debbie Boxall, and marshals Andy ward, Dan Fitzgerald, Glenn Parisi, Jon Roper Sheila Bayley & Tiff Orton.

Dom – left before, and right after!

Thanks to Dominic Mason for this thoughts on the afternoon

“I was well prepared for the swim with plenty of practice sessions. The Tuff’s assembly at the holding field was great to see, and also meet some new faces. The swim went well, I had targeted 55minutes and finished in 56minutes (I did 600m of meandering off the official distance, which is not great… must practice sighting more… also had slipping/leaking goggles issues, but had back-up pair (top tip!)). However, when I attempted to stand up on the exit ramp, I failed due to cramp in one thigh and the front of both calves. Hilariously painful. Helpful marshall dragged me from the river for all to see! Anyhow, will undertake a good stretch and multiple salty isodrinks before the next one!”



Further along the coast at Brighton saw the 84th staging of the Pier to Pier swim run by Brighton Swimming Club; the oldest such club in the country. The route is a 1k swim between the West Pier and Palace Pier. Swimmers used to jump off West Pier to start but since it is now derelict the start is adjacent on the beach. Just one Tuff participant Katie Goddard who entered the wetsuit race. There was also a skins event and for the first time 2021 saw a ‘Challenger Wave’ to cater for the growing band of open water swimmers who prefer ‘non competitive’ swimming. Katie did well finishing 20th overall.

Trev & Clive at Woolacombe


Clive Harvey reports from The North Devon Half which he accomplished with twin Trevor and their elder brother:-

A useful way to combine a race with a family weekend break, this was mine and Trev’s fourth time at this North Devon race, although elder brother has clocked up more including some of the marathons on the same day. The half has enough to keep everyone occupied. The start at Woolacombe takes runners straight into the sand dunes behind the beach to get the heart pounding as you struggle for traction up inclines to get onto the coastal path. From here the route takes runners around the cliff edge of Baggy Point. The strong wind did its best to slow progress and a short sharp shower occurred, but the scenery is stunning throughout as runners ran down onto the sand at Croyde Bay. Normally sunbathers look up bemused, but the beach was quiet this year due to the conditions, although the stream across the beach did its best to give shoes a good soaking. Around to Saunton and then the intensity really built as the only way was up. The first climb was so steep it was steps all the way only to see a descent followed by another climb up to Croyde village and back to Woolacombe; just short of 2,000ft ascent over the 13.5 mile course. Crossing the line gained a medal and a cream tea, and it was interesting when someone in the crowd asked ‘Tuff Fitty aren’t you from Worthing’ so it appears Tuff brand awareness continues.


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Marathon Madness at Highdown


It is good to see Sussex Trail Events getting their races going again, run by our very own Jay McCardle, Danny Cunnett & Chris Ette – and the Marathon Madness has just completed. Runners could enter 5 in 5 days marathons, 3 in 3 or run Halfs. We have a great tale of three days from Jason Rae :_

“At the start of marathon madness I told Jay Mccardle I would go along to help with registration and maybe run a few of them. For anyone who have not heard he organises 5 nights of lapped marathons and half marathons in the Worthing area.
Night 1 was from the Rowing club up and down the park run route.
The first few laps were ok , I could see Jon Babbage up front with the leaders as I plodded round. Shelley Babbage was doing the half. The route was a mind numbing up and back along Worthing prom 8 times getting lonelier as the half marathon runners completed their runs. I eventually finished Monday’s run & thoughts turned to Tuesday:-

Night 2 – I went along for another go from Sea Lane Cafe to Gand Ave and back – 10 times.
Jon Babbage was running again but after 5 laps I Stopped. The sheer boredom of running up and down the prom again had made me question how important doing a marathon for the sake of it was. You were right Lee Bishop !! Jon stopped 1 lap later.

Night 3 – Wednesday night was from Highdown Hill Car Park – an off-road marathon with hills and I was sort of looking forward to this one just for the fact there was no prom running. Geordie Paul and Jon Babbage were running too so we all set off together. I thought this would be tough but mentally it was the easiest of the week. The views were stunning on the top of Highdown on each of the 10 laps. Jon Called it a day at halfway again so put in a quick last lap. Geordie pushed on after 7 laps and I finished a short while after him to complete my 85th marathon. 
The Sussex Trail Events races are all really friendly, well organised races. Everyone leaves their egos at home and comes along for a bit of fun at the same time as challenging themselves.
Thanks to the Tuffs who came along or were just out running that took time to say hello,  Dom, Phil, Lee, Jimbo and anyone else I’ve missed”


May be an image of Helen Bull and pool


We are proud of all our Tuff coaches, most of which have just completed a safeguarding course. We do need to give a special mention to Helen Bull who has just completed her latest swim qualification – the STA Aquatic Tutor course. This is one Helen was particularly keen on achieving as it completes her set of Aquatic qualifications. It is difficult to keep abreast of all the qualifications she has gained as she has such a thirst for knowledge. Congratulations Helen, you are a source of inspiration.