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Weekend Round Up 11th 12th September

Wow, what a cracking weekend of race action, including podium positions. With so many events, Outlaw Bowood has already been published as a separate report. This still leaves a river swim, pool swim, and sea swims in France and Wales, a marathon, half marathon and 10k, Aquabike, a swim run and a tough sportive – (Oh and Tuff Fitty’s regular weekend training calendar) read on; there are some inspirational and hilarious reports:-

Paul Howie & Andy Tester – Two Tuffs Totally Top


REP’s River Adur swim and it was a bright sunny afternoon for a 5k swim this year reverting to an out and back course dodging the sandbanks along the way. Whilst starting together there were two distinct races with a ‘fins race’ amongst the standard swimmers. Despite a high level of ‘no shows’ there was a very strong showing from Tuff Fitty. How strong? Very strong is the answer as Paul Howie stroked home first in 62:41 with the only other swimmer to get close being Andy Tester in 63:23 – so a Tuff Fitty one two which justifies the above photo. Any other podiums? Yes, Steve Woodbridge strode out of the water as second swimmer in the Fins race. Back with the ‘regular’ swim, Adrian Oliver was next home followed by Lee Bishop and Barry Davids. It was a strong swim from Glenn Parisi who was ‘warming up’ for Brighton Marathon the next day. Dom Mason, Mike Barrett, Phil Turner, Claire Luckham & Katie Goddard ensured the whole Tuff contingent were well placed on the results sheet. Great work from all 12. Andy Ward, Trevor Harvey, Jane Custance, Jo Meaney and Clive Harvey were on the organising team. It is nice to have a competitors view from the afternoon and Mike Barrett and Dom Mason have both submitted reports. Mike first and then Dom:

“Some amazing swims by the Tuff contingent and with RAW energy at the front of organising the event there were some great Tuff members about marshalling (not to mention DJ Wardy banging out some classic from the likes of Whigfield!) so I won’t bore people with my little effort but what I’d like to add is this.

There are various training sessions on offer from Tuff Fitty one of them being the Captain’s Sea Swim. I was early to a session a few weeks back and the wind was super strong with waves crashing and rolling on the beach and the swell very very high; the type of conditions that kite surfers relish.

I sat on a bench waiting and I was joined by Dom and we discussed going into the sea, “if this was an event it’d be called off” we chatted and exchanged previous sea swim event experiences; then another Tuff appeared, then another and another and before long the chat and banter changed from not going init’s too rough” to, “lets get wet at least”, to finally being “right we’re here now lets head to the basket and see where it goes from there“. Before long we’re all in and we’re all swimming, we’re getting bashed, rolled around, picked up and spat out and all that nature could throw at us was there but we did it.

Was it worth it? At the time it felt irrelevant as no race would have gone ahead in those conditions, however several weeks on and swimming back downriver in the Adur, under the A27 concrete bridge the conditions had rapidly deteriorated for this section of the race, it was hard to tell if the promised tide had actually turned to swish us back home, the wind was strong and powerful, directly against us, the sun was low and dazzling and the chop and spray was relentlessly punching us in the face at every stroke. Whilst I hated that section (when will this finish my mind kept saying) I got through it due to my previous experience in the sea which I wouldn’t have done had I not been driven by the collective of Tuffs at that sea swim session”.

“Be Tuff be proud, thank you all”.


“Perfect weather, for the start and a light breeze. Lots of Tuffs swimming and volunteering. A very well organised event before, during. and afterwards. Then the event started…

1. Elbowed in the teeth (very politely), kicked in the face (with apologies) and swum over multiple times (very graciously) in a tiny channel between two sandbanks.

2. Fingers went into said sandbanks many times as I dug up several seaweed beds attempting to navigate out.

3. Field started to thin out on the turn… and then the wind picked up. Resulting waves smack into face on a regular basis. Thump thump thump.

4. Turning to breathe meant glaring sun through goggles every 5-10 seconds.

5. Cramps kicked in after 45mins and I had to do crawl arms and breast stroke kicks to shake it off.

6. Emerged after 1hr 22 minutes. Very happy as target was 85mins.
Overall: A great, challenging swim. Brilliantly organised and a ‘must do’ for next year!”



This weekend saw the annual Swimathon and whilst we had a considerable number swimming in the Adur, across at Splash Point, Oliver Thomas completed the 5,000 metre swim in 1 hour 19. Apologies if others swam this without being noticed.

Glenn’s pitstop


Brighton Marathon weekend was back, post Covid and there were several Tuffs out on the course in the marathon. First Tuff home was Jay McCardle in 3 hours 49m, a good time considering much of the press simply concentrated on the fact that the course was long by almost 500m, rather than the positives of the day. Nikki Gatland had a strong run and then our race reporter Glenn Parisi then Murray Hodge. Karly Martin completed the Tuff quintet who followed up her David Lloyd Ultra 30 miler with this marathon to help one of her friends round. Glenn’s view follows:_

“So this was to be my 8th Brighton marathon and Muz’s 10th!

Neither of us had done any training. Me because of my recent kidney stone op and general laziness and Muz cos he also ‘couldn’t be arsed’. So we’d had a chat beforehand and decided to take it easy and just have a day out. We’d spoken about jogging a bit, walking most of it, stopping in some pubs and having a couple of beers, and even having an ice cream along the way.

We were going to aim to finish just inside the 6 hour 45 minute cut off time. However, as soon as we crossed the start line Muz started to run!  WTF?!

I had to follow him… Three miles in I’m looking at my watch… 9:30 pace! I thought we’d be aiming to do at least a minute or two slower than that. I complained. Said we’d blow up and pay for it later if we didn’t slow down. Muz replied that he was feeling good and wanted to carry on.

Distraught; I told him to go on then and that I was going to slow down and go back to plan A on my own.

It felt a bit like a lovers tiff as I watched him head off into the distance and disappear out of sight up the road! Three miles later and now I’m starting to feel good.  Then suddenly I saw Muz again. I’d caught up with him. I stayed behind him for a while chuckling to myself that I’d been right and that he had indeed blown up and was now suffering!

I smugly moved up beside him and made some sort of comment (can’t remember exactly what I said but you can imagine it was pretty cocky!) At that Muz stopped and called out that he was going to adjust his shoe or something equally as lame.  What he really meant was that he was f@cked! Serves him right I thought as I ran off, still feeling good!

Half way came.. 2:14. Not bad. Maybe I should carry on properly a bit more. But by mile 17 I was feeling sick. Too many gels maybe? Or too much water. Or too much sun. It was a really hot day after all! So I nipped into a portaloo. Had a number one, a number two and a number three (quick chunder!) Feeling a bit better I carried on.

By now I was walking more than running… no sign of cramp yet but legs were feeling like lead. Got going again a bit and started to jog around the power station at miles 20, 21. I saw Muz coming towards me in the distance so picked up the pace and made myself look relaxed and chilled as we crossed. He was at least a mile behind me by now and looking completely wrecked! Serves him right!

Mile 23 I stopped at an ice cream stand on the prom. A long queue of people waiting to be served looked at me quizzically and asked if I’d already finished the race. ‘Nope, just thought I’d stop for an ice cream’. “Hey I like your style man…. Let me buy it for you.  Get to the front of the queue. You want a flake in that?” Was the reply! So I set off to do the last three miles whilst eating my ice cream. This caused much amusement for the many spectators standby nearby.

I eventually finished… (with a bit of a sprint jog) in 5:10. Fairly pleased with that really under the circumstances.

Muz finished 40 minutes or so later looking dead on his feet. As I said earlier….  Serves him right!! 🤣 A couple of beers and a bowl of pasta later and we were both feeling ok again. A great day out. Fantastic atmosphere in the sunshine, and lots of banter along the way. And only 6 months before the next one!!…….



This year Tuff Fitty had four known 10k’ers. Shelley Dodman got off to a flyer and finished as 33rd female, and 4th in her age group, a particularly good result since there were almost 2,200 runners in the 10k. Jo Meaney also ran and there were two late additions from Clive Harvey & Trevor Harvey as Clive explains, but first Shelley’s view of the event:-

On Sunday I took part in the BM10K. It had been a few years since I raced over that distance so I was unsure what kind of time I would pull out the bag.  It was perfect conditions for running, sunny but not too warm and hardly a breeze”.

“Over the first two miles I tried not to go off too fast as I’ve done this before and burn out by the half way mark. I felt comfortable in the middle part of the race and at mile five pushed the pace. I came in at a time of 45.23. Definitely the fastest 10k I can remember. I put this down to attending track on a Wednesday night. Great to be there with fellow Tuff Jo Meaney & also to see Clive & Trevor along the way”


“Having ridden the inaugural BM Ride in 2019, Covid scuppered the ride in 2020, but as myself and Trev had entered we still got the memento – branded socks and entry deferred to 2021. However two weeks ago an apology came through that they didn’t have time to incorporate the ride this year. Deferred again to 2022 but in addition we could race the 10k free of charge (getting a medal and T-shirt! -so why not). Standing in Preston Park soaking up the atmosphere of a big event was quite nice knowing that we were not about to put ourselves through a lot of pain in the marathon. So the 10k was worth doing, still plenty of support and quite nice to be able to say both Trev and myself have now got the full set – medals from each of Brighton Marathon, BM Ride and the BM 10k!”



Back in July we were contacted by Brighton Marathon Team to include Tuff Fitty in their Club Scheme which means for every 10 club entrants we get an 11th is provided free of charge – Next years race isn’t far away now – 22nd April 2022. From the post on our Club’s Spond App several Tuffs wanted to be part of the scheme. It works by our club having a central contact. As the contact for our affiliation is Clive Harvey, people were asked to let him know of their interest. Clive contacts the club scheme contact and they send an invitation out to that member to pay the entry fee. As at the weekend we had 12 included. One other had entered direct last week and it is learnt of one other entering direct yesterday. We will try to add those two onto the scheme which would be be 14 Tuffs so far. Furthermore we have two members from this year who unfortunately cant be added to the scheme as they differed their entries from this year. This last point was mentioned purely to say that have your thought about Brighton Marathon 22? Have you been inspired (or cajoled) into entering? Well you could be part of a Tuff squad of at least 16 Tuff runners (so far). Interested? contact Clive Harvey who will start the process – watch out as the £65 entry fee will escalate closer to race day.


A long established event with a history of Tuff attendance as one of the first triathlons to hit the south coast. Drew Gowland entered the Aquabike race, over a standard distance 1,500m sea swim and 25mile bike. Thanks to Drew for taking the time to report in with a great report below. The thing is our super quick Tuff is so modest so it is left to the editor to include the outcome. He claimed the fastest swim split of 23:18. There were only two competitors who completed their bike leg under the hour with Drew second fastest, but this still enabled him to cross the line 7.5 minutes ahead of the second athlete – awesome work.

“With the season (what season?) drawing to a close I needed something positive. I had cancelled my A races abroad… Almere was meant to be this weekend… I mopped up my dry tears a month or so ago and entered Bournemouth Aquabike at the “International triathlon” (still not running due to knee failures). So, swim, bike, done – still love the sound of it! Along came the day and I wasn’t ‘feeling it’ as the 0400 hours alarm went, but I drove to Bournemouth and racked up. Banter was good, weather was good, let’s hope the roads are good, sea looked too calm 😅 Anyway I made my way to the beach and felt the cooling sand between my toes. A rolling start had spread competitors out so I had decided to rein in the swim, pick off who I could and save some for the T1 run and go for it on the bike. The swim went ok, beautiful water, easy sighting and picked my way up the field. I exited the water and hobbled to the cliff path ‘run’… Up we go zigging and zagging (not the 90’s puppets!) up the cliff path emerging like a new born giraffe first trying to run into T1… A friend had come to support and guided me the correct way in, thankfully. Off with the rubber, on the the dancing shoes and lid, out of transition we go… At the mount line stepping on and getting going. The ride was slower in town, roundabouts and traffic, then onto a dual carriageway for some ‘undulating’ fun to Ringwood and back… Weeeeeeeeeee… I felt free, I felt strong, I felt I actually paced a race and it worked! Everyone who has read this far (thank you and sorry) will understand that free feeling, flying along, fresh air, some bit of fast tarmac (some standard of course), but just positive vibes. Endorphins being released leading to more energy… More energy is free speed leading to a good pace of 58 mins for the 24miles. I left feeling I had done ok and it was a good race. But importantly for me left me feeling positive towards winter, where I hope to out in some solid training. Hopefully I’ll be seeing more of you in the pool/sea, on the roads and at track. Be safe and keep well until then”


The route crosses the iconic Tyne Bridge


One for your bucket list? The Great North Run is the largest half marathon in the world taking competitors from Newcastle to South Shields. Mark Walford has done just that and sends his report:-

“In 2018 a friend took up running and was keen to do an event with a few of his mates, we chose the great North run and 4 of us went up to meet a friend who lives in Newcastle. I wasn’t much of a runner at the time but I managed to get around and my knee was sore, having liked the challenge I took up a new challenge of an iron distance lake swim which started the road to be becoming a tuff. Ever since that race we planned to go again. This year me and that friend went up to join our friend who lives in Newcastle. Lots of changes to the format but 50,000 people turned up to race was a big thrill given the pandemic. Physical I feel very different now and my plan was to enjoy it, not go crazy or get carried away, and go at a pace that feels comfy, this lasted 16km when I was just running at a pace I felt comfy at, then I noticed if I keep my pace I would be on for a pb. So I pushed myself a bit harder (well maybe alot harder) and came in at 1.29.44 15seconds faster than ever before, given the hilly nature of Newcastle I was very chuffed. My mates finished happy with their runs. Then came the fun bit eating and drinking in almost every Newcastle pub for the rest of the day. I feel lucky to have it ticked off my bucket list of events to do again. Definitely one for people to look at doing in the future if you can stand the drive”



The variety of events this week undertaken is phenomenal, and it is another very impressive achievement from our resident Geordie, Paul Atkinson:

“It’s been over 15 years since I’ve taken on an Ironman distance road ride. And fancied a crack at the self-proclaimed toughest Sportive in the South of England. How hard could it be? Done loads of training on the South Downs….”

“It was absolutely brutal. Torturous. Especially with the wrong gear ratios. And a bacon, sausage and egg bap sitting heavy in the gut for the first two hours”. 

“The course included 13 major climbs in Surrey & Kent. Starting in Wotton, the route starts in the Surrey Hills with the steep climbs of Barhatch & Coombe Lane before heading along the North Downs ridge to Kent. I swear the Barhatch Lane climb was actually vertical.”

“The toughest part of the route is the 50km between Sevenoaks & Redhill with some super punchy climbs including Toys Hill & Chalkpit Lane before coming back into Surrey for a sharp last 20km over Leith Hill, including the never-ending Coldharbour Lane out of Dorking”.

“And at 180km, with 3km to go, when I was bleeding from my eyeballs and wondering how much I could sell my bike for, I hit a pothole on a fast downhill and had an instantaneous back tyre blow out. Drew was just ahead and headed for home. Had an absolute mare getting back on the road. Back wheel had jammed due to force of pothole, pump kept unscrewing the valve, and the gas canister from very kind passing cyclist blew the tyre off the rim. By which time the organisers had taken down the direction arrows and I missed the turn for the finish”.

“In numbers…..over 3,000m of elevation, 185km and an arse-aching 9+ hours in the saddle. Never again. Ever. I mean it”.

Key Climbs:

Barhatch Lane  – 1.4km,  6.7% average gradient
Coombe Lane – 1km, 7.9%
Box Hill – 2.7km, 4.5%
Toys Hill – 2.6km, 6.7%
White Lane – 0.6km, 12.8%
Chalkpit Lane – 1.6km,  8,2%
Coldhabour Lane – 3.1km, 4.6%



Next up a report from one of our swim specialists Susan Douglas:

I went to Marseille this weekend to take part in Le Défi de Monte-Cristo event. 3 days 9 swims. I was down for a 2.5k on Saturday and 6k Sunday.

The weather was hot and sunny and the sea temperature 23c, fabulous conditions to swim in.

The 2.5k was a nice warm up swim, starting in the water before setting out on a vaguely triangular course before heading back in to the finish. Despite the temperature probably three quarters were in wetsuits so I was quite pleased to finish 134 out of 337 and 43rd woman out of 148.

Next day was the big race. 352 swimmers taken out by boat to the Château d’If a former prison situated on a small island which was made famous when Alexandre Dumas used it as the setting for The Count of Monte Cristo. Anyway we were dropped off and after a quick briefing had to leap into the sea ready for the start. The route seemed simple enough, head straight out probably for about 1.5k, turn right at the buoy, swim between the two islands and then follow the coast back to the swim village! All went pretty much to plan, I drafted a bit, probably too much as on a couple of occasions the person in front wasn’t going in quite the right direction, but plenty of support in kayaks to set us straight. Finally with the end was in sight, an over friendly jelly fish thought it would just gee me up a bit, by stinging my arm and the side of my head! No worse than a stinging nettle so I’m still alive. Cracked on to the finish in 2hrs 16 mins, a bit slower than I’d hoped, but good enough. A brilliant fun event. I received a wooden medals, t shirts and two bars of soap!




Set in the harbour village of Charlestown in Cornwall, where there was a choice of two Swim Run Races, an 11 stage or a 7 stage, Karen Napleton took part and sends in her report:-

“After taking part in my first SwimRun in the Gower at the end of July I thought I should practice what I’d learned and squeeze in a second sea based SwimRun before the summer was out. I entered the St Austell Hokey Cokey on Saturday”.

“The short course swim was about the same as the Gower at 2.8km but a little less running; 8km this time. It still felt pretty full on but this time I was feeling happier on both the swim and run… even enjoyed both 😉 Apart from an over enthusiastic 6ft competitor trying to swim over and into me twice (I stood my swim ground) I finished relatively unscathed, hurrah. Better still I finished in the top twenty and was the 6th woman over the finish line but … and this is my fave fact, I was the first woman over 50 to cross the finish line”.

“Roll on next year and more swim running 🙂 I’ll be at Outrun Cancer and looking forward to it”


The villa’s pool


Spaces have been taken for the Tuff tour out to Majorca, but there are still other places available. Mike Barrett has asked us to remind members of this training camp scheduled for April 20th 2022 (although there is flexibility if you wish to go earlier and/or stay longer). Mike has constructed a very good website, so please see the following for further details. Any questions please feel able to contact Mike direct

There is still time to join the inaugural Tuff Tour de Majorca

A few reasons to join us

  • Cheap Flights which are still available
  • Cheap yet descent accommodation with pool
  • 2 hour flight time
  • Easy and accommodating transfer
  • Amazing Open Water to explore
  • Excellent outdoor 50m pool
  • Some awesome bike and run routes to explore
  • Yoga sessions in the morning
  • Strength and Conditioning classes
  • Evening Quiz (With Wine)
  • Excellent and wonderful memories


Nicole Patterson-Lett took part in a swim around Abereiddy Bay. The occasion was The Blue Monster, a swim across the bay into the blue lagoon. However the event instructions warned that the event was tough and should only be attempted by competent swimmers – good swimming ability and navigational skills. Conditions underlined this with swell and chop making it a race of endurance, plus an Australian exit. Of course with Nic’s strong swim, she met all the requirements and despite the cold, she finished a superb 4th position overall and second lady.



Bushy Park parkrun is where parkrun first started in 2004 and has attracted over 2,500 runners at a single run. Alistair Evans completed the course this week.

Worthing parkrun saw Les Pearce ran as did Elaine Rousseau with Amanda de Ridder volunteering.

At Littlehampton park run, Adrian Oliver was our sole representative this week ahead of his Adur swim in the afternoon. Nick Hartfield was on the volunteer team.

There was an impressive performance from Ed Lay at Hove Prom parkrun. Ed ran from Worthing all the way to Hove making the start line in time for the parkrun covering over 16 miles – great work.