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Weekend Round Up 25th 26th June

Just another weekend of Tuff activity?….; far from it. There has been so much incredible action from around the UK & overseas that one ‘Weekly Round Up’ just isn’t sufficient. Therefore the news is split into three. This article, and then fully justifiable two further articles; one for Tom Goddard’s superlative fund raising ride along the South Downs and secondly our incredible trio out in Montreal; so settle down with a cuppa, because in addition to our usual weekend trail run, pool swim and club cycle, feast your eyes on the following:-


Ironman Frankfurt is a venue that several Tuffs know well, but none more so than Craig Hunter who returned and delivered another incredible performance. The swim is in the man made lake of Langener Waldsee outside Frankfurt. A two lap course with an Australian turn, saw Craig exit the swim in just 59 minutes. Then it was onto the bike for the 113 miles course (with 6,300ft of ascent). Whilst there are smooth road surfaces, through the villages cobblestones can be found, but Craig flew round the course in just 5 hours 2 minutes. Then the full marathon out and back along the Main river (4 laps) with the business district of Frankfurt on the skyline. Craig’s marathon time was 3 hours 4 minutes. Add all this together and Craig triumphed around the course in just 9 hours 15 minutes – incredible. Justifiably Craig takes this week’s banner photo above & his result saw him finish 66th overall and 2nd in his age group:- Craig reports:-

“Whilst I did manage to qualify for Kona, I haven’t taken the slot this time”.

“Thanks to my regular swim group (mainly Tuff Fitty members) who make swimming so much more enjoyable. Had a good day over in Frankfurt and surprised myself after not racing an Ironman for a couple of years”.


Tuffs poised to start up at Ford


A traditional favourite of Tuffs – Raw Energy’s River Arun swim from Ford down to Littlehampton on slack water. Thanks to Gavin Sewell for sending in his thoughts of the day which was his first instalment of a busy weekend racing. .

“I booked this swim and the next day’s trail marathon as a big training weekend for Ironman Wales in September”.

“First was the Raw Energy Ironman swim, which I’ve done a few times before and is always a very well run event. I picked up Drew and we headed off. Meeting up with several Tuffs at the RNLI before we jumped on the coaches. It was my first open water swim in over a year, and I had forgotten how crazy and fun mass starts are. It was all arms and legs and took me 10 minutes to find some clear water ahead of me”.

“It was quite choppy in places, and I felt like I was swimming hard. But soon I settled into a rhythm.”

“I could feel my wetsuit rubbing on my neck about halfway through so knew that would hurt later”.

“When Wardy pulled me out of the water at the finish and I looked at my watch I was a little disappointed with a 1hr 3min. But when I started to speak to people everyone’s time was a little slower than previous years, the current wasn’t quite as strong this year. Drew came in 2nd overall and Andy Tester finishing 6th. There were plenty of other tuffs throughout the field with some great swimming”.

“Great event as always. It was time for me to get home and rest up for the Brighton Trail marathon the next day”


Congratulations to all the Tuff participants as follows:- Andy Tester (6th overall in 51:41), Adrian Oliver (58:10), James Hodge (58:34), Gavin Sewell, Pete Littleboy, Dana Robertson, Jo Meaney, Emma Hinton, Nancy Liddell, Claire Luckham, Graham Liddell, Janet Shepherd, Grant Smalley, and Jenny Oliver, Also to the Tuffs on the REP team – Race director Debbie Boxall, Dan Fitzgerald, Andy Ward, Vicky Cooper & Sheila Bailey.

A great run with Gav smiling at the start & still smiling at the finish


Gavin Sewell’s second race of the weekend after the Arun Swim was as follows:-

“This was the inaugural Brighton Trail Marathon, run by the same company as the Brighton Marathon. It was a point to point run, starting in East Brighton park and finishing in Stanmer Park”.

“With 3500ft of elevation, taking in parts of the Southdowns Way, I was prepared for the hills”.

“In the first 7 miles there was over 1000ft of climbing, a nice warm up. The weather was great and with over 1000 runners the biggest trail marathon I’ve done”.

“There were some tough climbs and descents, but the one that was playing on my mind was Ditchling Beacon which you hit at 20 miles in. They had closed the road, and that was our route up. It was a run/walk to get to the top of Ditchling, but you are rewarded with a aid station and cracking views. All aid stations were great and fully loaded with plenty of goodies to keep the energy levels up. I was a little under cooked for this marathon but was very pleased as I felt strong throughout. It was the descents that hurt the thighs; the climbs I could handle”. 

“I would totally recommend this event, lovely route with some fantastic views. I was pleased with my time of 4hrs 20mins and the whole weekend has been a great confidence booster”.

“I just wanted to say a massive well done to Tom, who completed the SDW double, what a legend. (see separate report) Done for a great cause and a great guy. The sort of challenge Joe would have loved”.

“Also, a big shout out to Matt Whitaker who completed his first Triathlon since his illness, and he looks stronger than ever. Cracking effort”.

“Next race report will be Ironman Wales, lets see what that brings”.



Now based in Northern Ireland, we were honoured that Matt Whittaker elected to remain a Tuff this year. Settling into life in County Down, he has also joined Down Triathlon Club. Whilst we were all saddened to see Matt leave Sussex; following his haemorrhage in February 2021, everyone at Tuff Fitty are so relieved and overjoyed for Matt, Becky & family, that he has not only recovered, but has returned to multisport with his first triathlon since receiving the ‘all clear’. Matt still commutes to England periodically with work and pops into Tuff training when he can.

Always a super person and racer, Down Tri are lucky to have him, (although Tuff Fitty can claim to have discovered him first 🙂 ) What a comeback race Matt achieved at Beyond The Wall triathlon. A 750m open water swim in Strangford bay was followed by an out and back cycle over 20k. After this, trainers on for a 5k run around the Castle Ward estate.

Out of the swim, Matt used his powerful bike and rapid run to cross the line in 18th position overall and 5th home for his new club – What a comeback; We have been inspired by his positive outlook throughout. Matt has also been a force for good raising money for ‘Same You’ for brain injury recovery having amassed over £1,200. Acknowledging there are so many demands on peoples wallets at the moment, if anyone wishes to add (however small) to his efforts the link is here

The route through the sand dunes and along the horizon to Baggy Point


Trevor and Clive Harvey returned to the North Devon Coastal Half marathon for the fifth time, where a family meet up coincides with running a Half marathon with their brother. Always sold out, (there is a full marathon and a new 10k this year); Very scenic amongst sand dunes behind Woolacombe Beach and then a climb around Baggy Point before heading across the sand at Croyde Bay. (much to the beach goers bemusement) Then there is a long steep climb up steps to get to the village of Croyde before heading back to the coast. Not a fast course as there were queues to get over Stiles and someone would suddenly stop to take a selfie on a narrow track against the panoramic view. A recommended event and upon crossing the finish line a cream tea (and medal) awaits!


Cardiff sprint triathlon saw competitors swim 750m in Cardiff Bay before a 19k bike across two laps to finish outside the Wales Millennium Centre (above). Then it was off on a flat 5k around Cardiff Bay. Sue & Colin Simpson entered and thanks to Colin who has reported in:-

Sue and I travelled to the Cardiff sprint triathlon over the weekend…It was a worlds qualifier and also the British champs so standard was high.

 We had entered last year but had little expectations as our training has been patchy and our warm up event in Torquay was cancelled. This turned out to be our first triathlon for 3 years and it showed…with 50+ years experience between us we were still like novices.

We (well I) decided to do a parkrun at Netley on the way down…a good loosener ? We also did too much walking around town after registration and on the morning back and forth to racking ! 

Transition closed and we had 2 hours to wait for our waves…a lot of complaints about this. The wind was getting stronger and the lovely calm Cardiff bay looked like the Atlantic…not good for me as a known flat calm swimmer only!

Suffice to say our races went ok ish in the circumstances…I am probably more race ready than Sue but neither of us got near qualifying places.

The event has multiple length closed road races and located in a fantastic setting around Cardiff Bay…. Hopefully we can return and do ourselves justice…”



Pre- race swim in Derwent water with CPL


Coniston is the third largest lake in The Lake District just over 5 miles long and half a mile wide. Just the right distance then for Chillswim Coniston where competitors start at the southern end of the lake and swim to the northern end with four feed stations (on boats) along the route. So a distance of 5.25 miles who would be up for this? – none other than one of our rapid swimmers Nic Patterson-Lett.

Nic finished the swim in under 2.5 hours and came 21st lady and 3rd in her age group. From comments made it appears the event was more tailored to encourage participation over the distance, rather than an outright race, as swimmers were often held against boat traffic on the lake, which makes the time even more impressive – Well done Nic.

If you are looking for a long distance swim – here is the video from 2021:-


Unfortunately Simon missed the cut to report on his great result at Cholmondeley Castle Tri last week; but as it is a worthy result and report here are his thoughts on the race:-

“As a regular participant at Castle Triathlon Series due to their exceptionally competitive prices, I decided to head to Wales having already completed Hever and York Castle the previous two years. A 70.3 at £164 is great value for money especially as Castle Triathlon put on such a good show. The venues are always spacious and trouble free. This year the race numbers were allocated to you on arrival and your welcome pack consisted of a quality Tec Tee , a Protein shake, a free post race massage and an entire meal .

I stayed 15 minutes drive from the venue and managed a good nights sleep for once which gave me a lot of confidence heading into the race. The Gauntlet was a mass start into the weedy lake and I struggled for 100 metres or so unable to settle in. The seaweed was quite thick on my face and I was struggling to remove it. After the first lap of 950m we exited the lake and ran past our adoring fans before literally walking on the seaweed almost all the way to the start buoys. I was position 33 out of the water second time around making up 11 places from the first lap. My T1 was a lot tidier and again I managed to make up a few places putting me in 29th as I headed out onto the bike. I remember my bike jersey had fallen off the bike due to a slight wind but I didn’t realise anything had fallen out of the pockets until I was heading out of the castle grounds. My Pump was gone! I made a split decision not to return to collect it but that put me on edge for the ride. Something I didn’t really want and it was making me a little nervous. 20k into the bike I felt the rear tyre was squishy and sure enough it had gone down. I’d opted for full race slicks the day before and wondered now if I had made a bad choice and wondered if the tyre had perished . Thankfully immediately after a fellow racer saw me and gave me her pump. I’d got the new tube in and was back on the road in what felt like less than five minutes but I was still edgy the rest of the ride having used my only tube with 70k still to go. The bike course was a day off my usual hilly routes and with a moody sky and slight tail wind I was feeling really comfortable and surprised that it was over with plenty left in the tank.

Heading into T2 I was in 24th position but with again made up places and emerged 13th on the run where I remained until the race finished holding my own with a comfortable 1hr 46 half . This was by far my best performance at a 70.3 after keeping well fuelled, better rested, more prepared and with a few less dramas was able to complete the course second in my age group. Numbers were low for this event but nevertheless I worked hard and it paid off for once. It was great to see Mike Barrett sporting his Tuff cycle jersey at the end as the hurricane flew over the event for us. Cracking course highly recommend it for anyone looking for a 70.3 in 2023




Another great week of parkruns with eight parkrun destinations identified around the world, including some where the Tuff name appears for the first time.

Salento parkrun is on a peninsula in Italy in southern Puglia. Phil Turner finished 4th overall for his 80th parkrun.

At Littlehampton parkrun Steve Fryer is maintaining his fine run of form, crossing in 5th position overall in a swift time of 20:30. Next home was a seriously impressive performance from Kev Pearson who finished in 25:11. OK this was outside his PB but what the result does not show is that Kev ran with a 10 kilo lead vest – awesome work Kev. Next home was Alistair Evans who not only ran but was on the volunteering team. Bob Thomas was next home with a great age related score on his 34th parkrun. NIck Hartfield was also on volunteering duty.

Worthing parkrun saw Shelley Dodman in action finishing as 4th female in 21:46 Kate Cooper was the next Tuff home in 24:12 and Les Pearce was just behind to notch up his 159th parkrun – impressive. Another high parkrun total was accrued by Elaine Rousseau completing her 131st PR.

Across at Hove Promenade parkrun Dave March was in good form finishing in 21:29

East Brighton parkrun is a 3 lap grass course over at (unsurprisingly) East Brighton park, just above Brighton Marina. Kate Evans attended this one with her running club to finish her 30th parkrun.

Lancing Green parkrun saw Emily Moore compete at this venue for the first time – although her 129th parkrun in total. Another great result from Emily finishing as 2nd female overall in a time of 21:07

In Devon, Bideford parkrun also saw Tuff Fitty in the results as Clive & Trevor Harvey ran ahead of their half marathon the following day.

Netley Abbey parkrun was the eighth parkrun location this week that saw a Tuff presence. The course is in Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley Abbey, Southampton where Colin Simpson chalked up his 185th parkrun.

Well done to all sixteen