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Weekend Round Up 22nd 23rd October


Billed as one of the biggest off-road marathons in the UK; scenic but very challenging, there is a cut off time of 9 hours. Not that this was required for any of our Tuff quintet. Paul Martin did very well as first Tuff home in just 5 hours 6 minutes, a great time over a course covering 3,711 feet of ascent. Next home was Jay McCardle in 5 hours 32. Vicky Hedger and Ness Green ran the course finishing together and a strong time from Karly Martin completing our Tuff five. Thanks go to Karly for reporting in:-

Vicki, Ness, Jay, Karly & Paul

Paul and I ran Beachy head Marathon last Saturday, known as one of the toughest Marathons in the UK for its relentless Hill climbs over 3000ft, we absolutely loved it, the climbs were worth it for the breath taking views 😊 This was Paul’s first Marathon and he absolutely smashed it in 5hrs 6mins, despite an old knee injury hampering him for the second half. The course was good and well marshalled and the aid stations were well stocked with chocolate bars, sausage rolls and most importantly, cups of tea 🤣 I would recommend to anyone if they fancy a challenge.




In the half marathon we had Adrian Oliver running 69th overall just outside the top 10% a great result over the ‘undulating 1,601ft of ascent. Adrian takes up the tale:

“Beachy Head is always my favourite end-of-session highlight.  Great trail running, amazing views and perfect Cross Country race training!”

Saturday’s weather was amazing for the Beachy Head Full Marathon…forecast for Sunday was less good…should I wear my swim/run wetsuit?!

Early Sunday morning drive over in slight drizzle…but lightning over the channel!  The forecast showed that it was not a matter of *IF* but *WHEN* we would get soaked on Sunday.

On arrival a quick check of the facilities.  Slight drizzle but nothing too much – but still the lightning over the channel – and still heading towards us.

Decided to go for “standard” mild weather running kit plus lightweight sleeveless cycling gilet in hand in case the weather changed.  And we are off…”sprint” to the first chicane, then walk up THE WALL.  Finally settled into actual running.

The Beachy Head Half Marathon is divided into 3 sessions (ignoring the monster hill/wall) – #1 – Head North and gentle up: #2 – South West and down to the coast: #3 – Heading East along very hilly coastal path.

Section 1 was straight forward – tail wind, not too many puddles.  Turn around at section 2 – downhill and into the strong headwind.  All to quickly we were down to the coast…which meant 3rd section – HILLS!  Race plan: walk the hills!  As we approached Birling Gap, the onshore-slightly behind gale started to feel damp…and that thunder started to sound closer.  And finally up to Beachy Head itself…in full monsoon torrential rain, and disconcertingly, thunder and lightning…if there was ever a need to run REALLY fast, NOW was the time.  Finally gingerly back down THE WALL and over the finish line.  No hanging around – grab the nice medal, cold pastie and jog back to the car now parked in a torrential river!  At least I won’t have to clean my shoes.

Despite the soaking and wind, I still enjoyed the event – and still managed to knock 3 minutes off last years’ time finishing in 1:55:53. 




With the course in Cannes the ÖTILLÖ swim run saw the longest swim at 1,300m and the longest run at 9,200m. There were 5 swim sectors and 5 runs sectors. well done to Iris Bennett who has reported in below:-

“When the idea of a swimrun was introduced to me by way of an official Otillo video, my first thought was I’ll never be able to do that“.

“Swimming is my nemesis, so immediately dismissed my ability to finish the course and wasn’t sure I was that motivated to try.  The terrain looked tough and sea distances were scary.  Setting aside the fear and course distances, I realised there was a part of me ready for a new challenge.  One appeal of this race was the option of taking part as a team (pair)”.

“And the event was booked…………

“We arrived in Cannes the day before race day and took the opportunity to have a swim in the sea.  It was choppy and freezing (not the conditions that were sold to me) and once again, the fear and doubt crept in; Will I manage the course, will we make the cut off times and will we come last? “

“Realising this thought process was not going to help me I did all I could to change the narrative.  I embraced the scenery, the opportunity, the adventure and ignored the doubts”. 

“Race day arrives and I check and recheck I have everything.  We head down to registration and collect our chips, bibs and goody bags.  I am excited, but again the fears resurface, especially when eyeing up the other competitors who very much look the part!”

“However, today is beautiful, it’s warm and the sea is much calmer than it was yesterday.  We make our way to the holding pen on the sandy beachfront and before we know it, we are off”. 

“I spend the first four minutes of the race struggling to keep up with my teammate Mike, as running on the deep sand is hard work.  I ask myself; what have I got myself into, what was I thinking and I am going to struggle to keep up for the whole race.  We come off the sand onto the promenade and my heart and legs begin to recover and my mind starts to settle”. 

“1600m of running done and we are entering the water for the first swim section (750m).  It’s rocky and not that easy to enter quickly.  Swimming over rocks for the first few meters.  There are swimmers everywhere, I am hit over the head by paddles quite a few times and am aware of the volume of people around me.  What’s worse is that Mike and I are tethered and we are being swam across and I’m worried we will all get tangled”. 

“During the swim I become aware that something is not quite right with Mike but I’m not sure exactly what it is, so I just keep swimming and breathing.  We stop, something is wrong with Mike’s paddles and I presume they are broken.  A few adjustments and we are off again, finding a rhythm and concentrating hard.  We stop again, this time it is evident that Mike is getting bashed around by others, swum across and his hand paddles aren’t coping with this.  We take a few minutes to sort ourselves out, untangle the tether and restore calm before heading off once again.  We manage the rest of the swim without stopping and clamber out of the sea”.

“I’m aware that now is our big run section, we make our way off the beach and into the city, round a few roads, up a few stairs, then a few more and then we are faced with a dis-used funicular railway line being a gradient I’ve never faced before (some 30%).  As we are ascending I focus on the ground and we overtake quite a few people early on.  There is a rusty handrail to the left, separating us from the edge of a sheer drop, although suddenly a gap appears in the rail and there is nothing separating us from the sheer drop.  We joke at how this would never be allowed in the UK.  We are walking now, this is hard and for the first time, I am placing blame on Mike for the fact that I am here, that this gradient is ridiculous and there is no end in sight”. 

“Finally, I see other competitors peel off to the right and I realise this hell is nearly over.  We are in woodland now and a sigh of relief as we are running downhill.  However, this soon descends into jumping over fallen trees, clambering over rocks, sliding down mud banks, which are steep and not very safe.  We are carefully finding our way through streams with very slippery boulders whilst feeling as though at any point we will break our ankles or slip over and crack our heads open.  There’s a need to be cautious but we also want to keep moving quickly”.   

“I am wondering where everyone has gone until I realise they have disappeared under a storm pipe onto more mudslides.  It may have been worth removing the tether at these points!! “

“We are now out of the woodland and back on the road, there are views of the sea and I feel euphoric.  That was my favourite part of the race, I am energised and happy and I start saying “Bonjour” to locals much to Mike’s laughter.  This was a beautiful moment in a beautiful city and I finally felt some of the emotions captured on the official videos I had seen”. 

“We make our way to the second swim section (1000m), the one I have been dreading the most and approach via the nudist beach (full of patrons) and spot our entry location into the sea (we nearly missed this as it was to the right and we were a little distracted)!   Apprehensive about a repeat of the first swim and aware again of the volume of people around me, I lower my goggles, tuck my pull buoy between my legs and we are off.  One, two, three, breathe is how I get through this, despite being stung by a jellyfish and stressing about people swimming over our tether.  This swim section was not as hard as I anticipated, I clearly wasn’t swimming hard enough!”

“The rest of the race included 3 more run sections and 3 more swim sections; the time passes quickly.  As we approach the rocks for the final swim I am excited to see in the distance the swim exit/ the finish.  In the water I feel tired, my arms hurt and I’m aware that I am a bit of a dead weight on the back of this tether and am trying harder to dig deep, as it feels like it’s taking forever to get to those steps of the pier, which signal the finish”. 

“We make it.  Mike helps me up the steps and we run the red carpet to the finish.  I’m elated, I’m relieved, I’m happy and I am emotional.  Having held all those fears and doubts, we managed it.  As a mixed team and we came 16th out of 33; so, we did alright!!”

“We collect our medal, head onto the beach for a well-earned drink in the sun.  Of course, we also analyse the race, pick it apart, say what we could have done better and vow to come back next year to do it all again.  More experienced and maybe with better paddles!  This race really is an experience and an event that I would never had considered so I am grateful to have been introduced to Otillo – they hold events all over the world, the Isles of Sicily apparently being one of their best.”



At Littlehampton parkrun; Richard Jay was our first runner home and then following last week’s Amsterdam marathon Rick Budd. Alistair Evans continued his strong chain of parkruns and attained another volunteer credit for being on the organising team. Sue Simpson was next running with Colin Simpson. Sue completed her 162nd PR and Colin just has one more PR to go to reach his two hundredth. It is great to see Paul Thomas get into his stride – literally, as he finished over three minutes quicker than his time the week before.

Worthing parkrun saw Danny Cunnett as first Tuff home in 21:27. 32 seconds later Dave March crossed in 21:59. Yet another strong Tuff runner was Esther Fair, 5th lady in 22:42. Les Pearce notched up his 172nd PR & then Phil Turner on his 87th. Our sixth Tuff was Nina Tully – excellent news to see her on the comeback trail

Well done to all twelve Tuff parkrunners.

It is appreciated that some of our members are also members of running clubs, and it is understandable that your running club is returned in the parkrun team results. If you are a ‘pure Tuff’ it would be appreciated if you could flag us as your club to aid spotting our members in all the different results – thank you