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Weekend Round Up 25th 26th November

The meteorological start of winter is stated to be Friday 1st December, but Tuffs venturing out could have been forgiven for thinking it started a week earlier …..

Adrian Oliver has kindly collated several pictures and a full write up regarding this event at the top of the Downs at Goodwood Racecourse. This has been added to with a submission from Leah Simms and also well done to Alister Marchant who completed the 18.5k course in a very spritely sub 1hr 30.

Having run UK Running Event’s Kingley Vale half marathon in February, I was delighted to come across another of their events also based at Goodwood Race Track, but this time heading North towards the South Downs Way – The South Downs Off Road Half Marathon, with options for 18 km and 12km, all in our local area I knew, but had never run through – and it didn’t disappoint!

With the recent Tuff Fitty’s Wednesday track sessions focused on running form and drills to improve running efficiency, I was interested to see whether this had started translating to improved race times.

UK Running Events once again delivered a very well-organised event, this time based inside the Goodwood Horse Race Track stadium, with the start and finish alongside the final furlong.  Fully expecting to get soaked and cold based on recent experience, we were delighted to be greeted to a calm, sunny (and cold) day – picturesque light frosty covering making for almost mud-free running.

With some 700 competitors signed up, most dressed appropriately, others not realising that Sun does not always mean “hot”, the organisers recommended car sharing, so Leah Simms kindly offered to collect Jenny & me en route.  We soon meet up with Susan Douglas, who unfortunately ran without Stig due to injury.  Sporting her Team GB Athlete hat, Carey Woods made her way with a work colleague.

The start of half marathon, 18km, 12km, and canicross variants were all staggered with the aim that runners from the different races would arrive at the finish at similar times.  Being chip-timed, the race start of the 400 half marathon runners was a relaxed affair as we trotted off down the frosty horse race course straight before heading downhill to Charlton.  Then, the long 4km hill started, with signs halfway for the 12 km runners to split (CareyJenny and Susan saw this…), taking us onto the South Downs Day.  Past the feed station, which also served as the 18 km route split (Carey! Leah saw this…), it was not long before we were turning off back down towards East Dean, rejoined by the 18km and 12km runners.  With only 4km to go, it was the final wall back up to Goodwood.  Most walked, and a few attempted to run, only to be caught just off the hill.  On approaching the finish in the stadium, there was much disgruntlement as we turned away back into the forest for a couple of dog legs to bring the total full distance to 21.1 km.

Soon after I finished, Susan Douglas arrived, finishing her 12km in 1:40:47, followed by Jenny Oliver also on 12km in 1:54:49, and then Leah Simms finishing her 18km in 2:14:24.  Grant Smalley completed his half marathon in 2:17:33

“A last minute sign up and not checking the route, I didn’t know what to expect other than a training run on the beautiful South Downs and hopefully seeing a few Tuffs along the way”. 

“There were 3 distances to choose from 12.4k, 18.5k or half marathon, I chose the middle distance unbeknown to me that there was a monster hill right in the middle of it. I don’t get to run on the trails that often so the hills can be a little challenging but, what’s not to like if it’s not a challenge”. 

“There were 2 splits on the course so I needed to pay attention to the signage. Luckily for me, I managed to go the right way although there was about a 1.5 mile stretch with no signage which was a little worrying at the time”. 

“Other than it being a little fresh and chilly on the day it was a thoroughly enjoyable run and with the added bonus of showing off my RNLI training top ahead of London Marathon next year”.

Noticeably absent was Carey Woods, much to the worry of her work colleague Simon Gaunt (who had already completed his 12km run in 1:05:34), whose warm clothes (and lift home) were in Carey’s car…  Carey had caught the Tuff Team GB illness of getting lost and went on to complete the half marathon course (instead of 12km…) in 2:14:03

This is now my favourite half marathon event, despite still being hilly with some 380m of climbing.   I was delighted with my 2nd fastest half marathon time of 1:53:18 – much of this success I put down to the Wednesday track sessions, focusing on good running form.  Thank you coaches!


For the second year the Mental Elf run was back, with our very own Nina Tully as one of their ambassadors. The 5k followed Worthing parkrun’s course along the promenade. There were a trio of Tuffs, Nina Tully, Sue PInky and Graham Liddell. Everyone was strongly encouraged to dress up and a vast array of Elfs were on parade. The event was started by Sally Gunnell and the You Tube film of the event is HERE where you can do some Tuff spotting, notably Graham wearing his iconic Father Christmas outfit. Thanks to Nina for reporting:-

“Wow what a day we had for The Mental Elf fun run on Sunday. Worthing prom was graced with over 200 elves and a Santa or two including our very own Graham, Pinky ran with Kylo who was rocking his very own Christmas jumper, I was working this year as well as running to support some of our service users at West Sussex Mind. I am Incredibly greatful to be working and volunteering with WSM, it’s no secret that I have and still do struggle with my own mental health, this year has seen a big struggle for me personally but knowing I have support as well as being able to support others has been a life saver all round.

 At the moment our fundraising total is around £9000 which all goes towards the care and support of people in West Sussex, one of the things that is not really known is that we are an independent Charity under the umbrella of National Mind so knowing this total goes straight to our local Mind is amazing. Thank you for all your support


Currently Tuff Fitty have circa 15 members who have already, or are scheduled in 2024, to race in Team GB’s age group teams. We are indebted to Mark Walford who provided an informative on-line presentation to club members. Mark has gained so much from his Team GB races this year and he provided the detail as to how other club members could register to ensure they are eligible to take part in qualifying races in 2024.

Thanks Mark for the time dedicated to a very well received seminar. For those who missed it the following British Triathlon link provides details listing the various races. It is notable that Eastbourne Standard distance triathlon ‘doubles up’ as not only is it our Club Championship Standard Race, Eastbourne is also one of the World Championship 2025 qualifying races. HERE For Tuffs who are also members of the BTF Ironbourne, which is our Club 70.3 championship also serves as the British 70.3 championships.

We start this week with some parkrun tourism. This was because we had four Tuffs converge on Cranleigh parkrun. Having been shut for eighteen months whilst a Country Park was established the reopening in September this year has provided a good course, including a hill!. With thanks to Sue Simpson for submitting Team Tuff’s photo above. – Colin Simpson was first home from our foursome and whilst he has run at 77 different parkrun locations this was his first visit to Cranleigh. Sheila Bailey was next, then Sue Simpson (with Diggs -pictured) and Kate Evans.

Back to ‘home’ parkruns. Littlehampton parkrun saw Simon Grundy finish as our first Tuff home in a great 13th overall in just 19:57. Alistair Evans reached another milestone with his 150th parkrun. Well done to Chris Evans achieving a new PB over this course. Thanks to Al who has reported in about his milestone:-

” I completed my 150th PR and 100th at Littlehampton, it also landed well to complete my 2023 goal of running 500K. Certainly not up with the elite Tuff’s but I was very happy to run 29:14 my fastest this year and 3rd fastest PR.

Worthing parkrun saw Alex Webb produce a super run to cross the line 19th overall in a speedy 18:48. Steve Feest was our next runner with Edward Lay close behind with Ed now on 145 parkruns. Phil Turner was next on pacing duties and then clocking her 163rd parkrun was Elaine Rousseau. Whilst Les Pearce has been nursing a niggling strain, thanks go to him for being on the volunteering team.

Across at Bognor parkrun, with Hotham Park being totally waterlogged last week, volunteers were present at 6am to ensure the run could commence. Up at the sharp end, well done to Nathan Bilham who finished in 21st position. Clive Harvey was our second Tuff in attendance.

Up at Maidenhead parkrun Trevor Harvey scored a triple, volunteering for first timer briefing on the Saturday and then running around Braywick Park. Then on Sunday he was finish marshal controller for Maidenhead Junior parkrun.

Well done to all sixteen

As is tradition, Tuff Fitty look to secure a booking at Arundel Lido, and this time a booking has been secured for New Year’s day at 1pm for an hour. Significantly the pool is heated and our usual swim fee will apply. (The session will be uncoached, although a set to follow will be available).

The timing is such that Tuffs could enter the HangOver 5 earlier in the morning (HERE) and travel straight across to the Lido, perhaps take in one of the New Year’s Day parkruns (confirmed at Littlehampton/Worthing/Bognor). or perhaps cycle over. Either way what a great opportunity to slump on the sofa in the evening and tell yourself “my training is going so well this year” 🙂

Previously announced our third annual Swim Power Hour is approaching in the form of “Resolution Swim” on Saturday 6th January 2024. There are already 25 signed up where our coaching team allocate attendees into equal teams where each lane will see swimmers pound out continuous 25m lengths. The winning team is the one with the most lengths completed. Don’t delay, sign up to secure your place, entries close on the 2nd January to enable teams to be formulated.