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Weekend Round Up 6th 7th April

The race season is now in full swing, with the following Tuffs in action.

Brighton Marathon, first staged in 2010 is always a good place to do some ‘Tuff spotting’ and this year was no exception. As well as the 9,000 finishers in both the marathon and 10k race, there were several Tuffs on the cheerleading team – to many to list here. This was the second year of the five year licence awarded to London Marathon Events to stage the run and the crowds were out in force,

Steve Fryer was our first runner home and then just 10 minutes later marathon runner extraordinaire Jay McCardle finished. Josh Roper has been a regular at our track sessions who did well as you will read below. Mark Sole and Karly Martin completed the illustrious five with some reports from the streets of Brighton below:-

Steve Fryer & Jay McCardle in the Brighton Sunshine

“A great atmosphere and day at Brighton Marathon. No PB’s anymore but I had the target 10 minutes either side of 3.30”.

“With mixed forecast of wind and sunshine, it turned out to be to testing for my old legs good to see Tuffs out in force supporting on route”.

“I managed to hold my sub 8min mile pace up until mile 20. Then pace slowed dramatically. But with the great support I managed to cross the line in 3.36.”

“I have a nice, running vest tan”.

“Despite the last struggle, never say never again”

Mark Sole & cheerleaders

“Most peoples advice was that I didn’t need to do it, as it would impact my training to much!  So, I was going to defer, then build the mileage for June.   Until I read that you couldn’t defer!!  So about 4 weeks out I committed to do it!  I went to the Arundel run, to ensure my long run was cross country.   I’d done a couple of 15-20km runs,  so went 21 then 26km.  On the week of the race I did 20km.  Along with the cycling and swimming,  I felt reasonably confident that I could do it at a training intensity, so it was pretty much just my long run for that week”. 

“They have changed it to a much better course!  It was actually enjoyable around 35km.  The last 7km not so much!!  But that was expected.  I stopped to say hello to anyone i saw, really good to see everyone!!   Tiff, Jon and Gommy were at about 24 miles,  which was much needed!!   At around 25 miles, a young girl collapsed, so I made sure she was alright and have her jelly babies,  tried getting her up to help her across the line, but her legs were gone!! Like bambi on ice!!  I didn’t have the will power to carry her, so once someone from the crowd gave her a chair, I went for a sprint finish, well upped the pace for 200m then struggled again!!”

“I’d actually recommend people to do Brighton, it’s fun.   If you’ve done the old course try it again”. 

“I’m not going next year, but will the year (2026), I’ll try a time then, if anyone wants to join me?”

Karly Martin

“Brighton Marathon for me was a training run for an ultra I have booked next month so wasn’t going for a PB. It had a great atmosphere as always and so lucky with the sunny weather. It was nice to see a few Tuffs along the way taking part and cheering us along. I had to walk/run the last 10miles as unfortunately I had a lot of pain in my shin but I was determined  to finish. Pleased I did as the medal is lovely”. 

Josh Roper

The marathon was great. I went out a little bit to fast, but was still able to get the time I wanted, The Tuff track sessions were immensely helpful and I’ll definitely be back again for my next race.

In the BM10k we had three runners on the start line. Claire Moyle was our first Tuff home followed by Nina Tully and Sue Pinky. Sue has submitted her race report.

“I’d been really panicking about BM10K, watching the forecast and seeing the predicted wind speeds had me worried about my Vertigo. I’ve found wearing a buff as a headband has helped reduce the effects of the wind which is a huge relief”. 

“Because of my issues, LME agreed that I could have a support runner. I’ve been under the care of West Sussex mind for my mental health for a while now and have been running with Nina on her Friday run group sessions”. 

Nina was the obvious choice as she knows how I run, is patient, understanding, supportive, encouraging, knows when to egg me on and when I should be holding back. Without Nina’s help, I would not have made it to the start line today or yesterday”. 

“Originally I was hoping for a 70 min run but with all the problems I have had with both my knees and the wind forecast, I knew that this wasn’t achievable so settled on 85 mins. The run/walk method really helps my knees so we did 60/60 and sometimes longer if the wind was pushing us or on a downhill. I had an amazing run, an awesome sprint finish and came in at 1.24.50!!  Very happy with that”.

“I cant thank Nina enough for her support and encouragement and I really look forward to her supporting me at a few other races this year”.

After two of the seasonal events, Spring returned to follow the same undulating course held in the Autumn, but this time run in reverse. First off at 9am was the 10 mile event and here there were five Tuffs running. Flying away from the start was Simon Thistlethwaite who wondered how he would fare now he had moved into another age bracket. Word from the course markers was after all the unseasonably wet weather, the going would prove difficult. Simon clearly didn’t find conditions that bad as he crossed the line 11 seconds quicker than when he had run the ‘Autumn’ event. His finish time of 1hr 17 placed him 2nd in his new age grouping and a great 6th position overall. We had further runners, clearly not there just to make up numbers with more strong performances. Adrian Oliver turned into the finish funnel as our second Tuff home. Colin Simpson was next underlining his pedigree as 1st in his age group. It was great to see Leah Simms finish without falling in the mud as she continues her build up to the London Marathon in just two weeks time. Completing the Tuff team was Janet Shepherd who was placed 3rd in her age group, despite a mishap last week as she reports below:-

First Adrian’s report.

“I always enjoy exploring the local trails with Tuff Fitty’s Saturday and Monday runs—there are many exciting and varied routes constantly changing with the seasons.  But when the opportunity to explore a completely different area presents itself, I cannot resist. The REP Cowdray Spring run presented just that—exploring the wonderful area North of Midhurst.”

“On receiving the route information, I recognised a name – Bexley Hill – a beautiful road “up” from Lickfold.  So NOT a flat run!”

“As usual, the event was very well organised, with many familiar Tuff faces involved and a great assortment of Tuff participants”.

“Although the rain held off, it was immediately apparent that everyone’s shoes, socks, legs and optionally, back, side or front would end up with a muddy brown complexion”.

“The encounter with Bexley Hill did not disappoint, with the 10-mile route adding lovely forest paths and a few more hills”.

“I love everything about the event – great finisher meddle, lovely route, etc  – plus the opportunity to purchase (donations to Air Ambulance) many previous REP event shirts – who needs to buy expensive supermarket or designer shirts?  Finally, I can retire my old shirts!

I’m looking forward to the summer Cowdray race on the 28th June”.

“What a difference a week can make.  The Saturday before this race I’d driven up to the Lake District to walk with a group of friends.  Unfortunately, I fainted the first evening, crashing down on my face on gravel and breaking a front tooth!  The rest of the evening was spent in A&E where I was thankfully cleared of having heart problems.  My faint being put down to dehydration and heat”.

“Having considered dropping down from 10 miles to 10km for Cowdray or cancelling altogether I decided that there was no justifiable reason for me to do so and I don’t like to be a quitter.  After a few miles of muddy up and downhill I was again very tempted to take the 10km option at the course slip but, by then, I’d got chatting to three other women who were making me laugh with their choice language every time there was more mud”.

“It really was a lovely route, very friendly and I didn’t even come in last!  Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to do it again next year when it might be less muddy and I’m in better shape.  I’ve certainly learnt a lesson from The Lakes experience that’s just as relevant for arriving away from home for a triathlon; don’t drive for hours without drinking very much, rush around on arrival, miss tea and sit backing on to a radiator to eat supper”.

In the 10k race Dave March did well shaving 40 seconds on his Autumn outing. This was a brilliant result as the general consensus was the course was tougher running it the other way around. Dave was placed 7th overall in the autumn event, but this time he rose to a great 4th overall & 2nd in his age group. Sue Simpson was another to conquer the slippery conditions and then Nina Tully. As well as the 10K there was a 10k Cani-cross and here it was Andy Crawford who continues to do well with the ever faithful Max. They crossed the line 2nd in Andy’s age category. Sue Pinky had also entered the Cani race with Kylo but unfortunately things didn’t quite go to plan as she explains.

“So, Cowdray 10k was a DNF. Nina and I were plodding up the first hill and Nina says, I think we come back down this…..  my mind went, nope, nope, nope, the thoughts of going back down after all the runners had also gone back down was absolutely petrifying. That probably sounds extreme but when you’ve got 26kg of dog pulling you, it really is a scary thought when its really slippery. So, I left Nina at the top of the hill and headed to the finish. Kylo, bless him, didn’t know we had DNF’d and pulled with all his might across the finish line.  He really loved all the cheering and wanted his biscuit! He still got his medal, which he still earnt. I’m gutted I didn’t complete the whole race, but I’m also very proud of myself for doing so and saving my legs for BM10K. 

cowdray 8

A half marathon winding its way through central London and Westminster. First staged in 2018, the event has grown with over 17,000 runners with the route deliberately chosen to take in so many of the iconic London landmarks. From being waved off by volunteers in bowler hats at the birthplace of the bowler, to the finish where characters such as Dick Whittington and Pearly Kings and Queens cheered everyone home. Isis Solato competed this year and despite the sunny, yet super windy conditions, Isis was pleased with her time setting a new half PB. Interested for next year? pe-registration is now open for the event scheduled for 6/4/25

Unusually we didn’t have any club members running at Worthing parkrun, although kudos to Les Pearce who was on the organising team.

At Littlehampton parkrun Edward Lay is usually a Worthing regular but was first Tuff home here knocking over a minute off his Littlehampton PB finishing in 22:36. Steve Feest was our next runner. Next home; Susan Douglas who completed her second run at Littlehampton and also achieved a PB. Steve Feest also earnt a volunteer credit with Chris Evans also part of the volunteer team.

There was just one tourist parkrun location noted this week as Alistair Evans took part in the Brockenhurst parkrun. The course is a four lapper on grass at Brockenhurst college. This was Alistair’s 31st different parkrun ticked off to reach 170 parkruns – impressive.

Well done to all five.