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Weekend Round Up 22nd 23rd June

An extremely busy weekend for race action which started on the Friday. There is such an incredible array of Tuff action that this needs to be split into three. Already published is a report on the highly successful Tuff Aquathlon and barbecue on Friday where we had almost 60 Tuffs at the Lido.

Then we have some superb racing from our own three GB racers out in Portugal – Team GB rightly deserve a separate article. Wendy Frost completed her Coast to Coast cycle, a route of 150 miles in one day. This report is to follow in one of our next editions, but we still have space for a bumper edition of a further twelve races below – amazing. You will need to make yourself a cuppa, pull up a chair and read about the huge range of inspiring & fantastic achievements from our glorious Tuffs.

l to r : Pete, Sue N, Hazel, Jon, Shelley, Sheila, Paul, Kate, Jimbo, Karl, Clare, Cameron & Adam

Starting on slack water the tide then assists swimmers down the Arun on this full Iron distance swim of 3,800m. The start was at Ford marina and depending on the current some quick times can be expected. Last year the current wasn’t as strong with just 15 swimmers completing under the hour. This year, with the current and impressive performances 169 swimmers stroked home under the hour mark.

Amongst these impressive results was Paul Howie, one of our swim coaches demonstrating just how its done as he emerged from the water by the RNLI station in just 47:53. This placed Paul as 7th overall and 1st veteran – superb. Our next swimmer in 54:49 was Cameron Coe. Another of our coaches demonstrating how its done was Hazel Tuppen who ran up the ramp in 55:28 6th senior female, a great result out of 369 finishers. Stephen O’Donnell was next in 56:55 and then Clare Worgan.

By now there was a steady stream of Tuffs arriving with spectators lining the river bank. Sue Simpson was followed in by James Brock and Catherine Bellsham-Revell with barely a minute between them. Adam Stringer was in the mix as well finishing 17 seconds later and then just a further 10 second gap saw Linda Wright step out of the water. Peter Littleboy continued the procession of Tuffs with Karl Halom finishing next.

Sue Neilson, & Sheila Bailey joined the growing number of Tuffs on the quayside and then Jon Babbage and Kate Evans joined the throng. Shelley Babbage stood up out the water with her usual smiling face having done well which concluded our illustrious Tuff seventeen.

For some it was their longest swim, (Sue S) others, best time achieved, so whilst wrong to single out individuals, it is fair to ‘doff our cap’ to those who arrived after racing hard at the previous night’s club Aquathlon :- Adam, Cameron, Claire, Hazel, Karl & Sue S.

As well as our Tuff 17 there were a further 5 on the Raw Energy team :- Debbie Boxall, Andy Ward, Andy Rossiter, Clive Harvey & Trevor Harvey concluding another grand Tuff morning out. We are grateful to James ‘Jimbo’ Brock & Sue Simpson for sending in their thoughts:-

‘I don’t know why I still get nervous before a swim, god knows I’ve spent enough time in the water. That self doubt has a way of getting in my head. However, I picked up the A Team (Jon, Shelbo & Sue) and as we talked the nerves settled.

We picked up our race packs, listened to the well executed race briefing & then made our way to the coach & subsequently the start line.

Time passed by chatting to my fellow Tuffs (Peter Ace Littleboy & superstar Clare W)

It took me a long time to settle into the swim, I lost my hat ( my fault for having a big head) My wetsuit feels tight & a bit claustrophobic but eventually I made my way & finished in a respectable time.

I do now firmly believe that for me these events are not actually ever about the swim, bike, run. Instead, it’s connecting with like minded people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

‘I was proud to be a Tuff today, but then I always am’.

‘I had a moment of madness and decided to do the Arun 3.8k swim.As a rookie at this distance it was a bit daunting. To help me build up to the distance i decided to go in the uncoached Saturday swim to see how far i could go in an hour,build confidence and stamina which helped.

On the day after collecting swim cap and tags the envelope reminded me of Col’s optimistic estimate he put down…1 hour!! Nerves kicked in but thankfully Col was there to help me stay positive and focused.

Time arrived to enter the river so no going Maggie Thatchers words..this lady is not for turning. I stayed near the bank at the start to avoid the ‘mackeral start’ and when it calmed down I moved to the middle for the current. I found some toes to follow for a bit and saved some energy. A couple of bends I took too wide but as the A259 bridge came into site concentration was still strong. The distance from here to the red bridge was surprising and i had to keep it together. Once under the red bridge and keeping left it felt like the whole swim in just that section. Finally I reached the end and helped out by Wardy I was really pleased to see my time of 62mins. Go me ! Will be back next year.

Credit to Paul Hedger for a great video record of the morning below:-

Paul’s sunset picture from Highdown Hill

Sussex Trail Events (STE) always look to stage some different events and last week saw the return of their Marathon Madness. Two of the STE event directors Jay McCardle and Danny Cunnett were on hand as for five consecutive days, entrants could race five marathons, or 5 half marathons. If that thought was a bit much there was a choice of ‘3 in 3’ or simply chose one of the locations to complete a full or half marathon. Day one saw the route along Worthing Promenade. Day two started from Sea Lane Cafe. All five days started at 6pm through to 12 to allow those working to attend.

Day three started at Highdown and at this one, Geordie Paul Atkinson was in attendance doing rather well. As this is Paul we are talking about he chose the ‘most undulating’ or perhaps just the one closest to his home. Either way a finish time of 5.5 hours is impressive considering Paul ran 10 laps of Highdown accumulating 8,337ft of climbing in the process.

Day four moved onto the River Adur river run from Shoreham Toll bridge and this one also saw a Tuff participant – James Hodge. Day 5 saw competitors start at the Widewater Lagoon in shoreham. Back to day four and James has reported in from his race:-

So having not done a marathon for a good number of years two in one week seemed a good way to play catch up having completed The Hampshire Hoppit the Sunday before. 

Normally at the start I would make sure everyone knew of my heroic undertaking but all of my competitors were on day 4 of running 5 consecutive marathons. 5 in 5. Some had completed 3 in 3 and others were undertaking multiple half marathon distances. I kept quiet and did a little hobble in the hope they would think I was part of the madness and they had just not noticed me on the other days. I lined up alongside the superhumans at 6.00 pm on Thursday evening by the side of the River Adur to complete 8 loops that made up the marathon distance. 

It was extra special as one lady was running her first half marathon on what would have been her daughters 19th birthday for the charity You Raise Me Up​, a charity offering emotional & mental health support to families that have lost a young adult between the ages of 16 & 25. As much as I admire those amazing runners at the front  strength and inspiration comes from people all through the field especially ones completing challenges such as this. 

There was an incredible sunset over the river Adur and Lancing college and the last two laps were completed with the headtorch on. There was a wonderful atmosphere and sense of camaraderie that sums up Sussex Trail Events races and everyone was encouraging each other.  A fabulous evening, thank you Jay & the crew. I’m not sure about 5 in 5 as I have no idea how this is possible but perhaps more than one half next year. There’s lots of options and well worth giving a go. 


Jay (with Debbie)

You will have read the above report from the ‘Marathon Madness 5 in 5’. Most people would probably have had a weekend off – nope, not Jay Mccardle one of the directors at Sussex Trail Events who then proceeded to run the Hangers Way which is a 50k run starting from Farnham – Jay reports:-

“A new event from bigfeat events, starting at Alice Holt park and finishing at Q&E park. In my usual style I never checked the race profile and presumed it would be flat with Butser hill being the big bump at the end but it transpires that “ Hangar “ is the local word for side of a hill “ So after having a lot of late nights the week before with the 5in5 and just finishing the antibiotics for a lung infection I somehow managed to get it done.. But that said it was a great day out with a stunning route with good Aid stations “

You will have seen above how one of the Sussex Trail Event Directors takes ‘time out’ after the Marathon Madness event, but another, Danny Cunnett, also threw himself into race action, attending the Standard distance triathlon at the Dambuster; racing in Rutland water and around a closed road course. Standard distance was also a Team GB age group qualifier, so a top field in attendance. Danny reports:-

Dambusters Tri is a great event. Beautiful location and extremely well organised. There is cheap camping on site and plenty of facilities. The race itself was standard distance. First time doing standard so didn’t go as hard as I should have. Swim was nice flat lake and it’s very nice to ride on closed roads. Really should have put in more effort on the bike. The run was great nice route out and back alongside the lake in the sunshine with good views. Lots of friendly competitors and marshals. Enjoyed it so much will go back and do Pacesetters Vitruvian 70.3 next year.

Next up a 70.3 part of the Castle Triathlon weekends of Mulitsport. Simon Thistlethwaite reports in on a successful day :-

My 4th time here in Wales a favourite of mine that keeps me coming back. Castle tri series always give generous discounts at least 30% off full price so its worth booking pre-season to get great value and it is great value if a no fuss entry is on your list.

The day of the race, here especially is such a slick in with absolutely no queues, you can arrive 45 minutes before your race and glide through registration and setting up if you are organised. As my first Triathlon of the year I wasn’t sure how I would measure up but I have been putting the training miles in so I was hoping to finish in a strong position.

The lake was much better this year with all the rain we have had so no clawing through weeds like in previous races. I found myself in position 53 after the first swim lap. The race director always lets you know your position when you run across the pontoon for the Aussie exit. There’s no diving here on the second lap due to the depth of the lake on entry. Even jumping in two feet is risky , I learned that last year when I landed with a thump.

Leaving the swim I felt in good shape as I ran up the hill towards T1. Id lost my glasses on the walk to the event so flies were a concern and heading out on the bike the course had changed from the previous years due to a touring cars event so it was 6 shorter laps totalling 84km instead of the usual 3 big laps. The course was tougher than usual with undulating broken road surfaces for most of the ride with some dusty gravelly patches to be careful of. I was chatting to some guy in purple about how slow the road surface felt, he agreed but we had to talk fast as to not get caught in a drafting zone. It was tough to make passing moves with the 25 second allowance due to the mixture of races going on. Some doing Olympic and duathlons on much fresher legs and us Gauntleteers on our 4th 5th laps not wanting to be overtaken so having to push harder so not to be caught out by the 12metre gap especially with so many Marshalls out on the course. My bike splits were similar for the 6 laps and heading back in for T2 I found my bike slot very quickly and was able to get back out in just over a minute.

I know better transitions can make up places and wanted to capitalise on that so I was happy to see guys and gals still sorting themselves out as I headed out onto the run. The run was 3 x 7k laps for us with some slight elevation in places. Its a tough run course but a cracker. I was hoping to settle in around 4.40km but it was very hot and I knew I had to manage my pace or it would be a struggle so set myself a target of a 1.45 half marathon. It was x 3 water at every station with most of it going down the tri suit and under the cap. 7k in I had hot foot in both feet, it was painful but manageable if I kept at the same pace. Every so often the clouds came over and it was a welcome relief but not for long. I think I enjoyed the run more this year partly because I knew I was up on my previous years times slightly so it gave me a bit of a lift.

All in all a cracking event here as usual and happy to come home 16th overall with a pb and 3rd in my age group.

Simon – third in age group

The Brownsea Island swim is Poole Lifguard’s main fund raising event of the year, so they were pleased the event could start this year with 250 swimmers, mostly comprising the previous years deferred entrants. In amongst these was Susan Douglas who reports :-

‘With the event being cancelled the past 2 years due to bad weather and Covid before that, it was a relief to have a calm clear sunny day.

Registration at Poole Quay, then hop on to the awaiting ferry with the other swimmers over to Brownsea’.

‘I’ve actually done this swim I think 7 times before, needless to say it is my favourite event’.

‘We assembled on the beach in front of the hotel and entered the water ready for the start. I like this method as it gives you a chance to get used to the water temperature, 18˚C ish and check your goggles don’t leak, which they did! Then the horn announced the start and madness ensued, thrashing bodies and the inevitable breaststroker in the middle of it all, but fair enough, it can be quite overwhelming if you’re not used to the chaos’.

‘After about 15 minutes the pack had dispersed, and proper swimming could commence. Right, let’s find someone to draft! I must admit I love spotting my victim and hunting them down, until invariably they become to too slow, and I have to look for a speedier swimmer’.

‘Navigation around Brownsea is technically simple, just keep the island to your left, but it’s easy to drift out too far and misread objects in the distance, fortunately a kayaker is never too far away to put you on the right track.  I’d been swimming on my own, it seemed, for quite some time when I reached the final bend and finally spotted some other swimmers. I still had some energy and managed to pick off some of the weary wetsuiters (so satisfying) before reaching the end in 2hrs 2mins. Same sort of time as in previous years so nice to know I’m not on the decline yet’.

‘I was 8th out of 30 ladies non-wetsuit, so pleased with that’.

‘I’m not very good at doing long training swims, so rely on my Tuff training sessions, which are doing the job of keeping me fit very nicely. Thanks to all the coaches.

Debbie, Trev, Clive & Glenn

Whilst most will be aware of the Thames at Windsor, there is also the Jubilee river, built in the late 1990’s to take overflow from the Thames. Phoenix Running staged an early morning Thursday run which comprised an out and back loop along the river of 5.25miles. It was very low key, turn up, write your number on your hand, get allocated your own plastic cup which you also wrote your number on; then start whenever you like. Runners elect to run as many laps as they wanted with a huge array of sweeties, just like a sweet shop at the end of each lap. Glenn Parisi and Clive Harvey drove up to join Trevor Harvey. Debbie Boxall was due in London for a meeting late morning so joined in to see a quartet of Tuffs complete 2 laps for 10.5miles. The landscaping each side of the river meant the route was completely sheltered; an extremely hot 25 degrees, but no one complained, we have waited long enough for this. The reward was a nice chunky medal, plus more sweets and caramel pretzels.


The inspirational reports keep coming as we move to the Lake District for Wendy Kane’s account of her long distance swim:-

Coniston has been a bit of a fascination and a dream for me ever since I spotted the sweatshirt on one of the Tuffs when I first began swimming a couple of years ago! At this point I could hardly make it to the end of 25m pool without dying and thought it would be something I’d never achieve! So with a lot of determination and hard work I set off to train for it with my group of swim buddies and it most certainly didn’t disappoint! Coniston is the smallest of the 3 great lakes of the Lake District, 5.25 miles end to end and set in the most idyllic surroundings. About 1200 swimmers took part and atmosphere was amazing. Considering the volume of people I must compliment Chillswim on their organisation of the whole event. Registration took place on the Friday night at a nearby school very close to the finish at the top of the lake. There were a number of waves according to your approx mile time. Slowest wave started first and then another every 20 mins to spread us out along the lake so there was plenty of room to swim. Great safety support and 4 aid stations on route with drinks and jelly babies to keep you going. We staying just south of the bottom of the lake so after a 30 min drive  on the way to registration we all looked at one another and thought ‘this is a bloody long way!’ but like every long distance event you never think about the whole distance, so on the day breaking it down into much smaller chunks the swim passed by really quickly, but I was so glad to see the big duck at the finish! The sun shone for the whole of the swim and the water was calm with the occasional surge of waves from passing boats. Really enjoyed this event and can’t wait to come back next year to do


Claire Luckham reports in following her night in West London for a team swim over 24 hours. Inspired? well dates for Hillingdon are open for June 2025 (it sold out this year), or across at Hampton open air pool for a 12 hour swim in October.

Back in December my son Jamie and I were talking about what challenge we were going to do in 2024 when an advert came up on Facebook for swim the night at Hillingdon lido. There were different options,12 or 24 hours, 1k or 1m, individual or team of 2 and we decided on 24hr team of 2 so one of had to swim 1k on the hour every hour. Entries opened in January so we entered. I then wasn’t well for 10 weeks so couldn’t swim, not the best start! We completed the swim with no sleep mainly fuelled by flapjack and sweets with a burger at midnight and sausage bap at 5.30. We are glad we did it but can safely say we won’t be doing it again! Oh and I forgot to say the water was only 17°C !


Next up a report from Trevor Harvey on his second 10 miler this week:-

‘Trying to increase my running mileage, I entered the Midsummer Murder 10 mile trail run, fairly local to me, north west of Marlow.  The name is a nod to the film & TV heritage of the beautiful valley in which it is held.  The start is at Hambledon, a really pretty Chiltern village that has appeared in more films than can be mentioned here; up to Turville (Vicar of Dibley fame), & straight up a very, very steep hill past the windmill made famous in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, (which also features on the medal on which the vanes go round too!!!)’.

‘At the start they said we don’t do hills, just things to make you stronger!  3, 2, 1 Go…and it’s straight up out the valley, hills throughout, with the descent’s so steep in places with tree roots, my downhills were not that quick.  My naff Garmin has given up recording height gain, but best guess is 1600 ft/490 m of ascent. The weather was great, albeit rather warm, but a great outing in a stunning area.  A well organised event, (they do a half too coming in at 14.5 miles).  As I crossed the Line, .. Trevor Harvey, Tuff Fitty Tri Club, what a great club name – so great the announcer mentioned it many times!!!!!’

Next up a report from Colin Simpson, another one who has filled his weekend with Tuff action. Despite his modesty in his report he was still second in his age group well ahead of the others – Colin stated his report is titled ‘ Heathfield 10k…”A ridge too far?’

‘My weekend started with the 5k run for Sue’s aquathlon team….great to finish as first team !….A steady run on tired legs followed at Littlehampton parkrun on Sat morn…then straight to support Sue at the Arun swim. I decided to walk the dog along the river bank and actually made it through the jungle to Ford to see the start…then back again almost keeping up with the leaders! Sue did really well for a first attempt at long distance but i was beginning to think I need a lay down. Dawn broke on Sunday and we were off to Heathfield for their annual 10k with Sue now supporting me. It was hot and my legs were dead which after 1k downhill the first of many short steep hills told me to ease off…I had no energy and after a couple of walkers passed me I realised this was one too many events this weekend. Perseverance got me up the final 2k climb to the finish to see Sue cheering me on…was that a smile or a worried look at the old man. Heathfield 10k is a great event. I used to live 400 metres from the start so know the hills! It is always at Midsummer and fairly low key on numbers (2-3 hundred) but gives loads of awards in 5 year bands (not me this time!)  I only just broke the hour and reflected that 20 years ago i did 37.44?  Really? Oh to be slim and fit! It is a tough course and often hot but one worth doing in lovely country lanes. See you next year….


Worthing parkrun saw our largest collection of Tuffs this week. Edward Lay was our first runner back into Beach House Park. Paul Fielder was next (having raced the night before at the Lido. Dave March was our next finisher crossing the line alongside Katie Goddard. Catharine Gray was another one who ran well having completed the Aquathlon just a few hours earlier. Sue Pinky completed our Tuff six.

Littlehampton parkrun saw Emma Hinton as our first runner home. Steve Bridgeman was our second runner. Then we had Colin Simpson another one undertaking parkrun having run a 5k at Arundel the previous evening taking his total to 265 runs. Next Bob Rogers who is now on 98 parkruns. It was nice of Bob to pedal around to cheer the River Arun swimmers later.

We just have one parkrun tourist this week…. and it’s another good one. Alistair Evans is still in Scotland and has taken the opportunity to visit Alness parkrun. Close to Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth, Al had to run down the river to a pier before retracing his steps to notch up his 181st parkrun.

Well done to all eleven.