Club NewsFeaturedGalleryNew

Weekend Round Up 6th 7th July

The Serpent Trail is an established, signposted walkway through the heathlands of the Downs. Races of 100k, 50k, 20k and 10k runs are held. Very scenic (taking this week’s banner shot above) we had James Hodge race the 50k distance and Adam Stringer the 20k. Firstly James’s report:-


‘The Serpent Trail is a race I have wanted to do for a while after watching it on the Run4Adventure youtube channel. The Serpent Trail is a 65m/106km trail from Halsemere to Petersfield designed to highlight the outstanding landscape of the greensand hills, its low land heathland habitat rarer than the rainforest.

There are a number of options from kids races to 20k, 50k & 100k. I chose the 50k option from Petworth back to Petersfield. The event is put on by Freedom Racing and has a small festival vibe with camping and talks on the Friday night. It has become really popular with people undertaking their first Ultra as the long cut off times mean the event can be walked. The various start points and times along the route really help to create an atmosphere with lots of people coming together toward the finish. There is an incredible feeling of encouragement and comradeship with everyone about to achieve their own personal goal.

With the unseasonal weather of rain and wind I was glad to have chosen the later start of 10:00am with a much better forecast for the day ahead.  After a bus ride to the start we were soon off and into the woods. The race is described as largely flat but there are quite a few short steep hills along the way, the good thing about Ultras you walk the hills. The race passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes and is worth doing for this alone. There are some small stretches of road through quaint villages but its mainly trail, varied and never feels dull. Freedom racing are a great organisation with regular, fully stocked aid stations, wonderful enthusastic marshalls and the course is well signed. It was mainly sunny but I was glad of the occasional rain to cool off.  There were always runners around and I had a really enjoyable race taking in the views and chatting to fellow racers. There was a small group of us who were leapfrogging (not literally) each other through most of the day. 

The course suddenly pops you out onto the finish straight. Just as it did I was caught by another female competitor. The done thing in ultras is to run across the line together holding hands and high fiving but all I heard was a shout of sprint finish and the crowd were treated to the highly amusing (judging by the laughter and cheering) spectacle of two runners trying to out sprint each other after 50k of running. I was well and truly rinsed but it was a great end to a fantastic race.

The aim was to get round in under 7 hours and I made it in 6 hours 52 mins which is nearly an hour and half quicker than my previous 50k albeit on a much hiller course. 

Freedom Racing The Serpent Trail – Highly recommended and I am already looking forward to doing again’. 


‘The serpent trail is a 64 mile trail, starting in Haslemere and finishing in Petersfield, which is only 11 miles in a straight line. But who wants to travel in a straight line when you can go back on yourself time and time again mimicking a snake! Hence the name. This one is an annual event in my running calendar. I started in 2022 with the 50km, reducing to the 20km route in 2023 and again this year. The 20km route starts near Midhurst and covers a variety of different terrains from country lanes, trails, sand dunes and even muddy puddles this year. The weather decided to follow suit, offering outbursts of rain, wind, sunshine and even all three together at times. Regardless of the weather, it was and always is a great event for the calendar which was made even better by beating last year’s time by 10 minutes coming in at 2 hours 4 minutes’.

Having plunged into the River Thames less than a month ago for Windsor Triathlon, Trevor Harvey didn’t need to worry about water quality this time as he was running alongside, as he explains below:-

‘A fairly long standing event in Windsor, I could actually make the date this year.  A 10k race where you line up opposite 5 large river cruiser pace boats, covering the distance at 40; 50; 55; 60 & 70 minute pace. 

The route does diverge from the river to give the boats time to turn, whilst a final lap of the field gives you a chance to be close to the boats, packed with friends & family hurling encouragement (or abuse!). 

A relaxed event with around 400 people running, with beer & Prosecco available at the aid stations, and a medal & T shirt to add to the collection.   Having ‘beaten the boat’, I just need to ‘beat the tide’ in a few weeks!!

l to r – Katie, Rhian & Steve

Run Through Events were back on Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit to stage a half marathon, 10 & 5k in the morning. We had three Tuff competitors, Steve Fryer & Rhian Standley undertook the Half marathon and Katie Young the 5k.

Steve had his usual strong run finishing in just 1hr 34 minutes which saw him finish as 2nd in his age group. It was great to see Rhian also running well as she finished under two hours gaining 2nd in her age group as well.

In the 5k run Katie finished as 3rd female overall and 2nd in her age group. Katie explained:-

‘I popped to Goodwood today for the Run Through Event. I had a speedy 5km and had fun fun. Best 5km time for a few years’.

Rhian has also submitted her thoughts:-

‘I signed up for this event as a bit of motivation for road training. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the laps or the weather too much but was friendly and well organised. Quite a lot of young ‘uns in the demographic, so I did ok in my age category – definitely recommend this one for a local blast’.


In the afternoon there was a Standard and Sprint distance Duathlon. Isis Solato took part in the Standard Duathlon, comprising a7.6km (2 laps)/38km (10 laps)/3.8km (1 lap), It is pleasing to report that Isis had a strong race finishing 2nd in her age group.

A terrific set of results where all four of our Goodwood competitors achieved 2nd in their age group – good work..

Fixture seven in the West Sussex Fun Run League. The Round Hill Romp is a testing circa 10k route. Traditionally starting by the Clock Tower in Steyning High Street the route takes in Mouse Lane before the challenging climb up to the South Downs Way. The downhill route was changed for 2024 and we had four club members running on this Wednesday evening run. Steve Fryer was flying his running club colours and finished in 44:15. Then flying the Tuff name in the results Danny Cunnett and a couple of seconds later Jay McCardle. Kate Cooper completed the quartet for her running club well up the results page – well done to all four.

A great place to start is at Littlehampton parkrun where a notable milestone was achieved. The first Tuff home was Steve Fryer (6th overall) in 21:22. Next it is pleasing to see Fraser Kidd returning to his speedier pace as he finished in 11th position overall. Emma Hinton was our next runner. The big milestone was achieved by Bob Rogers as he completed his 100th parkrun. He modestly said he didn’t push it, but Bob still recorded the 2nd best age grading of the morning. For the second consecutive week, Chris Evans achieved a new PB shaving 8 seconds off last week’s time. Also well done to Linda Wright on the volunteer team.

Worthing parkrun saw Worthing regular Edward Lay as first Tuff home. Les Pearce was our next runner finishing his 211th run. It was great to see Vicki Hedger and Simon Grundy participate running together to loosen their legs after last weeks tough Northumbrian 70.3

Maidenhead parkrun saw Trevor Harvey in action twice, firstly earning a volunteer credit at the briefing and then a competitor credit for running the course.

Chichester parkrun was the choice for Alistair Evans this week as he ran three laps around Oakland Park by the Festival Theatre.

Clive Harvey was on the Downs for the undulating Downland grass course which is Bevendean Down parkrun

There is a new parkrun. the 6th July saw the inaugural Malling Rec parkrun – which see runners take two laps of the recreation ground before an out and back section on an old railway cutting. Situated just off the A27 at Lewes Sue PInky was present.

Well done to all 14.

The spotlight this week is on the Saturday Morning run. 7:30 meet up by the lower Castle Gates, traditionally our club’s longer run of the week, usually off road with some ‘undulations’ the above shot is from this week’s Saturday gathering – during an unusually sunny morning. Interested – see the Spond event – every Saturday. If not in a hurry to dash off, a dry T-shirt and money for the coffee stop is a good idea.

Saturday 13th July sees Tuff Fitty members invited to join our friends at Mid Sussex for an open water swim at Ardingly Reservoir. Meet at 8am. Register on Spond, this great value swim is just £5.34 payable on Spond. Wish to swim? You need to accept the Spond invite before 5pm on Wednesday 10th July

Our longest day visit in June to Arundel Lido for our traditional Aquathlon/Barbecue was probably one of our best attended yet. The ‘event’ is live for Friday 26th July where attendees can partake of an Aquathlon comprising a 400m swim and 5k run. Meanwhile the barbecue is sizzling for a great Tuff ‘Tuck in’ afterwards. Several have already booked in, members are welcome to swim/run/eat/socialise or simply eat and socialise. Full details on Spond.