They told me it would be muddy, they weren’t lying! My second outing for Arena’s XC team was at the legendary Plumpton course. Famed for its mud, the heavy rain from Friday and Saturday morning ensured that mud lovers wouldn’t be disappointed.
As we set off on the first lap towards the farmyard, the stench of cow shit was pretty heady, with the course continuing through some unavoidable deep, muddy puddles, around the edge of 2 soggy, muddy fields before heading back to the start, to be repeated once for the ladies and another 2 times for the men. The course was so muddy that I reckon if they’d put in a cargo net, some monkey bars and some dangling electric wires, they would have had coach loads of Londoners queuing up to pay 50 quid to boast about achieving immortal, total warrior status all over facebook! As it was it was just the usual ‘proper’ club runners with an impressive turn out of 15 finishers for Arena men & 7 for Arena ladies. The ladies’ team were missing our 4 speediest ladies from Goodwood so we were grateful for Emma Rollings stepping in (the mud) and finishing an impressive 5th overall, 1st O35 and 1st home for Arena ladies. (We were also grateful to Emma for her delicious raspberry and white chocolate cake!) Myself and Claire Aquilina came in 2nd and 3rd for Arena which was enough to keep the vets’ team at the top of the first division. Some solid performances from the men in the middle of the field moved the B team up a place to 6th in the second division. So another good day’s cross country running was had by all (apart from Danny, who fell over in the mud and gave up!). Oh and did I mention that it was a bit muddy?
Those of you that know Mats may be interested in his current exploits and plans to spice up the last A80 super series race.
“I have unfortunately not been in touch, nor reported so many results lately, but I am running and as least as good as before.
On Sunday I was the overall winner in a very tough and hilly marathon called Rursee-marathon in Germany and was on the first page on most local papers here, which feels quite good. (especially when being in the V50 cat).
I have not reported any other specific results, but been in top 10 on several occasions running 10k’s up to half marathons, in the last few months.
My intension is to run the park run in December (last of super series 2014) and see most of you guys again. So , see you soon!”
Great to hear from Mats and his continued high level of achievement and hopefully meet up with him near the end of December in the Super Series in Hove Park.
Race: Bexhill Poppy Half Marathon
Date: Sat 8th November 2014
Race capacity: 1000 (984 finishers)
Distance from Brighton & Hove – 34 miles (c.1hr pootle). Plenty of parking on the Bexhill seafront.
In theory it’s a fast course – nearly all along the completely flat seafront (prom & road) – head out west, return east. However it’s 3 equal laps and there are 8 dead turns in total. In addition, after the dead turn to head back east it goes inland (north) for a little bit (ending in another dead turn), and there is a short sharp hill.
In practice, PB-potential is weather-dependent. On this particular day there was a 25mph SSW wind. The good news therefore was that this was mainly a cross-wind. The bad news was that the wind combined with a high tide to throw lots of pebbles and sea foam on to one stretch of the prom (the final quarter mile before the western turn…and then back again…. 3 times…). It was a good job I had other distractions to worry about (dodgy knee), so a PB was never on the agenda anyway.
Would I recommend? It was well organised and well-marshalled. Chip timing, water stations, enough portaloos etc. Medal. No goody bag – which is a positive in my mind. A minor irritation was that you had to register beforehand (8:00-11:30 for a 12:30 start) to collect your chip & race number. Bit of a faff, especially in November in a gale – more waiting around than necessary. So no, it won’t be high on my agenda next year, but acceptably adequate as races go (if a little pricey) – 6/10.