Monthly Archives: January 2015

Stubbington Green 10k

Date: Sun 18th January 2015
Cost: £13
Race capacity: 2000 (1662 finishers)
Distance from Brighton & Hove – 54 miles (c.1hr drive). Plenty of free parking within a 5 min walk of Race HQ & start line

What is it about “Greens” punching above their weight in the running race world? A village of 15,000 hosting a 2,000 capacity race on a cold Sunday in January – amazing. Not quite as impressive as Barns Green (pop 1000, race capacity 1500…) but even so.

Stubbington is between Portsmouth and Southampton. Easy to get to despite the distance from B&H. A scenic, fairly flat, single loop route. All quiet country roads (decent surfaces) including a kilometre or so along the Solent which might have taken my breath away had I had any left in my lungs. Traffic-free apart from one (well-marshalled) stretch towards the end. Even the weather was good – mild(ish), dry and no wind. Potentially a PB course if you’re in great shape. I wasn’t. In theory excellent sprint finish potential too. Maybe next year…

… I set off at a pace I hoped I could sustain and just about managed it – 19:26 first 5k, 19:45 second 5k for a finishing time of 39:11. Chip timing (not bad for £13 entry…), so no stress despite a fairly congested start. I came 166th, with the male winner doing it in 30.35 and the female winner in 35:08. Thirty runners went sub-35mins and over 200 did sub-40mins, so a good quality field.

If you’re looking for a well-organised, quick-ish 10k race in January, and you don’t mind the drive, then definitely one to look at for 2016. The only mild irritation was that I had to pick up my race number beforehand (8:00-9:30am) for a 10am start. No goody bag – just a banana and bottle of water – perfect.

Dan Vaughan, 19/01/15

Sussex Masters XC Lancing Saturday 17 January 2015

It was back to Lancing for the Sussex Masters. Masters is for anyone over the age of 35 and the advantage of that is that the entry is smaller than it is for the League and there are no youngsters haring off at the start.
Lancing has no flat bits – there is an awful lot of up – correspondingly there must be the same amount of down but you do really seem to notice the up parts of the course.

We had had reports from the course a week ago say that it was muddy and a week of torrential rain wasn’t going to make it any drier. A tree had fallen across the path in the allotment section but part of it had been sawn and removed so luckily our vaulting/hurdling skills were not required

For the women the course comprises a bowling green lap (bowling green conjuring up images of manicured flat grass but this is anything but), a field lap (up and down a muddy field plus bowling green) and a dewpond lap which basically means a long climb, partly on a chalky, hard path. I am told there are good views from the dewpond summit but am usually gasping my last and trying to stay upright by then so have never experienced them.

The varied (but always muddy) terrain caused footwear dilemma – short spikes, long spikes, studs? The name of the game was donning anything in which you felt confident especially for the downhill sections so for me that was long spikes (even though they are uncomfortable on the hard path section)

Warm ups completed the whistle was blown, we lined up and we were off for 6.5k – up, down and round, ploughing through the mud in the allotment section, trying not to slip and slide (and in the case of Issy sliding down the field section) and trying to make up time on the downhill parts. To be successful you have to have the strength to plod uphill and also the gung ho ability to push on the downhill parts.

Roughly 30 minutes later it was all over. Well done to all who turned out and took part – in this case a 100% attendance for the ladies – no illnesses or injuries preventing participation – Kat, Fi, Jen, Chris, Issy, Clare, Dani, Sue, Katherine and Emma.
Thanks to Dani for organising and for providing cake (version three). Thanks to Fi for driving and allowing the filthy tent into her car

A big well done to Katherine for her fine run without spikes (how she remained upright I shall never know) and who in her first outing for Arena won a Team medal.

Our select band brought home the medals too as can be seen on the Results page.



A quick mention to Julian and David for turning out for the Arena men.

Caroline Wood

Sussex XC Championships Little Common, Bexhill Saturday 3 January 2015

Cross country running provides a good training base for the year ahead combining offroad running with hills and mud and the strength, both physical and mental from coping with challenging conditions underfoot. In my opinion it is something that serious runners should be doing rather than purely sticking to road races You do not need to be obsessed with time taken to complete the course as conditions can vary so much and what can one year be firm, almost road like conditions can be a sloppy quagmire the next.

With that in mind it was a select few of us who made the journey to Bexhill for the Sussex XC championships on January 3rd. Usually the ladies have the advantage of racing before the men – getting their race out of the way AND competing when the ground is less churned except at the Sussex XC champs when the ladies race is the last of the day. Little Common was muddy when we ran the last League race in March 2014 but on 3 Jaunary 2015 it was in a league of its own in terms of muddiness. Torrential rain in the 24 hours beforehand and during the race plus a course cut up by many spiked feet left a mudfest underfoot.
The ladies had to do 4 miles (6400m) comprising three laps. I did a cursory recce which confirmed what I already knew – that it was MUDDY and otherwise stuck to the firmer ground on the other side for the road for a warm up.
Ten minutes before the race started Mary was yet to put her (or should I say Issy’s borrowed) spikes on – there is nothing like just in time racing for getting the adrenaline racing!
We lined up and watched the last of the men splash past then the gun went and we were off. The secret of success on a course like that is pacing and good choice of footwear (in my case long spikes taped on – thank you Julie Briggs). Within metres we hit gloopy ankle deep mud – there was no way round it and no point in fighting it – the best way to cope with it was to prance like a pony through the middle. The mud went from gloop to slidy mud then we hit the “hill” which was cut up except for a tiny margin up the outside so I ran wide to get the advantage of the firmer ground and to try to conserve energy for later on. There was a bit of firmer ground after than then more gloop, gloop and water etc. I was pleased to be overtaking people as the race went on and was able to get into a higher gear on the last lap which being round the perimeter of the Common was less churned and allowed you temporarily to pick up a bit of speed before you hit more ankle gloop. The run in to the finish harboured the sting in the tail of over the ankle mud so there was no chance of a sprint finish at that point and only a small bit of firm grass near the finish funnel.
Well done to Jim Risdale and Julian Hollingdale for the Arena men and Emily Proto, Chris Naylor, Julie Briggs, Emma Rollings and Mary Henderson for being brave enough to take on the challenge


Caroline Wood