Date: Sun 13th September 2015
Race capacity: 300 (294 finishers)
Distance from Brighton & Hove – 24 miles, 40 mins drive. Parking in the muddy field by the finish line & race HQ
At last, after months of talking, it was time to run the run. The weather was ideal – unlike the preparation of at least one of the foes. The last 50 metres (off-road, on rutted field) was causing some consternation amongst the whinier runners, but it surely wouldn’t prevent a stunning sprint to victory to silence the doubters for good. The “undulating” course might not play to the strengths of the more portly of the racers, but no matter – a beer gut is temporary, pain is ephemeral but the record books last forever.
It came down to a sprint finish that those there to witness will talk about for years to come. As he entered the finished straight (aka the ploughed field) he must have had 20 metres to make up, but with unfeasible determination given a shocking hangover, Trevor Day roared past poor, bemused Liz Lumber (Hailsham Harriers) to steal 38th place in 41:33. Liz, still wondering what the HELL JUST HAPPENED took 39th in 41:34. Unlike Trev, at least she got a prize (1st V45) that offered some consolation for the assault on the finish line. I’m not saying he tapped her ankles & elbowed her in the throat as she went down, but not far off.
In the actual race, prizes rained down on the Arena runners. Al Silvester ran a magnificent 34:56 to take 3rd place. Andy Payne took 2nd V50 in 39:31. Isobel Muir took 2nd V35 in 43:17. With no little skill Jenny Hughes managed to match her race number with her finishing place number (66) to take 1st V50 in 44:13. Louise Payne did her best to try to match Andy, taking 3rd V50 in 47:13, and Anne Myners romped home in 49:17 for 3rd V55.
In the other key head-to-head of the day Paul Gasson (being kindly if not a little doddery) let Tristan Sharp overtake him in the last 20 metres to grab 41st place in 41:54. Paul took 2nd V60 (42nd place, 41:55). My God, how quick do you have to run to take 1st V60?? Over a minute quicker than Paul managed, it would seem.
And on the undercard, Dan Vaughan came in 9th (1st V40) in 36:52, whilst Danny Cartledge having talked the talk, beer the beer & pied the pies did his best to run the run (or at least jog the jog) in a respectable 39:07 (21st place). Graciously conceding defeat (kinda, once he’d got the excuses out of the way), he pledged to win back the Dano a Dano trophy in 2016.
Just in case they’re feeling left out, the remaining 2 Arena runners – Bob Page and Roger Ockenden – came home in 48:14 and 59:33 respectively to complete a highly satisfactory day out for Team Arena. Oh yeah, and the men came second in the Team Prize (Al, Dan, Dan, Andy).
Dan Vaughan, 17/09/15