Monthly Archives: August 2016

Get to Know…Amanda Hall

Is that a halo around this Christmas fairy?

Is that a halo around this Christmas fairy?

We are joined this week by the girl with the biggest smile on the running scene (see photo above). Amanda is one of the friendliest people you cold ever wish to meet and is never short of fun and enthusiasm whenever you see her. Amanda is also one of the Run Brighton ambassadors during the summer and winter seasons. She has been a part of that team since 2014 and did in fact join Arena because so many of the ambassadors were Arena members (admin says “the club that likes to give back”). She is an obvious choice for this role as she helps to encourage those embarking on their marathon journey with her fun loving personality. You couldn’t wish for a better ambassador to have along side you. Lets find out a little more about Amanda Hall.

Name: Amanda Hall

1. When did you join Arena:
Feb 2015.

2. How long have you been running:
I’ve always run, just sometimes more than others.

3. Where did you grow up:
Brighton & Hove.

4. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning:
What day is it?

5. What do you do for fun:
Tend my allotment, run, sea-swim, go to gigs, read….I try and avoid doing anything that isn’t fun as much as possible.

6. Name 3 things you couldn’t live without (excl family):
The countryside, music and bed.

7. If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be:
Garlic and chilli prawns with crusty bread.  Does that count?  I don’t really like “dinners.”

8. What’s your favourite app on your phone:
What I will say is View Ranger – You can track your routes on ordinance survey maps.  What I actually use the most is Facebook – much to my continued shame.  I am trying to cut down though.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Can I have two? Zola Budd and Nadia Comaneci.

10. What would you say to your younger self:
Don’t worry.

11. Where’s your favourite hangout place:
The Westbourne pub on Portland Road.

12. What’s the last concert or gig that you went to:
Stevie Wonder in Hyde Park.

13. Is there anything you hope to achieve in the next 5 years:
I’ll be happy with staying alive.

14. What type of music do you like most:
Depends what day you’re asking – I will listen to almost anything.  At the moment Hank Williams, Peter Tosh and Pink Floyd are vying for the coveted “most played” spot.  I like all the music.

15. What’s something we don’t know about you:
I’m currently studying horticulture at Plumpton College.  And for anyone that knows that already; I don’t like bananas.

16. What’s the last photo you took on your phone:
A picture of me and my boyfriend at Devil’s Dyke this morning.

17. What is the last film you saw at the pictures: 
Star Wars – The Force Awakens. I hardly ever go to the cinema – you have to sit still for too long.

18. What was the first song you ever purchased:
Under the Boardwalk by Tom Tom Club.  I was only seven and thought they were singing under the Bourbon which was my favourite biscuit at the time.  Come to think of it, still is.

19. When did you last eat something home grown:
Today – chard from Ted’s allotment and beetroot from mine in a smoothie. Mmmmm!

20. What one thing are you most excited about in 2016:
It being over….Not a big fan of 2016 so far I’m afraid.

Our biggest thanks to Amanda for her Q&A’s and a great read this week. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member.

Get to know…Al Silvester

Al Silvester B&W

“The Shuffler” proving that he is more than just a shuffle.

We are joined this week by the man with one of the most unique running styles on the running scene. Al features in every one of the men’s club records (except the marathon) and proves what a formidable force he is on the running scene. Al loves adventurous holidays and is not shy in trying out new things, whether it be for adventure or food. One of the nicest blokes you could wish to meet so lets find out what makes Al Silvester tick.

Name: Al Silvester

1.When did you join Arena:
Erm, in Spring 2013 I think. I got recommended the club by Jim Risdale and Charlie Walters who were already members so thought I’d pop along and try to get some structure to my training.

2. How long have you been running:
About 7 years now I think. I properly started by signing up for and running the Paris Marathon in 2009 as a laugh. Turns out it wasn’t actually that funny.

3. Where did you grow up:
In the pride of East Anglia of course, Ipswich! Come on the Tractor Boys!

4. What is your weirdest “quirk”:
I passed this one over to my wife and she said “Making strange noises out of the blue”. Not sure this is true!

5. What types of holidays do you prefer:
Long ones

6. What’s your favourite film:
Hhhhmmm, not sure. I love movies and get to the cinema as much as possible, but I’d probably go for one of the mafia ones like The Godfather or maybe Pulp Fiction.

7. Best live band you have seen:
I would probably have said The Stone Roses if I could remember any of the gig at Finsbury Park, so instead I’ll say Lionel Ritchie at Glastonbury last year. The guy got an incredible reception. Unreal.

8. What’s your middle name? If none what would you like to have:
William. I am not blessed with any interesting names unfortunately. However I have an agreement with my wife that if our impending baby is a girl I can give her the middle name “Alabama”.

9. Are you usually late, early or right on time person:
I would say on time, but probably late if I’m honest.

10. What would be the hardest thing for you to give up:
Ooof, toss up between Chocolate and Beer. Doesn’t bear thinking about!

11. Ever tried anything weird to eat:
Yup, loads, mainly bugs. Worst was probably a massive fly thing in Thailand, but oddly Crickets are nice. I also really like BBQ frog. Toadally delicious (sorry).

12. What makes you bored:
Sitting on a Southern Rail train for half my life. < Insert train rant here £$%£”%^£$%^£$%^%^!!! >

13. Have you ever done the YMCA dance (be honest):
Yer i imagine so, no idea where or when though.

14. Why do you run:
Initially it was to keep fit and complement the football, then I kept getting injured at football and realised that I was a better runner than footballer so did more of that. Then it became an obsession and now I find I get cranky and restless unless I am out at least 6 days a week.

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I was once in the East Anglian Daily Times (the UK’s favourite paper) for driving a tractor in to a pond and getting saved and hauled out by a group of local builders. But don’t believe everything you read in the papers 😉

16. Who is your sporting hero:
Aaaaaaaaaaaaa oooooooooooooooooo Johnny Wark!!!!
Oh, and Jess Ennis, for sporting and other reasons.

17. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get into running:
Run with other people to help push yourself and enjoy the social benefits too.

18. Do you like to plan things out in detail or be spontaneous:
Definitely a bit of a planner. I’ve got a terrible memory so tend to immediately forget events, dates etc. unless they are noted in the diary.

19. What is your one weakness:
I’m sure there are more than one, but seeing as this is a running Q&A I’ll go for my unattractive shuffling running style

20. At this moment in time what can you hear:
Men Behaving Badly on UK Gold. It’s definitely not as good 20 years on.

Our biggest thanks to Al for this week’s Q&A’s and you won’t miss Al as he struts his stuff around the track on Mondays. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our next chosen club member.

Get to know…Kirsty Parker

Here come the giiiirrrls.

Here come the giiiirrrls.

We are joined this week by a relatively new girl to Arena in terms of time at the club. Kirsty has come on from strength to strength since she joined the club. Always greets with a big smile and a girl that always puts the effort in at training. Kirsty will be one to watch over the next year and always a pleasure to hang out with. Lets find out a little more about Kirsty Parker.

Name: Kirsty Parker

1. When did you join Arena: 
Autumn 2015.

2. How long have you been running:
First started when I was about 10, running for Hyndburn AC but gave it up when my social life got in the way. Re-started when training for the 2010 Brighton Marathon.

3. Where did you grow up: 
Accrington, a proper Northern girl!

4. What do the last five words of the last text sent to you say:
Thanks for a lovely evening xxx

5. What types of holidays do you prefer:
A bit of adventure…Last year I took the girls to France for a week of camping without Dan then we had a wedding where he joined us. We then went on to meet up with 3 families and kayaked down the Ardeche before another week of camping on the South coast. Perfect.

6. How long does it take you to get ready to go out:
Minutes. I don’t suit makeup so there isn’t much else to waste time on.

7. What would your epitaph say:
Stubborn as a mule.

8. Whats your favourite kind of drink:
Tea first thing, a good coffee later, a cold beer in the afternoon sun and a good glass of red or white-depends on the temperature. All poured by someone else of course.

9. What makes you bored:
Doing nothing…I wish I was better at it.

10. What would be the hardest thing for you to give up:

11. What were you like a school:
Mischief. I went to a convent school and some of the nuns were fierce. You had to rebel!

12. What is your one weakness:
I have many, so Dan tells me!

13. Who was you first celebrity crush pop star and film star:
The blonde girl from ABBA and Micky Rourke in 9 1/2 weeks.

14. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 72, and find line 9, what does it say:
Page 72 has a sketch of a Moroccan or Indian entrance…Alain De Botton’s The Art of Travel.

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I was kicked out of an ambulance after collapsing in the 2011 Brighton Marathon. Bonkers.

16. Who is your sporting hero:
I have to say it was both of my girls the day I took them to a race up at Hassocks and realised I had forgotten their trainers. Teo (who had never met them until that morning) looked after them while I raced back to Brighton to get their runners, broke every speed restriction on the way back, handed them to a random stranger who passed them over to Teo who then managed to get them on the girls a minute or two after the start. Thankfully they didn’t finish last and had a smile on their face at the end.

17. What one thing do you like to do the most: 
Spending time with family and friends eating and drinking.

18. Do you like to plan things out in detail or be spontaneous:
Spontaneity always rewards.

19. Quote a line from one of your favourite songs:
Please please please let me get what I want…

20. When was the last time you got on a public bus:
Certainly within the last 3 months. I try to avoid it as the no7 is painfully slow.

Our biggest thanks to Kirsty for her Q&A’s and a another set of great answers this week. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member.

Get to Know…Mark Brocklehurst

What Mark will look like in twenty years time.

What Mark will look like in twenty years time.

Name: Mark Brocklehurst

We are joined this week by the man who lives, eats, breathes, puts on, takes part, writes up and has parkrun blood running through his veins in fact, like a stick of rock, if you opened him up then he would have parkrun spelt out in the middle of him. Truly someone to be admired by the running community for the amount of time and effort that he puts into organising and setting up the various parkrun. Please welcome to the stage Mark Brocklehurst.

1. When did you join Arena:
This is my second year, so I’m a newbie really! 2015, after chatting with Isobel Muir and Rob Derkin!

2. How long have you been running:
Running regularly since a friend started running at lunchtime at work in 2009.

3. Where did you grow up:
A place called Trafford Park in Manchester. (Imagine Coronation Street x 10!)

4. What was the last thing you bought:
My weekly shopping!

5. Are you scared of spiders? If no to what size would you pick one up?
Not scared of spiders though I would have to think twice about picking up a tarantula!!!

6. What were you like at school:
Totally different! Shy, (bigger) and believe it or not, my nickname at school was “Hippy” as I had so much hair!! I also hated the termly run around a local park…how things have changed!

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Fresh from finishing the London Marathon this year, I asked Steve Cram for a photo in a local pub. He couldn’t have been nicer and really rounded off an amazing day (it was my fourth marathon in seven weeks)

8. Name 3 people that you would have round for dinner (living or deceased):
Ronnie Barker, Victoria Wood and David Tennant

9. Tell us about something you’ve achieved:
Running a marathon was a dream…this year I completed my 9th!

10. What’s your favourite book, magazine or comic:
“Weirwolf” – David Weir

11. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I am a massive Doctor Who fan especially of the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant and I’m a fully qualified tennis coach!

12. What makes you happy:
So many things; helping friends out, good comedies and doing something worthwhile. Just knowing I’ve made a difference somewhere.

13. What do you do to relax:
Usually sleep after my running! I’ve discovered Netflix too so a good movie always helps

14. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try:
President of the International Olympic Committee!

15. Which store or website would you choose to max out your credit card:
Can I say eBay as I could get such a variety of stuff!

16. What is most important in life:
Family and friends

17. Who in your life has influenced you the most:
I never met my Grandad and there’s always a burning desire to make him proud of me, so him I guess, though his son, and my uncle was always like a big brother to me.

18. What’s your earliest memory:
My Dad holding me up to wave at passing trains whilst on holiday in North Wales

19. Name your 3 favourite foods:
Cheese! Pasta! And a lovely piece of toast!

20. Who is your sporting hero:
Too many! Bryan Robson, Andre Agassi, David Weir, Hannah Cockcroft, Mo Farah and Marc Bonaldi. (admin says “there’s a fiver in the post Mark”).

Our biggest thanks to Mark for this week’s Q&A’s and you can catch Mark down at the Hove Prom parkrun most Saturday mornings. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our next chosen club member.

Get to Know…Katherine O’Hara

There's no messing with this lady.

There’s no messing with this lady.

We are joined this week by one of the Four Musketeers (can you guess the other three I am talking about?). Having seen her photo for these Q&A’s then you know there ain’t no messing with this girl. She is one of the winning SDW relay team members as well as holding an Arena club record as the 4th fastest lady at the Hove Prom parkrun. So you think you know Katherine O’Hara? Well read on to find out the real truth behind the mask of Katherine O’Hara.

Name: Katherine O’Hara 

1. When did you join Arena:
The last race of the cross country season, I think it was January 2015 although it feels like I have been part of the family for longer than that…

2. How long have you been running:
It has always been a part of my life especially at University in the early 90s when I used it to run off the hangovers. My first marathon was London 1999 so that was when I got into proper training.

3. Where did you grow up:
Proud to say Essex .. a place called Shoeburyness close to the infamous Southend (although I was born in Kent so am not by definition an ‘Essex girl’).

4. What’s the first thing you notice about somebody: 
Their facial expressions such as smile and eye contact…

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
I have 2 girls aged 4 and (almost) 8 so when I have them we get busy. Recently camping and teaching them to boogie board. I get free time when they are with their dad and I have to confess to being a coffee addict so I can very often be found feeding my habit in local coffee shops and catching up with friends.

6. What’s the one song that gets you up out of your chair: 
Tough to pick just one… Dario G – Sunchyme is a favourite as it reminds me of attempting to teach aerobics to African girls in Nairobi. A track to get me out of my chair and off for a run has to be Let’s Go – Calvin Harris.

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
I lived in Melbourne – I was there for 11 years. Top liveable city and lifestyle.

8. What are the three most used apps on your phone: 
Spotify, BBC weather, Whatsapp (in that order).

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Daley Thompson was my first love- more recently Jo Pavey who I met at Brighton Marathon. Kelly Holmes another one.. Jessica Ennis …. in fact anyone who has trained for an Olympics (especially when coming back from injury or having children).

10. What would be your perfect evening out:
Depending on location and weather … a BBQ on a cliff top overlooking the sea with friends and family would be perfect. Equally some cocktails / tapas and a good dance with friends would be a winner.

11. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
Being by the sea and the South Downs… it is as close to Melbourne as I can find.

12. Who do you hang out with from Arena and why:
Tara Shanahan helped me build a flat pack wardrobe which took more than 3 solid nights of blood sweat and tears so that started a solid friendship. I Met Tara Shanahan and Kerry Scott doing the South Downs relay in 2015 and they became my ‘run dine’ with me mates where we run / host a meal and share some vino. Dani Tarleton and I train together and raced XC together. Our families spent New Year together last year.

So many of the Arena crew have inspired me in my training and racing. Outside of running the Arena crew have also supported me as I adjusted to being separated from my family and I fully appreciate their friendship.

13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
A few on my bucket list I haven’t been to… South America, Maldives, Madagascar – prefer somewhere away from the crowds and near the Ocean.

14. What was the first song you ever purchased (be truthful):
Nena – 99 red balloons on vinyl…

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I have an identical twin sister called Lisa who runs for Greenwich runners.

16. Can you play chess and do you know the offside rule in football:
Don’t have the strategic patience for chess. Am all over the offside rule having been brought up in a house that had the football on every weekend and supporting my brother  playing. In fact the reason my Dad left Ireland (his homeland) was to watch the World cup in 1966 ( then he never went home!).

17. What has been your biggest achievement in your life so far: 
Having my two girls is the most important. Personally winning gold in my age group at the World Champs Duathlon in 2005. Coming second in the South Downs relay is up there too!

18. What gives you a high:
Racing is my best high and I really enjoy racing as a team. Giving my girls a good time/laugh and listening to good tunes ( am a real dance music fan…seems the Essex in me lives on).

19. Who was you first pop idol crush:
Nick Kershaw.

20. What’s the last concert or gig that you went to:
Coldplay in Melbourne – amazing.

Our biggest thanks to Katherine for her Q&A’s and a great read this week. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member.