Monthly Archives: April 2017

Race report of the Antarctica Marathon 2017 by Luan Ke Huynh

For those that remember Luan from Denmark, he has kindly sent us a great race report on his marathon of a lifetime, that being the Antarctica Marathon that he ran in March of this year. Luan trained with Arena for the Spring/Summer of 2016 before he had to return to Denmark. A talented runner who had gained much respect from his peers during his time with us and was a great asset to the Arena team. This is an amazing read and we thank Luan for taking the time to share his story with us.

Antarctica marathon 2017
Dear members of Arena 80,
Thank you for taking the time to read my race report about my Antarctica trip. The landscape and wild life were amazing and I highly recommend it. For me it was definitely worth the money and the 4 years in the waiting. The total price was about £7500 (flight tickets from/to Europe, package deal: 2-3 nights in Buenos Aires, flight to/from Ushuaia and 10-11 days cruise), race number, kayaking and tips. But you can easily go cheaper with other companies and just do the cruise.

The physical and mental Preparation:
After my return to Denmark in November/December I have been focusing a lot on adding the long runs into my training. I was happy to see my running groups again and there was a lot of catching up to do. As my long runs started making progress, I began wondering if it was realistic to actually win the marathon. I tried not to set my expectations too high and just stayed focus on my 3:30 finish time, due to several warnings of unpredictable weather conditions. Because of that I bought thick winter tights, full face mask, waterproof socks and some “spikes” for my shoes. I didn’t tell my running mates back home, that I was thinking about winning but some of them could already tell that I was going for it and actually “expected” me to win. Even the chef on the ship told me the day before the marathon, that he is putting his money on me and a couple told me after the marathon that they already talked about me winning the race so no pressure then.

The trip itself:
The group met at a posh hotel in Buenos Aires and I was quite surprised, that were so many Americans. At the briefing I scanned the crowd looking for fast runners but we all know that these kinds of things are hard to tell. I quickly came across an American with a sub 2.40 PB. He was also running his last continent marathon. He told me that he had been injured recently and that he wasn’t used to the cold, because he lives in Florida and runs only on road. but I wasn’t sure if he was just playing mind games, but then who hasn’t made up an argument for not running a good race? Guess we all play mind game one way or another and I know I do. The thing was it worked, as I couldn’t see myself winning the race anymore. A PB on 2.40 and my PB (3:03) is a huge gap and I changed my mind-set to just completing the marathon instead, which was my original plan from the very first beginning.

The first two days on the ship were horrible. Basically everybody got sea sick and the crew even told us, that we were lucky with the weather. I wonder how it would be, if it was normal or bad weather. Many of us slept most of the days as there were no reason to be walking around anyway feeling sick. At that time I couldn’t believe that I had actually paid so much money for getting sea sick and even worse and I was afraid of how it would affect my race.

On the marathon morning I was tense as usual. The morning routines went well, as we got into the zodiacs transporting us to the King George Island for the race.  The weather was good – 0 Celsius +/- the wind chill = -10 Celsius. The organisers told me not to wear my spikes, as they would only slow me down. Also I decided to wear my normal long socks, instead of the water proofs one I had bought, due to the good weather plus my thick winter tights, 3 layers, a full mask, buff plus an extra hat. The course itself was 6 laps off-road in a hilly, muddy and rocky terrain. I started out at the back of the group but ended up at the front during the first mile as  I decided to ignore my planned 3:30 finish time pace. I guess I feared losing sight of the frontrunners, which was quite absurd, as we were running in laps and unconsciously, I took the chance to follow the American with the sub 2.40 PB even though I knew it was unrealistic to keep that kind of pace the entire way. We kept a solid and consist 3.09 finish time pace up until mile 15. He started to slow down while I kept the same pace up until mile 20. The worse part of the course was the rocky terrain. I twisted my ankle 3 times (luckily I’ve got strong ankles) and because I wasn’t wearing trail shoes, the rocks went through my lightweight shoes several times hurting my toes. My thighs and calf muscles were starting to get into cramp mode simultaneously and it was only a matter of time before I had to go into walk/run pace. Every time we crossed a U-turn, I started to count seconds, until I passed the guy in 2nd place this gave me an idea how far ahead I was. After a couple of times, I quickly lost count and the outcome due to fatigue and every time I got on top of a hill, I looked back to spot the guy in 2nd place. I began seeing two black big rings in my vision and I told myself that it just wasn’t worth it (I had an eye surgery in my twenties). I would now accept If the guy in 2nd place passed me then so be it as coming first was simply not worth it anymore. During half way of lap 6 I realised I still had a chance to win, as I hadn’t been passed yet. The feeling of disappointment of being passed hit me and I knew that I would be so gutted if I didn’t win this one, so I just had to win this. When I got to the last ½ mile, I knew I was the winner and asked, quite impolitely, for a chair as I really needed to sit down. Besides the fact that my legs were numb, I was desperate for something to eat. I just couldn’t focus on anything, taking my running shoes off and putting on my clothes and the boots for the zodiac took forever. A crew member and a half marathon finisher (who happened to live close to Brighton by the way) had to help me, I have never felt so helpless in my entire life.

Clearly a different class of spectator compared to that of Brighton.

The days after the race:
Even though I’m very happy winning the Antarctica Marathon, I’m equally as happy, if not happier with my projected finish time. For me this is actually the first time I have run a marathon faster than expected. Going from overcoming injuries, to get back in to shape, when I lived in Brighton, to even completing 26.2 miles, to chase parkrun and 10 PBs and to actually win the Antarctica Marathon, is more than I could ever ask for. It’s also a matter of luck, such as your fellow runner’s levels on race day. But luck is an invisible thing, you only get it if you chase it. Nevertheless I was there and I won. The day after I arrived in Aalborg I went to the track for a quick hello. They were very surprised to see me already and likewise most people on Facebook; hadn’t realised that the marathon was on March 11th. I celebrated the entire week with beautiful landscapes and wildlife but for them it just happened yesterday (no Wi-Fi on the ship). My marathon victory buzz is all coming back to me now from the attention via the social media and my surroundings. My coach and running mates were very proud and happy that we finally have a marathon winner in our group. A Danish run blogger (named as the best Danish runner blog 2016) wrote a short article about my trip. One of Denmark’s most popular, if not the most popular running gear web shop offered me to be one of their brand ambassadors and the local newspaper is writing 2,5 pages about me in their “Life style/travel” section. They even put me on the front page. One thing I’ll remember mostly from this trip is the conscious selfish commitments I put into it throughout the years such as how I want to do it, where I want to go and when I want to go etc. First of all, I knew that I wanted to do this on my own, because I couldn’t bear the thought of not being present with my loved ones when I’m out training, out travelling in sudden periods and out spending all my savings on flight tickets and tourist activities etc. And because of that I’m very fascinated by the parents of young children whom I met along the trip, who went on their own and did their thing. For me, it was very inspirational because I’m not simply in that stage of my life and they showed me, that it’s emotionally possible to do what they did.

If any of you have questions or whatsoever, my email is I’m also available on Facebook.

To put things in a better perspective I have attached the article of me in a PDF for you to google translate if interested. Also I listed some links from the trip:

Full M results:

Half M results:

Media files from the others runner:                                                                                               

Radio:                           ’s-antarctic-marathon (Canadian French – go to 8:40) – works only in Internet Explorer

Articles/blogs:                                                        (Canadian French)                                                                                                (Danish)        (in fact she is from the UK and lived close to Brighton) (in fact she is from the UK and lived close to Brighton)                                                                     (in fact she is from the UK and lived close to Brighton)  

If you have a race report that you would like to feature on the Arena website and let the other members know it went then we would love to hear about it.
Send it to

The Brighton Marathon & BM10k 2017

Now that the dust has settled and the results are in, we can now look back on the 8th Brighton Marathon and congratulate all our Arena athletes who took part in the marathon and BM10k.

The weather could have been a little kinder to those running the marathon as it wasn’t only the heat that made its mark but also a fairly stiff head wind at the turning at the Shoreham power station. With the blue skies and glorious sunshine, it did however bring out the crowds which did cheer on the runners through the 26.2 miles and the 10k.

The BM10k was the first race of the day and the first three ladies home for Arena were:
Women 10k
1st – Caroline Hoyte – 35.57
2nd – Nicky Yeates – 44.44 – A new PB
3rd – Isobel Muir – 47.14


The first three men home for Arena
Men 10k
1st – Dan Vaughan – 35.52
2nd – James Gladman – 41.21
3rd – Rob Derkin – 42.58
(Please note that positions are given by gun time but using their chip times).

The third place for the men was a race within a race with Tristan Sharp, John Thompson and Rob Derkin all pacing round the course together, that is until the last 50 metres, when they all made a charge for the line. With a sprint finish there’s not many who would have bet against Rob Derkin and so it was the case here with Rob just taking them in the last few metres, enthralling to the end.

We also congratulate the following athletes who all gained 10k PB’s:
John Thompson – 43.08
Lucy Anderson – 46.58
Patrycja Wollnik – 47.22

The second race of the day being the 8th Brighton Marathon and as already mentioned the conditions weren’t perfect but the show must go on and so it did. Arena had a fair few runners out for this with many having personal goals in mind. I take my hat off to each and every one of you for the dedication, commitment and mental strength you have all shown, over the long cold and windy winter months, with your training and getting yourselves to the start line.

The BM was the second race of the day and the first three ladies home for Arena were:
Women Marathon
1st – Soulla Wright – 3.23.28
2nd – Tara Shanahan – 3.28.59 – (3.30.00 Pacemaker)
3rd – Vicki Clarke – 3.30.15

Soulla Wright came into this race having had a virus during the two weeks leading up to this race and was not in the best of health. It was a brave and valiant effort on what was surely a very difficult run for her.

Tara Shanahan took on the pacing duties for the Run Brighton crew. She was pacing the 3.30 runners and with her time of 3.28.59 its fair to say that she got it spot on. Tara then went to help volunteer on the finishing straight for another couple of hours, still showing as much enthusiasm as if she hadn’t even run 26.2 miles. Amazing job Tara.

Vicki Clarke is for ever-present for the big races and always turns in exceptional times. Running along with Tara, it was another fine run and happy to see her running in the blue vest of Arena.

The BM was the second race of the day and the first three men home for Arena were:
Men Marathon
1st – Al Silvester – 2.42.48 – (16th overall)
2nd – Mats Gedin – 2.52.48 (44th overall and 2nd O50)
3rd – Del Wallace – 2.55.00 (56th overall) – New PB
(Please note that positions are given by gun time but using their chip times).

First man home for Arena was the man for all occasions Mr Silvester. Al was pleased with this run and this now sets himself up for the London marathon next week. Al ran In at 16th place overall and should be applauded on a fine race (unlike the volunteers who seemed to miss Al coming home as they applauded the 2nd lady home – very sorry Al.

The stalwart of marathon running Mats Gedin was 2nd Arena man home in 44th place overall as well as coming 2nd in the O50 category. Mats still holds 5th place in the men’s marathon club records with his time of 2.37.49 set in London way back in 2006 and proves he his still a very strong force to be reckoned with.

Third man home was Del Wallace who took six minutes off his PB and got his well deserved sub 3 hour marathon. Del doesn’t know if he could have gone quicker but said that he kept to his race plan and watching Del coming down the finishing straight, I feel he still had more in the tank. His goal was sub 3 and really pleased it was mission accomplished. it will be nice to see you back at the track again Del.

Arena athletes to note:
Probably one of the bravest runs of the day came from Juliette Roberts. In her words “I had a complete nightmare on the day with my hip seizing up just after 9 miles sending shooting pains down my leg. It got progressively worse and more painful to the point where it felt almost locked in the few miles and all I could do was shuffle along to the finish line”. I’m sure we can all feel for Juliette and how gutted she will be with this run but to even finish this race in that much pain when many would have quit says a lot about her mental strength and never say die attitude is an inspiration to us all. You may not have got the time you hoped for Juliette but you’ve gained a lot of respect and admiration from your Areneez family.

We have previously posted about our world record holder Dave Robinson who took on the Marathon in a straight jacket, I mean as crazy goes then this is right up there with the best of them. Full report can be found here:

Congratulations also to Kevin Price who indeed shone on stage on the day with his cracking time of 2.56.53 and finished 69th in overall position and bags himself a new PB in the process.

We also congratulate the following athletes who all gained new marathon PB’s:
Paul Arscott – 3.00.41 (you’ve got to be happy now Paul)
Ricky Coleman – 3.28.02 (wanted sub 3.30)
Craig Isaac – 3.21.17
Kristina Hind – 3.54.11
Chris Keene – 3.57.23 (new PB by 1h 20mins – amazing)
Jonathan Britten – 3.52.08 (new PB by 20 mins)

I would like to mention Dorian Rogers who, like Tara Shanahan, took on the pacemaker duties for the Run Brighton crew. Dorian was pacing the 4.45.00 group and came home in 4.44.57. Another job well done.

To end this post we would like to say a massive thank you to all of the Arena volunteers who helped, not just on the day but, over the whole weekend and I know some have been helping in the back ground for many weeks. The support that Arena give to this event is essential to help making the day as special as it can be. As you walk around the event village, you can find Arena in many quarters of the village with everything from the information tent to picking up the race packs, Arena stand out. The mini-mile doesn’t go a miss either with Arena also supporting this and of course on marathon day Arena really come into their own. As you run around the course the Arena Volunteers can be found giving support and water to the runners and lastly as you approach the finishing line, again Arena are there to show their support. We thank each and every one of you that have given up your time to support this event and we look forward to 2018.

To all of our Arena athletes that took part this year, congratulations on a job well done and we are proud to have you flying the vest of Arena 80.

Good luck to those taking on London next week and we look forward to you bringing in the news in due course.

Much respect Arena 80.

Dave Robinson of Arena 80 takes a world record.

It’s not every day you get the chance to talk to a world record holder but that’s exactly what admin did today. I spoke to Dave Robinson, one of our Arena athletes to talk about his latest challenge which he completed. The challenge was the Brighton Marathon, all 26.2 miles of it and to complete it in under 3.50.00. Yeah yeah what’s so hard about that I hear you ask? I mean the time isn’t bad but many in Arena have beaten that time this year. Ah, well you see, there is a twist to this one. Phil Collins once had an album out called ‘no jacket required’, well sorry Phil you are wrong because this one that Dave did, required a jacket but not a tweed jacket or a suit jacket and not even a sports jacket, no this one was a bit special and the fact that he even wore this one for the marathon, in the words of Al Silvester “he ought to be in one”, that’s right Dave wore a straitjacket to run the marathon in.

Now what makes a sane man (and I use the term loosely) want to run a marathon in a garment like this? Dave told me of his aunt who has Alzheimer’s and he remembers her saying that “it’s like your mind being in a straitjacket” and this has always stuck with Dave. Anyway Dave was down the pub with a group of friends discussing the world (and isn’t this where all the best ideas are formed) and the idea was brandished about trying to break a world record. The idea soon snowballed and having checked the Guinness Book of Records, there was indeed a marathon record for running in a straitjacket. The scene has now been set for this extraordinary feat and so Dave decided to run for the Alzheimer’s charity.

In terms of training for something like this, Dave is a pretty fit guy anyway and has won medals at national and international levels for his age group. The training though was a little more different to the usual pounding out the miles. Having had a new born arrive at Christmas time it did throw the training out of kilt however Dave did a few track runs with Kevin Price and some longer runs peaking at a couple of 20 milers. He wore pretty much as much of his kit as he could to try to get used to the heat. He also tried to add as much weight as he could to load it to about 3-4 kilos. He did a lot of Ab work incorporating Russian twists with a ball which would normally consist of a set of 100 done three times.

The world record for this insane run is 3.49.48 and we all know that the weather wasn’t really favourable for fancy dress on the day. To get this ratified by Guinness, Dave had to make sure that he got a photograph of himself at every mile marker. The jacket itself weighed in at 2 kilos and with the sweat and the water that was poured over his head during the race, the jacket, which was a heavy canvas, weighed in at 3 kilos.

A lot of runners talked of the head wind when you turned at Shoreham power station but Dave didn’t notice this, the only thing he could tell was the heat and the lack of being able to swing his arms when running. It was more of a side to side motion which is where the Russian twists training came into play. Now normally when we run we can check our watches to see how we are doing for time and pace but, here of course, you can see Dave’s dilemma. Dave had set his watch to beep at pace time and in order to be in with a shout of the record, he set the watch for an 8.45 pace so he at least had an idea of how he was doing. His first half went well clocking in at 1.49.00 so he had a little bit of room to play with for the second half of the race but for those that have done the marathon then it can get pretty brutal in the later stages let alone with a few extra obstacles being put in your way. Dave’s resting heart rate is about 45bpm but during this race he peaked at 183 with his average for the whole race being 170 so you can see it was fairly hard going even for someone like Dave who is pretty fit. There was however one low light during his quest, which was going for a pee half way through the race and not being able to use his hands, no details required at this point though.

So the world record was 3.49.48 and Dave was heading down the final stretch of the marathon and he could see the big gantry ahead of him and the clock was counting. Dave could hardly put in a full on powered sprint to the line and in his words “I did it on a wing and a prayer”. Dave crossed the line but still did not know at this point whether he had done enough. Pretty well exhausted Dave turned to look at the clock and the clock was showing 3.49.56 and so it was an agonising wait to see if he had made it or not. His time eventually filtered through and his time was confirmed at 3.49.28, he had done it and beaten the world record by 20 seconds, can you imagine just one more hand shake along the…oh wait…well anyway bravo Dave.

What an outstanding achievement from this Arena athlete and such an amazing athletic feat to have accomplished. The world record is still being ratified by Guinness as we speak so we won’t know the outcome for a few weeks but once we have the confirmation we will let you know. Dave was aiming to raise about £1000 for his chosen charity and he has currently hit £800. If you would like to make any donation, no matter how small it maybe then pop onto his just giving page: 

Congratulations Dave Robinson we salute you on a job very well done albeit one crazy one.

Sussex Road Relays April 5th 2017 – Arena 80 break records.

I know it seems like a long time ago (just over a week now) but the news has come in that Arena ladies broke their own W40 course record at this event.

News on the Sussex athletics website quotes “The rest of the records all came in the Masters’ races with Arena 80 breaking their own year old W40 aggregate record of 38:06 with a fine clocking of 36:43 while Julie Briggs, who had anchored the Arena 80 team broke Sharon Elder’s (Worthing) 2012 lap record of 12:00 by two seconds”.

if the day wasn’t amazing enough with the sheer camaraderie shown from all of our members then this is surely the icing on the cake. What a proud day for Arena 80, our ladies and along with Julie Briggs it really doesn’t get any better than this. The club has gone from strength to strength over the last year with many outstanding results from our members and to see Arena breaking records goes to prove how much of an improved club we are.

Our biggest congratulations to the ladies and Julie Briggs on such an amazing result.

What a day at the Sussex Road Relays – Saturday 1st April

What a magnificent day it was for Arena 80 at Christ’s Hospital for the annual Sussex road relays hosted by Phoenix AC for the first time with chipped batons.

There were a record 220 teams that entered this year, which included all age groups, and the weather helped to play its part as well. We were also joined by an Olympian finalist, Charlie Grice,  who was running third leg for Phoenix and a real pleasure to see him on cruise speed making his way around the pathway. It’s not everyday you get the chance to see an Olympian at these events.

But what about the Areneez who made the trip up to Horsham? 28 ladies turned out and they fielded 10 teams for this event, which I believe is a record amount. We are so very proud to say that the ladies took home the bounty again. They came home with the team V40 Gold & Bronze & V50 Gold. There were some great individual performances from all standards, including V40 fastest lap to Julie Briggs and second fastest went to Dani Tarleton. Caroline Wood also took home the V50 individual silver.

The men took 18 along for this event and it was never going to be an easy task with the calibre that was on show here. There were some fantastic performances from our men and we are pleased to announce, that for the first time EVER, our senior men placed in the top 10 which is an outstanding achievement for Arena 80.

We can safely say that It was a very successful day all round and the ladies also came up trumps with cake afterwards which they gracefully shard with the men. So many great friendships are made at these events and it was lovely to see so many of the Areneez using this as a social event as well with so many friendships being built along the way.

Thank you to Tara Shanahan, Mark Stephenson and Steve McNealy for all the hard work and effort in putting this event together for the Arena Club. It is and was very much appreciated by all, as you will have seen by many of the photos shared on Facebook.

The best photograph of the day came from Bob Page who caught Jon Bowditch and Joe Ashley in perfect running synchronisation. Now this is a potential winning entry in our Arena photo competition. They couldn’t have done this if they had tried to, just brilliant.

For those that missed this the it’s worth noting this one in your diary’s for next. year.


Get to know…Juliette Roberts

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the lady very often mistaken for Julia Roberts although we at Arena know her better as Juliette Roberts. A much respected athlete by her peers and very a big hitter in the ladies team. Juliette is pretty adept at most distances and a mighty fine job she does for Arena as well. Julia…oops I mean Juliette has been the mainstay of our Arena ladies team and is an absolute pleasure to have along at any turn out that Arena have en masse. If I were to describe Juliette to a stranger then I would use the three E’s – Educated, Eloquent and Endearing so on that note let’s find out what makes this little lady tick….

Name: Juliette Roberts 

1. When and why did you join Arena:
I joined Arena when I moved down to Brighton in 2002. I didn’t know which club to join but I met Caroline Hoyte in Corals gym so the choice was a no brainer.

2. How long have you been running:
Decades. I joined Bedford & County Athletics club at the age of 9. There was a cinder track at the time and I was wearing towelling shorts, Dunlop green flashes and a Weetabix T-shirt which I got free by sending off the coupons on the side of the cereal box.  

3. Where did you grow up:

4. What was the best thing about growing up as a kid: 
Running. My running mates from Bedford are still my best friends.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Free time? Am just struggling to think what that is. I love anything outdoors – walking, camping, skiing and also enjoy eating out or having friends over for dinner.

6. What’s the one song that gets you up out of your seat: 
Whitney – Wanna dance with somebody

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Go to Uganda. But with my kids next time. The best lesson in appreciating everything you have in life.

8. Have you any bugbears: 
Yes. Dogs who run straight across your path when you’re doing a session in Hove Park. Dogs owners who say “they’re only playing” when they chase after you and dog owners who don’t pick up dog crap. Sorry dog lovers.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Jo Pavey. A clean and hard working athlete who has had a long and impressive career despite lots of injury set backs. She’s also a mum and juggles that with her training while remaining a really nice person at the same time.

10. What would your epitaph say:
Let me look at the kitchen calendar and get back to you.

11. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
The freedom to be who you want to be, political diversity and the sea.

12. What are you most looking forward to in 2017:
Summer holidays, sunshine and some shorter races!

13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
New Zealand

14. What was the first song you ever purchased (be truthful):
Nolan Sisters – I’m in the mood for dancing  (my first casette)

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I got through to the final round of auditions for the Royal Ballet School but chose running instead

16. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you choose to be:
On a beautiful sandy beach with a good book

17. Apart from your children what has been your biggest achievement in your life so far: 
Completing the London Triathlon (Olympic distance) as Keith’s guide in 2008. It was his achievement, not mine, but certainly the greatest sense of achievement I have ever felt particularly after we emerged from the mile swim in open water when a few months earlier he had been unable to swim.

18. Apart from your family, who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with:
Friends who make me laugh

19. Is there anything that you are scared of:
Falling off a cliff while skiing with my husband. His version of an easy run is my version of a near death experience.

20. If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive who would you choose: 
Victoria Wood, William Shakespeare, Annie Lennox


After a 26.2 mile suffer fest, stick your hand on your hip and talk to the mic. Always be ready to face the camera!

ur biggest thanks to Juliette for her Q&A’s this week and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Juliette a little better now. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member. 


Get to know…Kevin Martin

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the man who chased his dream and finally succeeded and by that I mean the illusive sub 3 hour marathon. Kevin Martin chased this dream for 5 years before finally triumphing at the Brighton marathon in 2015  with his 2.58.21. It is his ‘never say die’ attitude that always pushes him on and this is reflective in and outside of this running. Kevin has travelled the world to take part in some of the worlds best Marathons which consisted of New York in 2013, Tokyo and Amsterdam in 2014 and Chicago in 2015, definitely a case of ‘have shoes will travel’. Kevin has been out with injury recently but is hoping to get back to training in the very near future so expect to see him pushing hard around the track soon. Lets meet the man himself Mr Kevin Martin.

Name: Kevin Martin

1. When and why did you join Arena:
2007, after my first marathon, Arena were recommended to me by Kurt Hoyte as friendly and welcoming club, and he wasn’t wrong.

2. How long have you been running:
Since 2006, needed something to fire my competitive juices after giving up football, and someone dared me to enter the London Marathon in 2007, so I thought I better start training.

3. Where did you grow up:
Born in Crowborough, but have spent all but four years of my life in Brighton and Hove.

4. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
Have always wanted to go to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the carnivals, the sights all look incredible. I will maybe look at the marathon at some point.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your time:
Devoted husband and father of three and long suffering Arsenal season ticket holder (or should that be the other way round), and junior football coach and Manager.

6. What would you say to your younger self:
Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard, is a phrase that has increasingly resonated with me as I have grown older.

7. If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be:
Chicken and Chorizo Risotto is absolutely scrummy.

8. What are you most proud of in your life: 
My wife Lisa with her unflinching support and loyalty and my children are developing and growing into fine young people.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
It has to be “Mr Arsenal” Tony Adams, I loved the way he played, maximised his talents and had the strength of mind and character to make a better life for himself, when he hit rock bottom.

10. What is your favourite album ever:
Difficult choice but London Calling by The Clash just gets better and better and brings back so many happy memories.

11. Do you have any phobias:
I am not great with heights, but wouldn’t call it a phobia, but am increasingly getting wary and worried about angry seagulls who seem to be targeting me more frequently when I am out running.

12. What makes you happy:
Simple stuff really, a nice meal and a glass of red with the family, Arsenal progressing beyond 4th place and the last 16 in the Champions league.

13. What do you consider to be the biggest world event of your lifetime: 
I guess the breakup of the Soviet Union and communist Europe, in particular the Berlin Wall, having grown up throughout the Cold War, I could never have predicted that, just shows the power of politicians listening to their people and doing the right thing.

14. Who is your inspiration:
At the moment it is my running partner Mark O’Gara who is invincible at the moment and going from strength to strength with his running, am struggling to get anywhere near him, but am determined to get closer this year.

15. What’s something we don’t know about you:
Have attended 9 FA cup finals (8 for Arsenal and 1 for Brighton).

16. What’s the one thing you can’t live without:
Would have to say my mobile phone would be the answer in terms of possessions.

17. What is the hardest thing you ever had to do: 
Accepting that my son was and is better at football than me at age 10 than I was as an adult, took me a long time to come to terms with that. He also says to me that he is going to beat my marathon PB at the first attempt, not sure where he gets his competitive streak from.

18. What us the best TV theme song ever:
The Sweeney – Had it as my ringtone for years.

19. What were you like at school:
Jack of all trades, master of none, always did enough to get by and keep myself under the radar, but never uprooted any trees.

20. What’s the last book you read:
Ray Parlour’s autobiography “The Real Romford Pele”.

Our biggest thanks to Kevin for his Q&A’s this week and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Kevin a little better. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member. 

Get to know…Patrycja Wollnik

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the enchanting Patrycja Wollnik, the sister to Magda Wollnik also as enchanting. This mild and meek lady is one of our runners who goes about her running in a very patient and quiet manner, but my how she has made a serious indent in her times and notched up many PB’s since joining Arena. Patrycja is also known to like a glass of Prosecco or two and she is always great company to be with. So let us meet Patrycja to find out what makes her go tickety boom.

Name: Patrycja Wollnik

 1. When and why did you join Arena:
September 2016 and I joined because I look good in blue.

2. How long have you been running:
Just a little bit over 6 years.

3. Where did you grow up:
In a small but very picturesque town in southern Poland.

4. What’s the first thing you notice about somebody: 
The tone of their voice.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Read! Sometimes I read two books at the same time.

6. What’s the one song that gets you up out of your chair:
The Chemical Brothers – “hey boy hey girl”.

7. What’s something that you would happily do again:
There isn’t any one thing really but I do like trying new things.

8. What are the three most used apps on your phone: 
Facebook, weather app and WhatsApp.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Paula Radcliffe.

10. What would be your perfect evening out:
Picnic with Prosecco on the beach.

11. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
The people 🙂

12. What makes you bored:
I’m too busy to be bored.

13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:

14. What were you like at school
I hated maths and PE!!

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I used to work as a bouncer in the Funky Fish club.

16. What’s the one thing you are looking forward to in 2017
Running the New York marathon in November.

17. What has been your biggest achievement in your life so far: 
Raising my beautiful daughter.

18. What gives you a high:
New PB’s!

19. Who was you first celebrity crush:
Young Michael Jackson.

20. What advice would you give to your younger self: 
Travel more!!!

Our biggest thanks to Tam for her Q&A’s this week and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Tam a little better. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member.