Monthly Archives: April 2017

Arena Super Series race turns into a PB and record fest.

What a showcase our Arena athletes put on today at Preston Park parkrun. An amazing 46 of our athletes turned out for this 4th Super Series race of 2017 and all the way around the course there were blue vests a plenty.

What of our athletes though well the stats show that there were 511 participants at PPP today which I believe is a record and the first time it has had over 500, obviously the 46 from Arena topped it up.

At this event Arena had 6 in the top 10 and 12 in the top 20 for the age grading results.

Arena placed 6 runners in the top 10 and 11 runners in the top 20 overall. Breaking it down to male and female races then the men had 5 in the top 10 and 9 in the top 20 with the women having 6 in the top 10 and 11 in the top 20, this also includes the women taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. I think it’s fair to say that we definitely put on a great showcase for our club here.

We had 14 new PB’s for this particular parkrun event although 4 of these are by default as they were first timers but I’ll include them anyway. As is always the way for these reports I will name check them all with their new times and there previous PB’s in brackets.

Caroline Hoyte – 17.42 (first timer)
Jon Bowditch – 17.52 (first timer)
Paul Arscott – 18.04 (first timer)
Maisie Trafford – 18.43 (19.08)
Craig Isaac – 18.51 (19.41)
Tara Shanahan – 19.03 (19.19)
Andy Peterson – 19.36 (19.39)
John Thompson – 20.50 (20.58)
Jo Marshall – 21.47 (22.11)
Jo Phillimore – 22.15 (22.47)
Lucy Anderson – 22.24 (23.42)
Laura Loftus – 23.33 (23.48)
Tamar Coleman 24.53 (first timer)
Steve Woods – 26.08 (27.25)

Ones to pick out from this group are John Thompson as this is his sixth PB at this event this year, so I guess all the 20 laps around the track before the warm up do actually pay dividends (note to all).

The biggest jumps in terms of time are Lucy Anderson who had a tremendous race and knocked 1m 18s off her previous best set back in Nov 2016 and Steve Woods who knocked off 1m 17s from his previous best set exactly one year ago at this same Arena event.

Synchronised watch starting.

From the women’s race we say a massive well done to Caroline Hoyte who was 1st lady home with Maisie Trafford in 2nd and Tara Shanahan in 3rd place.

Caroline Hoyte must be very proud today as she took the first lady and her son Reuben Hoyte (now of Phoenix) making it a family double by being the first man home in a new PB time of 16.11.

Now to the club records as there have been some big changes with the events from today.
Firstly we look at the women’s Preston Park time records. There are two new additions to the list and one improvement.

Caroline Hoyte has hit the treble today. As well as her first place in the ladies race, in the club records she has taken first place with her time of 17m 42s and has also taken first place with the age grading record with 90.58%. Now that’s a pretty good haul by anyone’s standards and to still be knocking out these kinds of times should be inspiring to many of our senior athletes.

Maisie Trafford improves on her 5th place to now move into 4th place with her new time of 18m 43s. This was also her best ever 5k time so a girl moving in the right direction. The final new entry comes from Tara Shanahan who takes 5th spot with her time of 19m 03s, quite remarkable really when you consider that she did the London marathon last weekend in a time of 3.09.48 and the produces a run like this one week on.

Here are the new women’s club records for Preston Park:
Preston Park parkrun Women
1 Caroline Hoyte 2017 17m 42s
2 Emily Proto 2014 17m 53s
3 Julie Briggs 2014 18m 01s
4 Maisie Trafford 2017 18m 43s
5 Tara Shanahan 2017 19m 03s

Age grading
1 Caroline Hoyte – 90.58%
2 Chris Naylor – 89.41%
3 Julie Briggs – 89.16%
4 Nicky Yeates – 87.96%
5 Caroline Wood – 87.78%

In the men’s race we again applaud our men for having 5 in the top 10 at this event.
Al Silvester was our first man home in 3rd place overall in a time of 16.47 and, like Tara, this coming off from the London marathon last weekend with his time of 2.39.24, how do these guys do it? Timmy Gedin took 4th spot in 17.04 and Anthony Snelling took 5th spot in 17.09.

In this men’s race Paul Arscott came home in 13th position in 18.04 but it’s not the time that is important here but the age grading that goes with it. His age grading is now at 80.35% which catapults him straight into 2nd place on the club records. Paul has really been in fine form of late and just last week at the Lewes 10k Paul produced a 10k PB with 37.32 which made him the quickest Arena man at this event since the year dot. This will have capped off a fine quarter for this year and very deservedly so.

Here is the new men’s age grading club records for Preston Park:
Age grading
1 Paul Gasson – 82.90%
2 Paul Arscott – 80.35%
3 Marc Steene – 80.17%
4 Alan Silvester – 80.08%
5 Dan Vaughan – 80.06% 

The men’s times have not changed:
Preston Park parkrun Men
1 Alan Silvester 2016 16m 34s
2 Timmy Gedin 2016 16m 35s
3 Richard Clayton 2016 16m 45s
4 Joe Ashley 2016 16m 53s
5 James ‘Dixie’ Dicks 2016 16m 55s

You can find all the club records here:

As this was an age graded event for the Super Series we must say a massive well done to our top three men and women on their outstanding achievements.

For the men our first three were:
1st Paul Gasson with 81.92%
2nd Paul Arscott with 80.35%
3rd Marc Steene with 80.24%

For the women our first three were:
1st Caroline Hoyte with 90.58%
2nd Nicky Yeates with 86.88%
3rd Caroline Wood with 86.79%

Congratulations to all our athletes on a very fine day for Arena 80.

The next Super Series race is the track 3k on Monday 8th May which is always a very well attended event as well as being a very sociable evening as well. See either Arena FB page or check website for further details:

Two Arena ladies selected for England Masters Marathon teams.

Vicki &  Juliette prior to the Brighton Marathon.

It’s a proud day for Arena 80 and two of our athletes as they have been chosen to represent England at the Masters Marathon.

Both Juliette Roberts in the V40 age category and Vicki Clarke in the V45 age category were chosen from their recent performances at the Brighton Marathon.

It’s come as quite a shock to Juliette as she was completely broken after struggling at the Brighton Marathon from mile 9 due to her hip locking but onwards she continued to finish the race with pure mental strength.

On hearing the news Juliette quoted ” I can’t quite work out whether this is some kind of cruel joke or a second chance – I even emailed the guy to say there must have been some mistake but he replied that they followed the correct selection process for those who had registered and he would see me in Chester. I have waited all my life for an England vest and come so close as a junior. Now as a vet it’s going to be in the marathon! Yours in disbelief”.

The website says:
Masters Athletes competing at the Brighton Marathon have qualified for the England Masters’ Marathon teams who will compete in the Chester Marathon next autumn.

Starting from Autumn 2016 the Bournemouth, Chester, Yorkshire, Brighton and Greater Manchester marathons have all provided masters athletes with the opportunity to represent England in the MBNA Chester Marathon on 8 October 2017.

Each of the five marathons act as a qualifying race, with the top five England Athletics registered runners in each masters age category at each race who have opted in to the qualifying system, guaranteeing themselves a place in the England team.

England Athletics Chief Executive Chris Jones commented, “We would like to congratulate each of the athletes who has qualified on their performances.

“The masters athletics scene is an integral part of the sport and we are delighted to give these athletes this opportunity.

“Bodies, such as the England Athletics Masters Association, provide a tremendous number of competitions for our masters athletes but we are delighted to be able to also offer this opportunity and show our support for these athletes.”

The link for the full script can be found here:

You can read more details about the England Athletics Age Group Marathon team at:

From everyone here at Arena 80 we say congratulations to you both and look forward to seeing the pictures and reports in due course.

Not specifically Arena related but interesting article about VML.

My thanks to Vicki Clark, one of Arena athletes, who posted up this article and although it’s not specifically Arena related, it’s a really interesting article of the data analysis of the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon produced by Barry Smyth Professor of Computer Science at University College Dublin. There’s loads of good data to trawl through and makes for a really interesting read so if you like your stats then definitely worth a look.

Sussex Athletics Championships, relay teams required May 13/14


With the Sussex Athletics Championships fast approaching on May 13/14, I am writing to invite you to enter relay teams on behalf of your club.

Relays are often the crowning of any athletics event, and it would be brilliant to get as many Sussex clubs represented as possible at the county champs. The cost is £8 per team.

If you would like to enter a team(s), please let me know by emailing

Kind regards,
Kate Matthews

Message from our team coordinator Dan Vaughan

Vitality London 10,000 – Monday 29th May. Update: so, there can be up to six women and six men in the teams. For the women we had interest from five of you – Maisie Lilly, Kat e Row, Vicki Clark, Emily Louise Hutchinson and Tara Shanahan, plus Lucy Anderson had already entered. If you still want to do it, then as team coordinator I need to submit your entries. Could you all email me at – I will then email you a list of questions for all the data I need. You should then receive an email from Vitality confirming your place. Sorry it’s a bit long winded, but it does get you in for free (I believe).

For the men, Al Silvester and Del Wallace have already entered and T Van Well also wants a team place. Any other men interested?

Thanks, Dan.

Arena runners shine at the Virgin Money London Marathon


London Marathon day is the time it seems the whole world stops and takes in interest in running, be it cheering on friends and family, watching on the TV, or for some, taking on the streets of the capital. As the eyes of the world were on London, the eyes of an eager club member, fresh from high-fiving several thousand runners at the Red Start in Greenwich, were firmly focused on those streets in the search for Arena vests….and boy did our boys and girls not disappoint!


15 Arena 80 runners made it to the start line on a cool morning – ideal conditions for marathon running. Traditionally, as the runners head towards Canary Wharf on the last stage of the event, this is where the day, the miles and (in places) the heat can get to you. Someone forgot to tell the Arena folk as there were a number of noticeably strong looking runners that came into view there. Kudos to Al Silvester, Mark O’Gara, Dan Vaughan and Dorian Rogers as they stormed past the 18 mile point looking like runners on a mission! Tara Shanahan & Marcus Escott casually trotted past enjoying a full on conversation, before going on to record tremendous finishing times. A PB today too for Nicky “PB” Yeates, another whom passed looking relaxed and confident. Some of you were just too quick for these eyes to see but it was good to see Andrew Bargery, Joel Epstein and Stephen Johnson go past in the blink of an eyelid.

Role of Honour

Here are the official results from the Virgin Money London Marathon website:

Congratulations to everyone who took part! We might let you off track tomorrow!

Arena men take team prize for splash point 5k

Jim hadn’t quite got the hang od the synchronised running.

Congratulations to our men’s team who took 1st place in the Splashpoint Worthing 5k on Wednesday 19th April.

The Arena men were:
Michael Barker was 2nd in 17.02
Del Wallace was 3rd in 17.17
Jim Risdale was 4th in 17.20
and completing the line up for Arena was Paul Arscott in 7th in 18.14

With four Areneez in the top 7 places, that really is top team work from the boys.

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