Monthly Archives: May 2017

WSFRL Hove Park fun run 2017 – Sunday June 11th – Results

A big thank you to all the clubs that took part in today’s WSFRL race at Hove park. It was lovely to see so many clubs rock up to the park and help to make it such a big social event. The support from other clubs for all runners was outstanding.

We hoped you enjoyed the day as much as we did and we hope to see you all back for 2018.

For this year’s results click here.

From all of us here at Arena 80 ac thank you.


The Vitality London 10k race report

A race report by Lucy Anderson on the vitality London 10k

The 07:28 from Brighton to London Victoria was the meeting place for many of the Arena athletes for the Vitality London 10,000. There were already a few nerves but travelling up as a group made the journey short and enjoyable. It was certainly going to be a warm and muggy affair with temperatures already in the high teens. Bags dropped there was time for a bit of a warm up – however due to the other 16,000 runners in Green Park and heading up the Mall, it was difficult to warm up as some might have wanted to. Once assembled in the start pens, there was a minute silence to remember those who died, were injured and effected in the tragic events in Manchester a week ago – it was very moving. Runners were invited to wear something yellow in memory, it was fantastic to see so many doing so in solidarity.

3,2,1, GO! The great thing about being slower than most of our athletes is getting to see the fast runners heading back on any out-and-back sections of the route. I managed to see a few Arena tops and there was some shouting encouragement across at each other too. As predicted, it was a hot, muggy and sweaty run. The organisation of the event, however, meant there were 2 very well organised and manned water stops along the route with plenty of bottles of water. Everyone appreciated the showers around the 6km mark – I could’ve done with a personal shower all the way round though! The entertainment along the course was fantastic with everything from African drumming, samba bands, reggae bands to musical theatre choirs – something for everyone! The people of London came out to the streets in force too to cheer the runners on – it’s a great opportunity to sample what the atmosphere must be like on marathon day!

Finally, the finish line appeared and it was over. Chip time removed, goodie bag in hand and medal round my neck I headed to collect my bag from the drop tent – I’ve never seen one more organised and smooth running! I found a group of Arena’s by the tents and we exchanged war stories, all concluding that it was a bit hot out there! A group photo later and it was time to find family and friends and indulge in some post-run refuelling!

Overall a brilliantly organised event with great support, entertainment and facilities along the route. A lovely medal and t-shirt memento and, as always, a great sense of community and team spirit from the blues!

Al Silvester ​​34:16
Caroline Hoyte​35:45
Del Wallace ​​36:30
Maisie Trafford​37:02
David Gifford​​37:21
Teo Van Well​​39:09
Tara Shanahan ​39:13
James Gladman​40:19
Julie Briggs​​45:57
Vicki Clark​​45:57
Lucy Anderson​48:18
Kate Rowinska​51:49

Katherine O’Hara’s race report on her gold medal for GB at Soria 2017

Soria European Duathlon Championships April 29/30th 2017

This time last week Sunday 30th April I was in Spain and raced the European Duathlon Championships held in Soria. I have to admit it all seems like a dream and looking at the weather forecast there today (sunshine and 22 degrees) it reinforces how unpredictable racing can be. When I first qualified in Oulton park racetrack March last year in Chester and decided to go to Spain, I didn’t imagine rain, gusty winds and temperatures below 10 degrees.

The Standard Duathlon race comprises of a 10Km run 40Km bike and 5Km run and the route last week was a complex series of 4 park loops in each 2.5 km which were repeated 2-4 times. The flow through transition is really important to physically and mentally rehearse where losing a minute is easier than a minute in a 5Km run for example. I placed first in my age group at the qualifier in March 2016 which was 8.6km/38.3km/4.3km and at that time my running saved the fact that my cycling was not nearly as strong as it needed to be.

On 11 November 2016 I started the cross-country race in Lancing and the arch of my foot was tight. I had been steadily increasing my mileage and intensity and was ignoring the fact that each morning it was painful. I was a 1km away from the finish line and I felt and heard a pop in my arch, it was as if a car airbag had been released under my foot. Over the next few months I wore a ski boot and was firmly informed by a foot surgeon I could not even think about running for at least 3 months. 

It really helped to be able to see Tom the running physio that Fiona recommended. We started rehabilitation and gradually over the months were able to do specific strength work. I wrote myself a Cross training programme and my goal was to be able to run 10km before the Duathlon. I deferred my place in the Brighton Marathon plus all the other races I had in my diary for early 2017 were also taken out. A combination of the opportunity to represent GB and the expense/time away from my girls etc. I felt the Duathlon Champs had to be my A race for the year. I stretched, did my physio exercises and included hot yoga time permitting. I can honestly say I have never been so strict with dropping out of races and following a physio programme in this way before (my twin sister is a physio and would agree as I have ignored her advice for years).

I was lucky to join in with a group of fit female cyclists training for a ride in Mallorca (thanks Rachel!)  and was able to build my rides from three to six hours alternate Saturdays when I didn’t have the girls. My longest ride was 130km and it had been 10 years since riding that far. A couple of memorable rides to Beachy Head and Tunbridge Wells where the wind rain and hail made me feel incrementally tougher! Without these rides I am sure I would not have achieved the result last week. I also included brick sessions running before and after bike training or spin sessions.

I really missed the social part of Arena and it was fantastic to be able to join in at the Christ Hospital relays in April. One month out from Soria, when I had only started back running, on the 3rd Feb I tested getting up to 4 min/km pace that day. My lungs hurt although my foot felt ok so from there on I built up to short intervals in the weeks to follow. 

Team GB buddies – Katherine and Claire.

The trip to Spain required considerable planning – hiring and shipping my bike plus the expense of kit etc. I went for a Team GB package and stayed at the team hotel which made all the difference. The atmosphere started at the opening ceremony on the Friday night where the whole town came out to welcome us. The team hotel had a mechanic to put my bike together and a physio was on hand. We had to adapt to Spanish time… no evening meals available until 8.30pm so we worked with the fact that lunch was served until 4 pm and just had to go with the flow.

So enough of the story let’s get to the exciting stuff…knowing my fastest 10 km since November was  47 minutes mid-April I checked out my competition before the race hoping I could get closer to my PB’s. I had my Brooks Hyperion shoes which was a risk, trading psychological speed for support. There is plenty of nervous tweaking before a Triathlon/Duathlon which included thinking about which layers to wear as the weather was changing every hour or so and my race didn’t start until midday. Nutrition is also important.

Eva Ribalta is the current World champion age grouper from Spain and, as I expected, she set off at 3.45km pace. I had a race plan to catch up on the bike and was able to catch her on the first lap of the 3 x 13.6 km loop despite being 2 minutes down. Jaqueline Uebelhart was my second main competitor who is a Powerman 2016 winner from Switzerland. I did Powerman (30/150/10) in 2007…in fact it is 12 years since I had competed at this level. 

The race was at altitude 1100m or so and I felt it in my lungs. The Swiss girl flew past me on lap 2.. I saw her thighs before I saw her and my goal was to keep her in sight without drafting (risking disqualification if you get within 10m). I hoped I could outrun her on the 5k…although it’s much harder to make up time in a 5 km run than a 40Km bike. The bike course was hilly which gave me an opportunity to hit 75kph on the downhill. The cross wind took one girl down and 10/80 female standard competitors did not finish the race because of this.

The wind had blown my gels off my bike… luckily I found a couple of clif cubes down my bra (littering is instant disqualification also). I came in to T2 transition and my supporters yelled the Swiss girl was a couple of minutes ahead. I overtook her on the first lap and as I started the second lap my quads started to pull as the inclines of the park were taking their toll. I spotted a German age grouper and panic set in. She was less than 20s behind me and I was at that point where, if anyone was on my shoulder, could have taken me on the line…no matter how much I was talking to myself I could not find another gear.

Showing the men a clean pair of heels.

The finish line was around the corner and I heard people yelling O’Hara… my legs charged for the line and I went through first… turns out the German had another lap to run! My splits including T1/2 – I did the 10km in 42.30, 40km in 1.24 (6 mins faster than the World Champion) and 5km in 21.13. I was the second fastest of the day. In fact for the Sprint distance the winner was a female in the 50-54 age group….How fab is that!

This brings me to my reason why? We all need to focus on this when the wind picks up or the legs are tired… I wanted my 2 girls to know that you can do anything you put your mind to. It was not purely about winning (although it was my goal!)…it was about doing my absolute best on the day. I also thought about my Dad who I lost in 1998 to Cancer. I know he would have loved the fact I did a bike recce with the Irish Team.

One thing I have learnt since I have been racing over the past 18 years or so is how useful it is to reflect after a race. I put so much energy into physically training yet identifying what worked and what didn’t can be a real clue to a marginal gain next time around. It can then focus the mental training that is just if not more important once you have been training for more years than you can really remember. If I can offer any training or racing tips to anyone out there then I am happy to do so. A combination of pre-race visualization, staying calm in the conditions as well as the support of the crowd and my reasons why, got me to the start line.

Next up is the South Downs Relay and I cannot wait to be part of the Arena 80 Team again.

In the words of Spandau Ballet – You are GOLD.

We must congratulate Katherine on such a great achievement by overcoming many problems on the road to Soria. She is a fine example of what can be achieved if you want it bad enough. Sacrifices were made in the short term but it worked for the long term gain. A proud day for Katherine and a proud day for Arena 80. Lovely to have you back Katherine.

If you have a race report you would like to share with the other members of the club then send it to There will be a prize for the best race report later in the year.

Get to know…Joannah Arias

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the girl with the big smile Joannah Arias. A lady that works hard at the track sessions and as the saying goes “work hard, play hard” and having seen this girl in action at the Arena Christmas party then she definitely defines both. A mother of three beautiful children, so where does she get all her energy from to train at Withdean and run in races? It’s beyond me and whatever she’s having then please share it with the rest of the other club members. So guys put your hands together and give a big warm welcome to the lady that is Joannah Arias.

1. When and why did you join Arena:
Initially after finishing Manchester Marathon  in April 2015 and wanting to try to improve my running time but I think I was only a member for about a month by the time I realised I was expecting my 3rd baby so I took a break again until after he was born in May 2016.

2. How long have you been running:
I ran as a child in county cross-country teams and was always very sporty – until I hit my rebellious teenage years and then drank and smoked my way through university etc etc. I took up running again after my second child was born in 2011 for the simple reason that it gave me time to myself! Bliss.

3. Where did you grow up:
Leamington Spa in the midlands.

4. Which three words describe you best: 
Tall, tired and hungry.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Free time??? (I have 3 small children).

6. What’s been the highlight of 2016: 
Awwww so easy – the birth of my gorgeous little boy!

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Have another baby… it’s all just a numbers game now anyway!

8. What was your favourite subject at school: 

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Sorry to be boring but Paula Radcliffe. (admin says: I think Paula has been the most popular answer by the majority of most members so far).

10. What will be a highlight of 2017: 
I was waiting to answer this one in the hope that I would finally get to say running a sub 4 marathon…. AND I DID on bank holiday Monday. It might not be a remarkable time for many Arena runners but I’ve been trying to break it since finishing Manchester in 2015 in 4.02 and then finding out it was a short course! Marathon running is definitely not my forte so I’m happy to be able to hang up my long distance trainers now and focus on achieving some PBs over shorter distances.

11. Have you anything on your bucket list that you still want to do:
Gosh – yes – lots!

12. What is your favourite drink:
Wine, followed closely by tea. I’m pretty much always drinking one or the other!

13. What makes you laugh:
My children, all the time and pretty much anything on a toilet humour level.

14. Name 3 people (dead or alive) you would like to sit in a pub with:
Katy, Megan and Barbara. 3 friends who live too far away to catch up with on a regular basis – long overdue some uninterrupted pub time with them. It’s the simple things!

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I don’t like parsnips.

16. What do you think about the most:
Probably my kids!

17. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, What can you touch: 
The baby’s monitor.

18. When are you at your happiest:  
When I’m with my family/or drinking wine. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

19. If you didn’t run what other sport would you like to have done:
Athletics – loved high jump as a child.

20. What has been you all-time favourite TV programme:
The series 24 – I binge watched it so much in the later stages of my first pregnancy that I swear my daughter recognised Jack Bauer’s voice over her own fathers!

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

Get to know…Dave Robinson

For this week’s chosen member we are joined by surely one of the most insane runners of our club, one Mr Dave Robinson. Many of you will know Dave from his world record set at the Brighton Marathon in April by running in a straitjacket in the quickest time ever. Insane idea to think of but more insane to actually put this into practise. Dave is an all-round athlete and is soon to represent England at the British triathlon age group and he’s also qualified for the sprint duathlon and aquathlon worlds which are in Canada in august. He is also hoping that he may qualify for the triathlon worlds in a few weeks in the 45+ age group! It will be his first time for the duathlon but he’s done the aquathlon and the tri for the last few years. For those that have not yet had the chance to meet Dave then I would say it’s a conversation worth having as he is an all-round nice guy. What sort of man wants to run in a straitjacket? Let’s find out more about Dave Robinson.

Name: Dave Robinson 

1. When and why did you join Arena:
Just over a year ago, basically because I wanted to do some track sessions and Monday eve fits my timetable.

2. How long have you been running:
Shortly after I was able to walk! But mainly until 10 years ago it was for team sports.

3. Where did you grow up:
All over the UK but mainly Buckinghamshire.

4. Which three words describe you best:
Honest, loyal, laid back.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Swim, bike and gym. 

6. Have you ever won any medals or competitions:
Yes quite a few the most notable being a silver for my age group in the European Aquathlon.

7. Tell us about something you would happily do again:
There’s very little I wouldn’t do again, I try never to regret anything.

8. What were you like at school:
Lazy, unless it was sport or if I had a very engaging teacher.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Steve Redgrave, Daley Thompson

10. What kind of books do you like to read:
Autobiographies of successful people

11. Have you anything on your bucket list that you still want to do:
I keep adding to it every day.

12. What is your favourite drink:
Real ale.

13. What is your favourite album of all time:
Meat loaf, bat out of hell

14. Name 3 people (dead or alive) you would like to sit in a pub with:
Robin Hood, Odysseus, anyone buying the round!

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I’m quite shy when I first meet new people.

16. What was the best thing growing up as a kid:
Being loved by my parents and able to run around without a care in the world.

17. What is your most used app and website:
BBC sport.

18. Are you scared of anything:  
Spiders and heights.

19. If you didn’t run what other sport would you like to have done:
Triathlon but I do that now. There’s hardly a sport I haven’t tried.

20. What was the last book you read:
The hungry caterpillar! Currently reading the haywire heart and born to run.

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