A new Arena club record is set by Richard Clayton at the Worthing half marathon

It was a great day for both Richard Clayton and Emily Proto at the Worthing half today.

Was it only a week ago that we were reporting about Richard Clayton being one of Arena’s finest 10k athletes with the new club record taken by Richard as he set a new record time of 33.21.

You would think that most athletes would perhaps have a break to get those legs fresh again, yet one week on and Richard Clayton took on the Worthing half marathon today.

The conditions, although sunny and cold, did carry quite a strong wind and did play its part out there.

The first 1k is always very fast and the leading men were already away from the chasing pack and were pretty much racing amongst themselves.

The course as we know does have quite a few twists and turns as it takes you through the town of Worthing. At the turn from the town back on to the seafront, the wind took its toll on many of the runners out there today as they went in to the wind on the long stretch along to Goring.

This though did not stop Richard at this point as he wanted to keep it strong and to not let it slow him down. Indeed so strong was his running that he actually passed a couple of the men that were ahead of him. Richard said it was quite a lonely race in some respects as there was no one around him to race with so it was a case of keeping focused and strong and to try to pull in some of the men further ahead.

At the half way point Richard checked his time and he was ahead of where he had hoped to be at this stage as he had set himself a target of 37.30 at this point. He was consistently checking his splits after every 1k and by the time he had got to the turning point at Goring, he found he had lost about 40 seconds due to the wind.

Now on the return leg home and with the wind behind him, Richard could try to make up some lost ground although he could not really feel as though he was being wind assisted. James baker was about 100m ahead of him at this stage and Richard started to reel him in slowly but surely. Eventually Richard passed James but only to be caught and overtaken again a little further on.

With 400m to go Richard had a check of his watch and realised that he could still make his target time of 75 minutes and with that put in one hell of push which took him flying past James Baker and to bring him home as 6th man. What of his time though? Had he made his target time of 75 minutes? We can happily report that he made his target time and some. Richard’s time was clocked in at 74.02, not only had he hit his time but put himself as Arena’s second fastest half marathon time in the club records. Just to add a cherry to the top, Richard also set a new PB time and beat his previous best of 75.58 which he set at this race in 2017, not a bad week really for Richard.

Just to add some sort of context to this time, the men’s HM club record of 1.09.24 is held by John Schaab who very briefly ran for Arena back in the late 80’s. John was in fact an international athlete who ran for Australia which gives you some idea of the standard our Arena men are now up against trying to reach this target.

I spoke to Richard after the race who said that had there been a clock for him to see then he felt that he could have gone under 74 minutes as he still had a bit of running in him and he could have pushed it a little earlier as well.

His target time of 75 minutes was to get him a championship start at the London marathon for 2019, so it looks like its job done then. Richard has never wanted to run the Brighton marathon and has said that he ever did a marathon (which he never has yet) then London was the only one he would do. He’s been told that every runner should do at least one marathon so it looks like 2019 is taken care of then.

Richard has one more half marathon to take on in April up there at Paddocks Wood. Both Al Silvester and James Dicks who hold the next fastest men’s half marathon times, both set these at Paddocks Wood so it could be another good time for Richard as its a fast course although he did say that he wanted to go out and enjoy this next one (why do I somehow feel that Richard’s competitive streak will not allow himself to do this or to even know what this means).

The summer will see Richard competing in more of the 5k and 10k races and then come the autumn/winter it will be all about the marathon training. He will have enough experience to draw upon within Arena 80 with so many seasoned marathon runners amongst the club.

We would also like to congratulate Emily Proto who took such a magnificent 2nd place women with a time of 82.35. As said earlier the wind will have played a big part in the race today but Emily always such a strong athlete, really had a top race and all of us at Arena send our biggest congratulations on a job well done out there.

Arena had a big field out there today and no doubt many will have achieved their own personal goals during this race. Thank you to all for representing Arena and for flying the blue vests of Arena 80.

As for the club records, well done Richard Clayton on your second men’s club record in 8 days, simply awesome. The records now look like this.

Arena Half Marathon Men
1 John Schaab SM ? 1989 1h 09m 24s
2 Richard Clayton SM Worthing 2018 1h 14m 02s
3 Al Silvester SM Paddock Wood 2017 1h 14m 05s
4 James Dicks SM Paddock Wood 2017 1h 14m 27s
5 Bill Mulholland O40 Barns Green 1986 1h 15m 00s

For all club records: club records