Author Archives: Marc Bonaldi

Another Arena club member hits the 250 parkrun milestone.

Like a bus, you don’t get one for ages then three come along at once. Hot on the heels of Nicky Yeates and Alan Garnham who reached their 250th parkrun a couple of weeks ago and so another Arena member has also now reached the giddy heights as well. 

We say congratulations to Rob Derkin who last weekend took to his home turf down there at Preston Park parkrun to record his milestone mark. Admiration to all of these three for putting themselves out there week after week for the last 5 years and some…

Looking at Rob’s PB times from 2013 at Preston Park parkrun well you have to give him credit for being Mr Consistent: 2013 – 20.41; 2014 – 21.05; 2015 – 20.39; 2016 – 20.24; 2017 – 20.29 so it’s fair to say that Rob has definitely not faded with the years of pounding out those Saturday morning’s. Congratulations Rob on a job well done.

Arena awards night, Saturday 21st October

It seems like its all go go go with Arena at the moment with so much happening and so many races and social events going on as well.

As previously mentioned ‘The Arena Awards Night’ is only next month so we’re now inviting you to come and join us for this next club only social event and this special awards night.

The awards night will be held in the upstairs of the venue and it will hold 60 people. It’s on split level flooring and is ideal for our relaxed informal evening. As well as the various awards to be handed out, there will also be a quiz just for added fun. This is sure to be a very popular sociable evening to share a beer and spend time with your fellow Areneez.

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.


Don’t forget to reply to the awards categories that have been sent out to you by email.

Please send you nomination replies and/or if you would like attend the night to

We look forward to seeing you there

Much love Marc & Holly xx

When: Saturday 21st October

Time: 7pm – 11pm

Where: The venue is the Southover Pub,

58 Southover St, Brighton. BN2 9UF

Get to know…Jim Risdale

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the Preston Park parkrun resident Mr Jim Risdale. A firm favourite amongst his running peers and always guaranteed a fast run up against this man. A devoted and loving father, a dad of the highest order and very much a family man, who wouldn’t want Jim on their Christmas card list. A top bloke so let’s meet the Family Guy Mr Jim Risdale.

Name: Jim Risdale

1. When did you join Arena:
Spring 2011, off the back of the Brighton Marathon. Charlie (my partner) and I went along to the Sunday morning marathon training runs and met a few Arena members there. They were friendly and quite persuasive, so we joined.

2. How long have you been running:
I did my first parkrun in 2009. I was chatting to a friend in the pub and she mentioned that there was a weekly 5k in Hove Park. I feigned interest but Charlie was keen and didn’t want to go on her own, so I became a parkrunner!

3. Where did you grow up:
Northampton. I came to Brighton for university in 2000, then lived in Leeds for a while but moved back to Brighton full time in 2007.  

4. Which three words describe you best: 
Lacking self discipline! I should run more, eat fewer Hobnobs and go to bed earlier.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
I spend most of my free time engaged in mundane household tasks or DIY, but secretly I love it. I also love building stuff out of Lego with my two-year-old. His enthusiasm is infectious, although his attention to detail and appreciation of symmetry is severely lacking.

6. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this week: 
I was hunting for mice in the loft and came across my old guitar, so I’ve decided to start playing again after a break of about 15 years. Call it a mid life crisis, if you will.

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Run the entire Isle of Wight coast path. Only this time I’d do it in multiple stages instead of trying to do the whole lot in 24 hours and getting drunk at the half-way point. Blame Al Silvester for that one!

8. What was your favorite subject at school: 
For a while it was Art, then Technology. Never Geography though, which is what I went on to study at university.

9. Who is your sporting hero: 
Well, it’s got to be Mo hasn’t it?

10. Have you gone out with mismatched socks on: 
I wouldn’t have thought so, no.

11. Have you anything on your bucket list that you still want to do:
Run a sub-17 5k. I’ve come fairly close this year but it’s proving elusive, probably due to the acts of self-sabotage described in Q4!

12. What is your favorite drink:
Ale. Harvey’s Best in a pub, or St Austell Proper Job when at home. Port too.

13. Have you gone in to a room and forgotten why:

14. Name 3 people (dead or alive) you would like to sit in a pub with:
My brother, who sadly I rarely see but can beat at pool. My partner Charlie, who doesn’t engage in binge-drinking anymore but might join me for a half. If I had to choose someone famous then it’d have to be Channel 4 Newsman Jon Snow.

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I watch Gardener’s World every Friday evening.

16. Apart from your wife, who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with:
Well, we’re not married, so I guess I’d have to say Charlie!

17. Which came first the chicken or the egg: 
I don’t like eggs (apart from Easter Eggs) but I do like chicken, so I’m saying chicken.

18. Which time period would you visit in history:  
I’d go back to my first term at university and tell my younger self to lay off the Smirnoff Ice.

19. If you didn’t run what other sport would you like to have done:
Rugby, darts or maybe the triple jump. But sadly I don’t have the physique for any of those!

20. What was the last book you read:
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I’m only half-way through but enjoying it thoroughly.

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

Waitrose – Community Matters – Arena 80 Nominated

Waitrose in Western Road (nr Norfolk Square end) run a scheme called Community Matters. Each month three different communities are put forward by the store with a chance of sharing the £1000 allocated by Waitrose.

Arena 80 are lucky enough to have been nominated by a former Arena athlete of ours, Peter Fair. The idea is that each time somebody pays at the till they are given a token to place in one of the three nominated boxes of their choice. At the end of the month the tokens are counted up and the money is then divided between the three as per the amount of tokens they have received.

Please let anyone you know who may shop their or if you have a shop to do then pop into Waitrose in Western Road and cast your token.

Our biggest thanks to Peter Fair for nominating Arena 80.

Get to know…Chris Park

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the easy laidback man of the pack Chris Park. I’ve had the pleasure of running with Chris over the last few years e     specially when we both trained for the Brighton Marathon and training in the http://RunBrighton,com group He is every part a gentleman and carries a very relaxed manner about him, rarely have I ever seen this man be phased by anything. As the saying goes “he is an all round good egg” so let’s find out some more about Chris Park.

Name: Chris Park

1. When did you join Arena:
I think it was 2013.

2. How long have you been running:
I was a sprinter and high jumper as a teenager, I took up distance running for a short while in my late twenties then stopped, didn’t start running seriously again until 2009-10 (first Brighton Marathon).

3. Where did you grow up:
Born and bred in York.

4. What was the last thing you bought:
A 3-pack of fishnet tights. Before you jump to conclusions, my daughter asked me to get them for her on my Amazon Prime account.

5. What’s one of the scariest things you’ve ever done:
Going down a black run in the Pyrenees when I didn’t really know how to ski. A french person told me it was easy. I was a gullible student at the time.

6. What were you like at school:
As far as my teachers were concerned: lazy, a daydreamer, a bit of a pain.

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:      
Swimming with dolphins in New Zealand, but I’d like the ocean to be a bit calmer next time.

8. Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful:
Ocean waves, snowflakes, thunderstorms.

9. Tell us about something you’ve achieved:
York and District Under 16 High Jump Champion 1973. It’s all gone downhill since then.  

10. What’s your favourite book, magazine or comic:
I don’t really have a favourite book, but if I did it would probably be written by J.G.Ballard or Sebastian Faulks.

11. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I used to play bass guitar in an early eighties London post-punk band: baggy suits, cropped blond hair, beret (luckily there’s not too much photographic evidence).

12. What makes you happy:
Spending time with my family.

13. What do you do to relax: 
I Like learning to play musical instruments: I’ve recently started learning the violin and find practicing very therapeutic (neighbours aren’t so keen though).

14. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try:
As a child I wanted to be an airline pilot, still quite fancy having a go at flying, but I don’t have deep enough pockets to take it up as a hobby.

15. Which store or website would you choose to max out your credit card:
I’ve just paid off my credit cards, so I’m not going down that road again.

16. What is most important in life:
Not maxing out on your credit cards.

17. Who in your life has influenced you the most:
My wife Bronwen, always there to encourage me when I have a good idea and to stop me from doing stupid things.

18. What’s your earliest memory:
Tearfully watching our family dog, a red setter, being driven away by it’s new owner when I was 3 years old. My parents gave it away after it ate all my plastic toys, I think they thought it was going to eat me next.

19. Name your 3 favourite foods:
Mashed potatoes, fried eggs, grilled asparagus. 

20. Who is your sporting hero:
Mo Farah.

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

Men’s Cross country season about to begin, dates and details.

A post from the new men’s team captain – Dan Vaughan

Arena Men,

It is my privilege to organise the Cross Country fixtures for us this season. After a lengthy stint, Steve McNealy has handed over the captain’s armband which I shall endeavour to wear with pride. His last 4 years have seen the club improve year-on-year – having been promoted back to division one of the Sussex XC League in 2013/14, we miraculously prevented relegation the following season, finished a comfortable 6th the year after and were then a solid 5th in 2016/17. My job is to continue that upward trajectory.

As an introduction to the world of XC for those who haven’t participated before here is a quick overview. The league consists of 4 local races all of 8k. They start at 2.35pm on a Saturday and there is one per month October to February. Entry cost is around £5, paid on the day. Turn up with your Arena vest, pay a fiver, get your race number and away you go.

There are also some stand alone XC races that I will be highlighting and asking for participants.
A lot of people overlook XC races in favour of road races ( sorry Andy Payne!), but these races are a great part of winter training. They are also good fun, often hilly, sometimes muddy and a great team event. We always finish by eating delicious cake! [If the ladies let us have any of theirs. Otherwise I provide Jaffa cakes, teas & coffees.] And a tent to change in / store bags etc (Teo then takes the tent down). Anyone is welcome and we would love to see some new faces this season. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Dates for your XC diary:
Sat 30th Sep XC relays (teams of 4) each run 4K Goodwood
Sat 14th Oct league race 1 Goodwood
Sat 11th Nov league race 2 Bexhill
Sat Dec 2nd league race 3 Lancing
Sat 9th Dec SEAA masters
Jan 6th XC Champs Bexhill
Jan 20th XC masters Lancing
Feb 10th League race 4 Stanmer.

For now please let me know by 15th Sep if you would like to run in the relays on 30th Sep . This event is paid for by the club so please only say yes if 100% committed.”

A bit more detail about the Men’s Sussex XC League if you’re interested:
We have an A team (division one) and B team (division 3). The first 6 Arena men home score for the A team, the next four men home score for the B team. SO WE NEED AT LEAST TEN MEN TO RACE EACH OF THE FOUR RACES. Like the A team, the B team has been on an upward curve in recent years – we were 3rd in division 3 last season and really should be getting promoted this season given our awesome strength in depth.

There is also a Veterans division (over 40s can score for the A or B team if in the top 10 Arenas home, and score in the vets category) – we finished 10th last year but should be top 5. The first 3 vets home score.

EVERY Arena man is welcome to run for us. The more the merrier. The team spirit in recent years has been great, but we would love to see more of you joining us.

Please email me at with any questions or intentions to join us!
Dan Vaughan

PS There are also cross country events run on Sundays organised by the East Sussex Sunday Cross Country League which Arena runners also get involved in (more sporadically) – see the website for the details: