Category Archives: QandAs

Get to know club members

Get to know…Julie Briggs

Julie Briggs in full flow.

Julie initially started running with Brighton & Hove AC at the age of 11. Julie moved to Crawley and then started running for Crawley AC and then eventually running as a Vet with Arena and what a big gain for us. Julie still lives & trains in Crawley so she only gets to see the Arena athletes at races. Julie works in a local Primary school in Reception & enjoys going on family rides & runs with Gary & Tom. Julie has been a fine ambassador for Arena and is very well respected amongst her peers. Julie features in several of the women’s club records at 5k – 17.31 (2008), 10k – 35.57 (2011), marathon – 2.52.45 (2005) so you can see that Julie has certainly earnt her stripes with Arena. So lets find out what makes Julie tick.

Name: Julie Briggs

1.When and why did you join Arena:
In 2004 as my club at the time (Crawley) didn’t have a Vets team

2. How long have you been running:
37 years!

3  Where did you grow up:
Born in Brighton, moved to Crawley age 11.

4. What would be your dream race:
Finishing the London Marathon strongly instead of dying on my feet!

5. Why do you continue to run after so many years:
I still enjoy it!

6. Who is your sporting hero:
Paula Radcliffe.

7. Define a moment in your life:
The elation of giving birth to my son

8. Have you anything on your bucket list:
To ride a mountain stage of The Tour De France.
To have a go at Cyclo cross.

9. What do you think about the most about during the day:
Food!

10. Who in your life has influenced you the most:
My coach, My other half Gary.

11. What were you like a school:
Sporty!

12. What do you think has been your life’s major achievement:
Giving birth.

13. What’s your favourite brand of sportswear:
Not fussed as long as it’s comfortable!

14. What’s your favourite music / song / band:
Ed Sheerans new CD is being played a lot recently.

15. Apart from running, what else do you do with your free time:
Cycle, read, drink coffee.

16. What types of books do you like to read:
Crime thrillers.

17. What’s something you miss the most from childhood:
Not aching after a session.

18. What do you think would be the hardest thing for you to give up:
Not being able to be active.

19. What in your opinion was your best ever race:
London Marathon 2005.

20. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I used to be a gymnast & play football for a team before taking up running.

Our biggest thanks to Julie for her Q&A’s today and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Julie a little better. That completes our famous 5 blast from the past’s and we would like to thank all of them for giving the club so much over so many years and staying loyal to Arena. They’ve helped shaped Arena to what we see today and we are truly thankful to have had you along for the ride. Happy running guys.

Get to know…Tracey Owen

 

For today’s chosen old school club member we’re joined by one Tracey Owen. Tracey is another one of those members that just can't get Arena out of her blood and has been with Arena for some 27 years. As you will have already read  in the club's history, Tracey was one of the famous 5 that represented England in the team 15k in Italy along with her other Arena team mates, Tracey was an Accountant, and retrained as a Sport's Therapist because of her passion for running! Arena 80 has been the one and only club she has ever belonged to, so she's pretty loyal to those that know her! Early mornings have always been easy for her, so Photography and sunrises are now her #motivation to run……..Tracey is looking at clocking up 100,000 miles by the time she's 55…..and i can happily report that she is still on target! (admin says: wow good luck with that one Tracey and let us know how you get on). So let’s find out a little more about Tracey.

1. When and why did you join Arena:
Approx 27 years ago…yikes! Good question,  and I remember it clearly :-).  I was first woman home in the Lewes10, and Ron Grover came over to me and started to chat. He mentioned that I was an 'unattached' runner and in certain races I would not be an official winner if it was affiliated to the AAA's, therefore as a reasonable newby it would be sensible to join a club like Arena 80 because they also had a strong women's team, therefore I could do well individually and as a team…..the rest is history, one club only;-)!

In truth,  I was so nieve,  and thought I had to belong to a club to be placed:-D! Chris Naylor was there at the time and also sold me the virtues of Arena 80:-). A long story but true:-).

2. How long have you been running:
33 years ish doing races, although 52 years ever since I found my legs!

3. Where did you grow up:
Ive never really grown up, that's why I run! However, Eastbourne was the place where I played.

4. What’s the first thing you notice about somebody: 
Their eyes….then their footwear!

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Photography of all the beautiful things we see when we run……..currently also a volunteer at an old Victorian Theatre (The Hippodrome) to help it keep 'running'.

6. What’s the one song that gets you up out of your chair: 
'Unexpected lover' by Lime.

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Cycle 'Lands end to John O groats' (Le Jog).

8. What are the three most used apps on your phone:
Weather, FB, Twitter.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Juliette Clarke………although, more well known is Emil Zatopek (or maybe not to the younger runners!).

10. What would be your perfect evening out:
Good food with a couple of very good friends.

11. What’s was your best ever race:
Just done it….South Downs Way 50 miler! I've never run that far in my life!

12. What makes you bored:
I don't know the meaning of the word, its not in my vocabulary.

13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
I love the UK, and still have so much to see here.

14. What were you like a school:
Mischief!

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I used to DJ in a Brighton club, and an Eastbourne Pub when I was 21!

16. What’s the one thing you are looking forward to in 2017:
The South Downs Way 50 mile….just completed, and very happy!

17. What has been your biggest achievement in your life so far: 
I'm still here? Joking apart…… the great friends I have made, and still spend time with.

18. What gives you a high:
Running on the South Downs for hours and hours….and the first use of the head torch doing the same as winter arrives!

19. Who was you first celebrity crush:
Kate Bush!

20. What advice would you give to your younger self: 
None….I've loved the learning all the way through…..and long may it continue….

Our biggest thanks to Tracey for her Q&A’s today and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Tracey a little better. Check back tomorrow as we bring you another old school club member with another set of Q&A’s.

Get to know…Sarah Silberston

 

For today’s chosen old school club member we’re joined by one of the long standing members Sarah Silberston. Previously a regular Monday/Wednesday night attendee, however life/work/family have all got in the way of regular sessions and she’s now more of an ‘as and when’ runner’. Sarah has recently been managing to get to the Monday night sessions at Withdean along with her son Jack who is the club’s youngest member who has a lot of potential. So let’s find out a little more about Sarah.

1. When and why did you join Arena:
I joined around 1989 (yes, almost thirty years ago!). I’d belonged to a club in London that only had two longer distance women runners, so when I moved to Brighton I looked for a club that had a strong and supportive women’s team.

2. How long have you been running?
Over thirty years.  I used to run 5-6 times a week and race every weekend, now I’m lucky if its 5-6 times a month.

3. Where did you grow up:
Kensal Rise in NW London. 

4. Other than running, what else do you do for exercise: 
Are you kidding, I can just about cope with running!

5. What is a good night out for you:
A good night in is what I aim for – watching a Scandi drama with my man and a wee dram.

6. Tell us about something that you are proud to have achieved:
My 3:13 marathon PB in London 1993.  It was my first marathon, I was on a real high for weeks after, and at the time I though I could only get quicker.  Unfortunately all my marathons got progressively slower, but no-one can take that 3:13 away from me. Oh, and having my kids.

7. If you could only have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be:
Pasta with courgettes and pesto sauce.

8. What are the 3 most used apps on your phone: 
Not really an app person, but probably endomondo, a parking app, and facebook

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Can I have two?  Firstly, Glenn Hoddle (COYS).  Secondly, Steve Ovett.  My dad took me to see him run around 1989 in a Fire Services athletics meeting.  Not only did he win, but he gave his prize to the person that came last in the blind runners race.  When I first moved to Brighton, it was a buzz to know that I was training at the track he’d trained at.  I always preferred him to that other bloke.

10. Have you ever done anything that scared the living crap out of you: 
Last year I went with a friend and our kids to an adventure centre. We chose the low ropes course, but as we started we saw that the ropes were anything but low, and my friend bailed.  I had to keep going as the kids need an adult with them.  Then my daughter started to panic just after we’d started, but conveniently far enough along so that we couldn’t turn back.  I spent the rest of the course encouraging her to keep going, whilst quietly panicking myself.  When we eventually got to the end, my fingers were streaming with blood from gripping the ropes so tightly.

11. Have you ever had or do you have a nickname:
 Several which I don’t wish to share!

12. What makes you happy:
That’s easy – my kids and my man.

13. What is your all-time favourite film:
Midnight Run.  Robert De Niro’s first (and most successful) foray into comedy, a brilliant double act with Charles Grodin – check it out.

14. What does running mean to you:
Its part of my identity, makes me feel alive.

15. What’s something we don’t know about you:
I was a child model/actress!

16. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Definitely not run a marathon!.  As they are no longer around, have a hug from my mum and dad.

17. What would your epitaph say:
Was still running at 100 years of age!

18. Have you got something that you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of:  
Two stone in weight.

19. What is your one weakness:  
Food

20. What were you like at school:
Swotty and sporty.

Our biggest thanks to Sarah for her Q&A’s today and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Sarah a little better. Check back tomorrow as we bring you another old school club member with another set of Q&A’s.

Get to know…Mike Naylor

Mike with Mara Yamauchi who currently holds the second fastest time by a British woman over the marathon behind Paula Radcliffe.

For today’s chosen old school club member we’re joined by Mike Naylor, husband to Chris and father to Tom. Mike is the man that for soooo many years collated all of the Arena club records until the club just got to big for one man to do this. Mike has been a bit of a historian when it comes to Arena and admin can honestly say that Mike has been a major player in getting the history of the club together and for that we thank him whole heartedly. Mike is an excellent coach and has helped, for many years, to coach the kids at Phoenix and a top job he has done for them as well. So lets find out a little more about Mike.

Name: Mike Naylor

1. What was your first road race?
The Brighton 6 Miler, starting and finishing at Withdean stadium. My longest training run was 4 miles around the Level, I avoided hills. B6M was probably the toughest race at that distance, two climbs, including running up to the Windmill on Mill Road. My first words to my wife Chris on completion were ‘Never again’ I found out later it was hosted by Arena 80.

2. How long have you been running and why Arena 80?
Seriously running, probably since 1986, so 31 years. In the mid-eighties, Ron Grover A80’s founder, had a furniture shop in Shoreham that sold running shoes! Chris and I went in to buy shoes and the conversation turned to running clubs, my wife Chris joined, I joined a little later.

3. Where did you grow up?
Bolton, Lancashire.

4. What is the most standout moment in A80?
Standout moment for A80 happens every year when club members come out in force to help put on the Brighton Marathon Weekend.

5. What were the early days of A80 like?
Back in the 80’s & 90’s before the running boom there were far fewer races. Because there were so few races the cross country league was essential, even if you were not particularly good at it (that’s me) because it made you work really hard and you would arrive in the track and road season all the more fitter and stronger.

Because there were so few races, the ones you did became very important and I would train and taper for each one to get the best possible result.

Also because Arena was a small club, it was quite easy to communicate and get teams together for things like Cross Country and Relays.

6. How do you see Arena as it is today?
Well the club as certainly grown! I think it as a gained a lot of respect on many levels. Initially A80 was not treated seriously by other clubs in Sussex, then of course the great female A80 runners came along and for many years A80 women were untouchable. The women won the South Downs Way Relay from 1994 to 2006 inclusively (Chris has 10 medals). Over the last 10 years or so the men’s Captaincy as put the guys on the map in Sussex really for the first time since the early 90’s when we won the Todays Runner Sussex Cross Country League (now Sunday Sussex League) and went to the National final.

7. If you could go back to one running moment in your life what would it be?
Probably Brands Hatch 10K 1988 when I was desperate to break 40 minutes for 10K and broke 39 by mistake, a close tie with Newick 10K 1992 when I was in the best shape and ran 37:58 which would put me in the top 10 these days.

8. Who is your sporting hero?
Steve Ovett.

9. What was the greatest sporting memory for you?
Hiding in the kitchen in 1966 when England had to play extra time in the WC final. I was too scared to watch. I went back to the living room at 3 – 2 in time to see Geoff Hurst’s ‘they think it’s all over’ goal.

10. What was your greatest sporting achievement?
I have a handful of County Masters Championship medals over 800, 1500 and 5K but I suppose running 36:51 for 10K at the age of 41.

11. What makes you happy?
Too many things to mention, running wise now – being injury free.

12. Have you ever met anyone famous?
Name dropping galore; Sally Gunnell,Mark Rowland, Matt Yates, Tim Hutching, Daley Thompson, Steve Ovett, Steve Cram,  Richard Nerurkar,  Dean Macy, Mara Yamauchi, Ron Hill, Brendon Foster, Charlie Grice  and Jo Pavey, all thanks to my son Tom. Oh and Leonard Cohen.

13. How is the running scene today compared with when you started out?
More races, plus Parkruns. It’s less competitive at the sharp end because the field is spread. Better organised events, chip timing, polyart running numbers, first aid! And a tremendous increase in numbers of women running and running fast times.

14. Tell us something we might not know about you?
I was the Chairman of Phoenix Athletic Club in the 90’s and early noughties.

15. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time?
Too many things to mention and I got a metal detector for Christmas.

16. Who in your opinion is the greatest ever athlete?
Steve Ovett for men, at the moment Paula for the women’s vote. Ask me again in the near future and I’m hoping it will be Laura Muir.

17. Did you ever run the London Marathon?
Once 1999; I am not and never have been a marathon runner and probably said ‘Never again’ to Chris at the end.

18. What advice would you give to a runner just starting out?
Learn to listen to your body and adjust your training and racing accordingly; running schedules or training plans don’t know how you feel and neither do coaches. Find out which distance you achieve your best results. Fight the compulsion to run every event in the calendar and a Parkrun every week. Train clever – race hard – get the best out of your efforts.

19. What do you think of the running scene now?
Locally booming and blooming, Brighton Marathon changed everything. It’s wonderful to see so many women out in the streets and on the downs training.

Worldwide running is still plagued with drugs cheats and will always will be until the sports rids itself of the drugs supplier, pharmacists, doctors and the people who encourage cheats. At the moment it’s too deeply embedded in the sport. Tim assures me Seb will sort it out!

20. Who has been the greatest Ambassador for A80?
Bob Page for all his work for Sussex Athletics as coach, official and event organiser.

Our biggest thanks to Mike for his Q&A’s today and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Mike a little better. Check back tomorrow as we bring you another old school club member with another set of Q&A’s.

Get to know…Roger Ockenden

Todays ‘Get to know’ from our old school members series comes from the man who is probably one of the most consistent points scorers for Arena 80 than other member in the WSFRL. You can’t miss this man as he is so distinctive for Arena with a permanent tan it seems, the tanned bald head, the glasses and his towering figure, well there can only be one Roger Ockenden. Roger has been with Arena for as long as anyone can remember. Roger is keen on cricket as well being a very keen and good photographer who kindly supplied admin with some of the photos that have been used in the history of the club. The photo above is Roger with David Cameron who asked if he could join Roger when he was on the train. they spoke a lot about running apparently.

Name: Roger Ockenden

1. When and why did you join Arena 80:
1981.   Ron Grover, the club founder, had a carpentry shop in Boundary Road, Hove very close to where I lived. From the shop he also sold athletic gear under the name of “South Coast Runner”. To promote this side of the business Ron organised a race from his shop to Hove Town Hall. After I ran this race Ron persuaded me to join his newly formed running club. Ron had previously been very involved with Brighton & Hove Athletic Club & for the next few years there was a poor relationship between the two clubs.

2. How long have you been running:
37 years. During that time I have run over 2800 races in the Arena 80 colours. Until the last 3 years I had been very lucky with injuries & illness.

3. Where did you grow up:
Hove

4. What was it like running around Brighton in the earlier days: 
More enjoyable than today! In the 80’s there were a lot less cars, so crossing the Old Shoreham Road or the seafront area was not as dangerous as it is today.

5. Where is your favourite place to eat:
My three favourite restaurants in the Brighton area:
1 Thatched Inn at Keymer
2 Coggins, Dyke Road, Brighton
3 Old Tollgate, Bramber

6. What were the early days of Arena 80 like:
There were not as many members as there are today, but the standard throughout was very high. Two years in a row in the 80’s, both the men’s & women’s senior/vets teams were Sussex Grand Prix Champions.

7. How do you see Arena 80 as it is today:
Like most clubs, Arena 80 now has a very large membership. The club is also blessed to have so many people prepared to spend their spare time working for & promoting the club.

8. If you could go back to one moment in your life, what would it be: 
When I was 16 I played every sport going, at a reasonable standard – cricket, football, ten-pin-bowling, free-style wrestling, tennis etc. My true love was cricket, & I had the talent to be successful at the game. Unfortunately I wasted the opportunity I had at the time, & I now regret having let so many people down.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Ian Botham

10 What is the greatest ever sporting moment in history: 
A boxing event – even though I hate boxing! In 1974 George Foreman fought Muhammad Ali in Zaire. It was billed as “The Rumble in the Jungle”

11. What was your greatest ever running achievement:
My PB for 5k is 17 mins 1sec. I achieved this at one of our Hove Park races. The reason why this is so special for me is that I’d had no sleep the night before the race, as I had spent all Saturday – day & night – helping our club runners doing the South Downs 80. I drove back from Eastbourne to Hove on Sunday morning, straight to the race!

12. What makes you happy:  
A warm sunny day.

13. Where is your favourite place to run:
I have 4…..

  • In 4th place – Glendalough, Southern Ireland. I have run round this beautiful place at least 10 times
  • In 3rd place – sandy beaches on the Gold Coast, Barbados
  • In 2nd place – the South West coast path from Looe to Polperro. I must have done this over 100 times, but these days the whole area is suffering from severe erosion.
  • In 1st place – my absolute favourite is Dubai. I have been to this amazing place 9 times, & every evening at sunset I will run round a parade ground for about 20 minutes. The temperature even at that time of day is over 90°. There are always many informal cricket matches taking place at the parade ground, mostly involving the local Asian workforce. At dusk the “call for prayers” is heard from the many tannoys & the cricket matches come to an abrupt halt! The cricketers disappear to one of the many nearby Mosques. By this time all the amazing skyscrapers – including the Burj Khalifa – are illuminated. A truly amazing sight.

14. How is the running scene today, compared to when you started out:
Today as many women run as men. Certainly in the 80’s & 90’s only a handful of women raced, but they were of a very high standard.

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I have always enjoyed a challenge in life.

  • I was one of the first people to join the “92 Club” – seeing a league match on all of the 92 Football League Grounds. On 77 of the grounds (out of the 92) I watched the Seagulls.
  • I have also watched cricket on over 100 different County grounds.
  • Two of my slightly “odder” achievements in the 80’s-90’s was visiting every pier, & bowling at every ten-pin-bowling alley in England! I won’t tell you what my wife thought!!
  • I have been lucky enough to have walked the whole length of many of the long distance pathways in England. The South Downs Way is still my favourite.
  • At the moment I am about 300 miles short of travelling on every British Rail line.

Well, you did ask!!

16. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Eating out, walking, going to the beach, cricket, travelling, and photography.

17. Who in your opinion is the greatest ever athlete: 
Usain Bolt

18. Did you ever run the London marathon:  
Yes! Just the once in 1986, my time was 3 hours 37 mins. I ran over 30 marathons & did not run a “good” time. I always hit the dreaded wall at 20 miles.

19. What advice would you give anyone just starting out running:
When you first start running, whatever the cost, make sure your running shoes are the right ones for you & that you clothes are comfortable to run in. Expect to take some time before you reach your peak, then you can go for your PBs over the next few years

20. What do you miss from your early running days:
Sensible entry fees! The cost of races was never over £5, & the West Sussex Fun League was only £1.

Our biggest thanks to Roger for his Q&A’s today and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Roger a little better. Check back tomorrow as we bring you another old school club member with another set of Q&A’s. 

Get to know…David Gifford

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the man who is a quiet mannered man but has a lot of interesting stories. Since joining the club his running has gone from strength to strength and can always be relied on to give his 100% best. In the Arena team events he can be relied on to give the team a points boost. He is an absolute pleasure to hang with and very easy to chat to. So please raise a glass to Mr David Gifford. 

Name: David Gifford 

1. When and why did you join Arena: 
Off an on since 2012 (mostly off!) but made an effort last year to become more consistent.

2. How long have you been running:
XC club at School then off and on with clubs since University.

3. Where did you grow up:
Hertfordshire, in a little town called Letchworth.

4. How many pairs of trainers do you have: 
Six (currently in use). Mostly Mizuno at the moment.

5. Name 3 people that you would have round for dinner (living or deceased).
A Chef, a Sommelier and my beautiful Wife.

6. Tell us about something you would happily do again:
Join the British Army, one of the best decisions I ever made.

7. If you had one word to describe yourself, what would you choose:
Reliable

8. Have you got any running rituals you do before a race:
No, maybe I should……

9. Who are your sporting hero:
The Brownlee brothers. I like the banter & respect between them, plus the way they push themselves to the edge, and over it sometimes.

10. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, what can you touch:
A pillow, from our ‘pillow shelves’ we sometimes also sit on.

11. What is your one weakness:
Currently a sub 18min 5k then hopefully a 17:30 5k! Out side of running a good Steak but my wife would say chocolate.

12. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear:
The baby monitor.

13. If money was no object, where would you most like to visit: 
113 Park Ln, Mayfair, London, W1K 7AJ. (It’s the address of the Aston Martin show room in Mayfair).

14. What type of music do you like to listen to: 
90’s Indie, Shed Seven, Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis etc, but have a healthy mix on the ITunes.

15. What’s something we don’t know about you:
I have drifted in the Pacific off the coast of Ecuador, after the propeller on the boat I was in fell off.  Taught me for paying a local in some random village $10 to see whales, saw some though so got what I paid for I guess.

16. What were you like at School.
Not as academic as my Parents and Teachers would have liked.

17. What’s the furthest you have ridden on your bike:
I’ve forgotten, it’s been so long! I did do a Half Ironman (70.3) once, so a couple of miles but not into three digits. Prefer to swim for a bit of cross training.

18. Would you prefer to go bungee jumping or sky diving and have you done either or are you going to at some point:
Jumped out of one once, intentionally, but on a static line if that counts. Prefer my landings to match my takeoffs, so I guess a bungee jump would be fun.

19. What was the last photo you took on your phone:
My 11 month old daughter doing something amazing, again…….

20. Where are you happiest when you are out running:
I like running out in the countryside, there are some great routes around my village and out onto the Down’s, when I get the chance.

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

Get to know…Fiona Jamie

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the lady who I’ve been badgering for ages to get to do this. Finally she has succumbed if nothing else than to stop me camping outside her house until she said yes. This is the lady with a big smile, a big heart and would be the first person to add to your party list. She has been a big part of Arena over many years and still plays her part now as she was very much involved with the Ladies winning this years SDW relay. She tales no prisoners in her job and I say that from experience. A keen cyclist and willing to give most things a go, we are very lucky to have her along at Arena. Ladies and gentlemen please be upstanding for her Ladyship Fiona Jamie.

Name: Fiona Jamie

1. When and why did you join Arena:
I can’t remember exactly when I joined – somewhere around 1996/97. I had just sold my shop and I was trying to get fit and I had dabbled with running since my teens.

2. How long have you been running:
I have been jogging/running on and off for about 40 years!!

3. Where did you grow up:
I grew up in a Kentish village near Canterbury – my Dad was the local GP.

4. Define a moment in your life:
I was so pleased with myself when I bought my first brand new car. I had missed out on getting a company car when I was working for Hotpoint in Peterborough and I was pretty miffed that other colleagues had got one, so I just went to the local dealer and bought “Cybil” who was a bright red Peugeot 205!

5. What types of holidays do you prefer:
I like skiing holidays in the winter and Neilson holidays in the summer – in other words I don’t like to sit still or sightsee or shop…

6. How long does it take you to get ready to go out:
About 5 minutes!

7. What would your epitaph say:
A bit like my old school reports – “Had a go at life, but could have done better!”

8. Have you ever done anything that scared you:
Tipped the boat over while white water rafting in the Zambezi just below the Victoria Falls – very scary…..

9. Who would you most like to sit and have a drink with:
I think it would be great to sit down with the Queen and get her a bit sozzled so that she could tell me what has really gone behind the Palace doors over the years.

10. What would be the hardest thing for you to give up:
On equal footing – New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Skippy Crunchy Peanut Butter and Toblerone.

11. What were you like a school:
Naughty, lazy and chubby! I hated every minute of it.

12. What is your one weakness:
I’m sure I have many weaknesses, but I really can’t do mental arithmetic…..

13. Who was you first celebrity crush pop star and film star:
David Essex

14. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 72, and find line 9, what does it say:
By following a few simple guidelines while walking the coast to coast path…

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
Despite hating school, I have a degree in Industrial Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration

16. Who is your sporting hero:
Sir Steve Redgrave

17. What one thing do you like to do the most:
Mountain-biking anywhere away from the crowds – at the moment through the bluebells at Stanmer.

18. Apart from running what else do you like to do in your free time:
I don’t have much in the way of free time, but mountain biking or out walking with the dogs.

19. What do you think about the most:
I am always thinking about what I have to do next!

20. What is the most amazing place you have visited:
The Okovango Delta in Botswana.

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

Get to know…Jon Bowditch

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the man who is probably one of the most consistent runners in the club. This man quietly goes about with his training but definitely produces the goods when he is out there running competitively. He is very much an old school gent and a real pleasure to chat with. I have a feeling you are going to learn a lot about Jon Bowditch when you read his Q&A’s so let’s meet and find out what makes Mr Bowditch tick.

1. When and why did you join Arena: 
2015 to try and bring a little respectability back to my times.

2. How long have you been running: 
Up until I was 16 and then a long break until I started again tentatively in 2010.

3. Where did you grow up: 
In the nicer part of Stoke-on-Trent.

4. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go: 
I’ve been to quite a few place but still not yet got round to anywhere in South America so probably Brazil or Argentina.

5. What else do you do with your time: 
During the winter months it will be following the mid table adventures of Stoke City. Away from that it’s cinema, books, comedy gigs, music and an unhealthy obsession with news and politics.

6. What will be a highlight of 2017:
To wake up happy on the 9th June, but that may be too optimistic so I’ll settle for breaking all my PB’s as I only have the 10k and HM left to do this year.

7. What is your all-time favourite film:  
The one which has had the most repeat viewings in recent years has been The Lives of Others. Also gave me the idea of visiting the Stasi museum in Berlin which obviously didn’t disappoint.

8. Who is your sporting hero: 
Mark Stein (Football) and Thomas Voeckler (Cycling).

9. What was the last book you read: 
John Smith – A Life by Andy McSmith.

10. Tell us about something you would happily do again: 
Cycle up Mont Ventoux although I have my sights set upon the Dolomites for my next cycling adventure.

11. If you could have 3 people (dead or alive) for dinner who would you choose: 
Nicky Wire, Annie Clarke and Belinda Blumenthal.

12. What is your favourite album ever: 
The Holy Bible – Manic Street Preachers.

13. Have you ever had or do you have a nickname:  
T-Bone.

14. Have you got something that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away: 
No. Free yourself from the tyranny of objects.

15. What is the greatest moment in history during your lifetime 
1st May, 1997 and the Portillo moment or 17th April, 2011 FA Cup Semi Final Bolton 0 – Stoke City 5. Both were well worth the long wait.

16. What makes you bored 
Theresa May.

17. What’s your favourite race 
There used to be a race in Stoke called the Milton 10k which happened to be about a minutes’ walk from my house which was handy.

18. If you didn’t run what other sport would you like to have done? 
I plan to do dedicate myself to cycling more once my body can’t take running anymore which may not be too far off now. Always thought I’d be good at golf but it turns out I’m terrible.

19. What has been you all-time favourite TV programme? 
Would have to Mad Men. Perfect combination of style and substance.

20. What is the last film you saw at the cinema?
Lady Macbeth which I think will be a contender for film of the year. Well worth a watch.

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