Category Archives: Race Reports

How not to run a 100 mile relay race! by Teo van Well

What an honour it was to be selected by my club for the South Downs Way (SDW) 100 mile relay team. I was given the nod during cross-country season when I was eating hills for fun and skidding around in the mud. Training was going well, my body was strong and results were consistently positive. Why wouldn’t I make the team? Well…………

The 3rd June had been burning a hole in my diary for some time. I could not wait for this day to arrive and to finally experience, alongside my friends and club-mates, an epic endurance race day. But it was never going to be as simple as that was it? Struck down with a virus in February that lasted nigh on a month set me back a long way. My physically demanding job coupled with a return to training sooner than was wise were likely catalysts in multiple re-occurrences and a sustained period out. When I did finally get back into my trainers I was dismayed to find just how much endurance, and particularly speed, I had lost. I felt like I had to learn to run again. But I was on the team and even though it was the beginning of May now, I still wanted to get on that bus with five other team-mates. It had crossed my mind many times that I should forfeit my place to someone in better form than me but as it played out our original team (along with the A team) had to be reshuffled due to other injuries. This meant that, even after a mass recruitment drive, I was still likely able to make the cut despite being seriously off-form and lacking in mileage.

I decided to skip some club training sessions and just get out and practice my legs at every opportunity now that it seemed almost certain I had to run. I allowed myself to get excited and to feel like it was ok to be on the team despite my current form as the most important thing was getting a strong team out there to compete.

And so to the day itself: an early start, lots of excitement and adrenaline amongst us and the first leg of the day – getting from Withdean to Eastbourne for the start of the race. I was feeling good, I had practiced my legs at 75% effort which had me completing leg 3 in 30 minutes, leg 8 in 45.5 minutes and leg 15 in 29 minutes. Even though I was not flat out on my practice runs to get these times I figured they would be decent targets on the day as I would have to budget my energy across the whole day and not just one leg.

What I didn’t take into consideration was what I had done the night before! As a former sports player living in dusty, humid Myanmar where daily temperatures came in at 35 degrees Celsius, I had gotten into the habit of drinking oral rehydration salts regularly to replenish the fluids and electrolytes I lost through sweating. But I had none of this magic powder at hand so I proceeded to load my bottles of water with salt and sugar, as a worthy substitute. What a mistake! Despite the sea water taste I received I still just rolled with it thinking it would help me through this very hot, humid race day. But all it did was to give me an unquenchable thirst that meant I consumed four litres of water before my second leg! I was starting to feel very faint and almost delirious as my stomach sloshed around in the mini-bus as we went from stage to stage at good speed. Given the fact that I have an MSc in Health also, so a decent foundation of knowledge around this area, I cannot believe I did not finely research the correct quantities of salt and sugar to add to my water. I’m not even sure there is hard evidence of it helping but I got it into my head that it was worth a try, especially given my prior experience in the heat when playing football.

My first leg was the only one I ran without being ill and ran conservatively to complete it in 30.07. I had hoped for a bit quicker but it was bloody windy and I had held a lot back as planned. Then the drinking began as I tried to replenish myself and get prepared for a gruelling leg 8 in the midday sun. I felt pretty nauseous within an hour of finishing my first leg but I attempted to shield my teammates from this so that they did not unnecessarily worry. After all, they had their own races to worry about.  I continued to drink, tried to focus on the task ahead but was beginning to worry about how I was feeling. Leg 8 was my favourite though as it is practically all uphill and requires a lot of strength instead of speed. I told myself that once I was out there on the run I’d be fine. And so I set off hoping I would make my mark on this race and further leave our nearest rivals behind. As I started the initial climb I knew something wasn’t right as I just had no engine. I set my cadence and although painful, held it for the entire leg assuming it was around 45 minute pace for completion. I chose not to wear a Garmin though as I wanted to run on feel. Other than being held up by an ambulance on the way – costing about 20 seconds or so – the leg went smoothly despite feeling very weak and dizzy. My cap wouldn’t remain on due to the wind and so I ran with it in hand, but I came down the hill to the finish with purpose. When I looked at my watch after handing Del the baton I couldn’t believe it: 48.5 minutes. I could have walked faster! I was so disappointed and could see from the expression of my team that they were too. They clearly thought the ambulance was for me seeing that I was due back 3 – 4 minutes sooner.

As I got into the van to continue to the next leg I began to feel delirious and everything was spinning. Timmy Gedin was catching a lift with us from the A team and I tried to make conversation with him to keep my focus. But I couldn’t think straight or get my words out. I still have no idea what I was saying (sorry Timmy). I just wanted to vomit – large quantities of salty water. I must add that I was still drinking like crazy (although the salt water was long finished by now) and took on another three litres before my final leg. I had no idea how I was going to get through it and by now my team-mates were well aware I was ill. I could no longer pretend as I was acting strange and irrationally. But they tried to support me whilst still focusing on their own individual challenges. I personally believed I wouldn’t be able to run another leg but was not about to share this. I just prepared as I would normally and took to the start line.

The first km was painful and I wanted to collapse but Butser Hill was upon me and if I was going to finish I had to get up it. I then did something I’ve never done before: I walked some of the hill as recommended by Steve McNealy so as to save some energy. It deeply hurt my pride and I hope never to repeat this but realistically, given my condition, it was sound advice. Once off the hill, although I could no longer feel or control my legs, I gave it my all to get to the end of leg 15 and to pass on to Jim Risdale. My time of 32.15 felt like a stab in the chest but upon reflection it was respectable given the way I was feeling. I had euphoric feelings that I had completed my task despite being so sick but those feelings were quickly overshadowed by huge disappointment at my performances. The first thing I thought of was that I couldn’t wait to do it all again, and this time so much better. Even out of form I am a much better runner than that. I ruined my own day with an awful decision to put salt and sugar in my water in vague quantities, and I nearly ruined my team’s day by not completing my legs.

We came home with the prize and I was a part of that effort but I sit here now wondering how much more fun I could have had without sickness and with some respect for my leg times. I am very grateful that my team-mates fulfilled their own abilities which allowed us still to win despite my off-day. It is an experience I will always remember but one I will never repeat. Now what I need to do is get myself in a position to be selected for the 2018 team and to put my SDW relay experience to good use. It is an epic day and race that is very suited to my abilities. But why o’ why did I have to make myself sick?! Three races a day in hot, windy conditions can do that to you already without a helping hand.

Thank you to Steve McNealy, Peter Knee, Kevin Meegan, Jim Watson, Del Wallace and our captain, Jim Risdale for pulling me through. Sorry I put you all through that.

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 marc.bonaldi@googlemail.com. There will be a prize for the best race report later in the year.

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 lyngster@hotmail.com. 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: http://files.marathontours.com/file/2017-Antarctica-Marathon-Results-20E5.pdf

Half M results: http://files.marathontours.com/file/2017-Antarctica-Half-Marathon-Results-600F.pdf

Media files from the others runner:                                                                                               
Videos:                                                                                                                         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DJdd4GpKN4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=iKOJvmB6kyU&app=desktop https://www.facebook.com/carolyn.newkirk/videos/10155076193415270/ https://www.facebook.com/brannon.c.smith/videos/10105414179577583/

Radio:                                     http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/thepanel/audio/201837917/woman’s-antarctic-marathon http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/le_reveil_nouveau-brunswick/2015-2016/chronique.asp?idChronique=432230 (Canadian French – go to 8:40) – works only in Internet Explorer

Articles/blogs:                                                                 http://www.acadienouvelle.com/sports/2017/03/20/marathon-sept-continents-suzanne-savoie/ (Canadian French)                                                                                                         http://thegreatnessofrunning.dk/?p=3784 (Danish)
http://www.lakeforestleader.com/lake-forest-resident-runs-marathon-antarctica                 http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/89385176/Antarctica-last-continent-on-the-list-for-50-year-old-marathon-runner (in fact she is from the UK and lived close to Brighton)         https://staplesrodway.co.nz/news/good-governance-skills/ (in fact she is from the UK and lived close to Brighton)                                                                             
http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/91012109/kiwi-runner-ticks-off-antarctica-marathon-to-claim-rare-medal (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 marc.bonaldi@googlemail.com.

The Brighton Marathon & BM10k 2017

Now that the dust has settled and the results are in, we can now look back on the 8th Brighton Marathon and congratulate all our Arena athletes who took part in the marathon and BM10k.

The weather could have been a little kinder to those running the marathon as it wasn’t only the heat that made its mark but also a fairly stiff head wind at the turning at the Shoreham power station. With the blue skies and glorious sunshine, it did however bring out the crowds which did cheer on the runners through the 26.2 miles and the 10k.

The BM10k was the first race of the day and the first three ladies home for Arena were:
Women 10k
1st – Caroline Hoyte – 35.57
2nd – Nicky Yeates – 44.44 – A new PB
3rd – Isobel Muir – 47.14

 

The first three men home for Arena
Men 10k
1st – Dan Vaughan – 35.52
2nd – James Gladman – 41.21
3rd – Rob Derkin – 42.58
(Please note that positions are given by gun time but using their chip times).

The third place for the men was a race within a race with Tristan Sharp, John Thompson and Rob Derkin all pacing round the course together, that is until the last 50 metres, when they all made a charge for the line. With a sprint finish there’s not many who would have bet against Rob Derkin and so it was the case here with Rob just taking them in the last few metres, enthralling to the end.

We also congratulate the following athletes who all gained 10k PB’s:
John Thompson – 43.08
Lucy Anderson – 46.58
Patrycja Wollnik – 47.22

The second race of the day being the 8th Brighton Marathon and as already mentioned the conditions weren’t perfect but the show must go on and so it did. Arena had a fair few runners out for this with many having personal goals in mind. I take my hat off to each and every one of you for the dedication, commitment and mental strength you have all shown, over the long cold and windy winter months, with your training and getting yourselves to the start line.

The BM was the second race of the day and the first three ladies home for Arena were:
Women Marathon
1st – Soulla Wright – 3.23.28
2nd – Tara Shanahan – 3.28.59 – (3.30.00 Pacemaker)
3rd – Vicki Clarke – 3.30.15

Soulla Wright came into this race having had a virus during the two weeks leading up to this race and was not in the best of health. It was a brave and valiant effort on what was surely a very difficult run for her.

Tara Shanahan took on the pacing duties for the Run Brighton crew. She was pacing the 3.30 runners and with her time of 3.28.59 its fair to say that she got it spot on. Tara then went to help volunteer on the finishing straight for another couple of hours, still showing as much enthusiasm as if she hadn’t even run 26.2 miles. Amazing job Tara.

Vicki Clarke is for ever-present for the big races and always turns in exceptional times. Running along with Tara, it was another fine run and happy to see her running in the blue vest of Arena.

The BM was the second race of the day and the first three men home for Arena were:
Men Marathon
1st – Al Silvester – 2.42.48 – (16th overall)
2nd – Mats Gedin – 2.52.48 (44th overall and 2nd O50)
3rd – Del Wallace – 2.55.00 (56th overall) – New PB
(Please note that positions are given by gun time but using their chip times).

First man home for Arena was the man for all occasions Mr Silvester. Al was pleased with this run and this now sets himself up for the London marathon next week. Al ran In at 16th place overall and should be applauded on a fine race (unlike the volunteers who seemed to miss Al coming home as they applauded the 2nd lady home – very sorry Al.

The stalwart of marathon running Mats Gedin was 2nd Arena man home in 44th place overall as well as coming 2nd in the O50 category. Mats still holds 5th place in the men’s marathon club records with his time of 2.37.49 set in London way back in 2006 and proves he his still a very strong force to be reckoned with.

Third man home was Del Wallace who took six minutes off his PB and got his well deserved sub 3 hour marathon. Del doesn’t know if he could have gone quicker but said that he kept to his race plan and watching Del coming down the finishing straight, I feel he still had more in the tank. His goal was sub 3 and really pleased it was mission accomplished. it will be nice to see you back at the track again Del.

Arena athletes to note:
Probably one of the bravest runs of the day came from Juliette Roberts. In her words “I had a complete nightmare on the day with my hip seizing up just after 9 miles sending shooting pains down my leg. It got progressively worse and more painful to the point where it felt almost locked in the few miles and all I could do was shuffle along to the finish line”. I’m sure we can all feel for Juliette and how gutted she will be with this run but to even finish this race in that much pain when many would have quit says a lot about her mental strength and never say die attitude is an inspiration to us all. You may not have got the time you hoped for Juliette but you’ve gained a lot of respect and admiration from your Areneez family.

We have previously posted about our world record holder Dave Robinson who took on the Marathon in a straight jacket, I mean as crazy goes then this is right up there with the best of them. Full report can be found here: http://arena80.co.uk/dave-robinson-of-arena-80-takes-a-world-record/

Congratulations also to Kevin Price who indeed shone on stage on the day with his cracking time of 2.56.53 and finished 69th in overall position and bags himself a new PB in the process.

We also congratulate the following athletes who all gained new marathon PB’s:
Paul Arscott – 3.00.41 (you’ve got to be happy now Paul)
Ricky Coleman – 3.28.02 (wanted sub 3.30)
Craig Isaac – 3.21.17
Kristina Hind – 3.54.11
Chris Keene – 3.57.23 (new PB by 1h 20mins – amazing)
Jonathan Britten – 3.52.08 (new PB by 20 mins)

I would like to mention Dorian Rogers who, like Tara Shanahan, took on the pacemaker duties for the Run Brighton crew. Dorian was pacing the 4.45.00 group and came home in 4.44.57. Another job well done.

To end this post we would like to say a massive thank you to all of the Arena volunteers who helped, not just on the day but, over the whole weekend and I know some have been helping in the back ground for many weeks. The support that Arena give to this event is essential to help making the day as special as it can be. As you walk around the event village, you can find Arena in many quarters of the village with everything from the information tent to picking up the race packs, Arena stand out. The mini-mile doesn’t go a miss either with Arena also supporting this and of course on marathon day Arena really come into their own. As you run around the course the Arena Volunteers can be found giving support and water to the runners and lastly as you approach the finishing line, again Arena are there to show their support. We thank each and every one of you that have given up your time to support this event and we look forward to 2018.

To all of our Arena athletes that took part this year, congratulations on a job well done and we are proud to have you flying the vest of Arena 80.

Good luck to those taking on London next week and we look forward to you bringing in the news in due course.

Much respect Arena 80.

Luan Ke Kuynh conquers Antarctica Marathon 2017.

During the Spring/Summer season of 2016 Arena 80 were joined by Luan Ke Huynh, an athlete from Denmark.

Luan was working in Brighton for a while and was looking for a running club to join as he was training for the Antarctica Marathon. He found Arena and soon made his mark on the club by gracing us with his presence in the club records. He currently holds 2nd place in the clubs Hove Prom parkrun in 16.29 and 3rd place in the clubs 10 miles in 59.01. There is no doubting that had Luan been with us for longer, he would have clearly made dents in the other club records as well. 

Luan sadly had to leave Brighton due to his job taking him back home but I’m sure his time here at Arena 80 stood him in good stead and will have helped in his quest for this ultimate In Marathon challanges.

No crowd control needed for this one.

We have had a message from Luan to let us know how this incredible adventure went for him.

“The feeling of succeeding when you are going all in. Now one of the few and one of the youngest in the world with a completed marathon on each continent. And I won my first and last marathon – Antarctica Marathon 2017 Winner (March 11th): 3:24.22. Thanks for the support from my family back home, USA and Canada. My friends/colleagues for always listening to me and my running mates for pushing me the entire way. Never thought I would get to know to so many people world wide, revisit my family in USA, Canada and live abroad in Brighton along this amazing and crazy journey. 34 years old – I feel like a 24 year-old”.

From everyone here at Arena 80 we must congratulate you on such an amazing achievement and to thank you for being a part of Arena whilst you were in Brighton. It was our pleasure to have you along and we look forward to hearing of many more of your running successes.

Clearly a different class of spectator compared to that of Brighton.

Brighton Half Marathon 2017. Arena continue with successes.

For once the Brighton Half Marathon didn’t lay on it’s usual blue sky and calm winds instead we were offered a damp misty affair with a fairly stiff SW wind to battle with however the show must go on and so it did. it was another 8000 plus runners taking to this annual event which for the first time included a wheelchair race of 8 quality participants.

The course record for the men is held by Paul Martelletti – 64.53 set in 2016.
The course record for the women was held by Leigh Lattimore – 75:52 also set in 2016

2017 – The first man home today was Jonathan Tipper of Kent AC in 68.37
2017 – The first lady home today was Eleanor Davis of Newquay Road Runners in 74.26 who set a new course record.

What of our Arena athletes I hear you ask, well the first man home  was that man Al Silvester who again looked very strong and impressive. Al placed 33rd in a time of 75.31 just 31 seconds from his PB.

 Second man home and what an epic battle it was in the last mile of the race was the very inform Dan Vaughan who slowly but surely reeled in the distance from Anthony Snelling to take 2nd Arena man. Dan bought it home in 77.56 and just 23 seconds outside of his PB. Dan was also 10th in the O40 category.

Anthony Snelling was 3rd Arena man home and proved again that he is well up there amongst the teams best. Anthony was another man close to his best time and came home in 78.13 and 34 seconds outside of his PB.

Of the Arena women we must say a huge congratulations to Emily Proto who took a fantastic 2nd place today. Emily looked in a fighting and determined mood out there and still looked full of running at mile 11.5. Emily was pushed hard by the lady in 3rd place, Sarah Hill, who had previously beaten Emily in 2015 so it was honours even and good to see that Emily’s almost religious and regimented training regime came to the fore today to bring her home in 81.27.

Second lady home and a superb 10th overall for the ladies was Tara Shanahan who really is in mustard form with a new PB time of 87.06 and smashed her previous best set back in 2015 which was 91.41.

Third lady home was her partner in crime Dani Tarleton who also took a brilliant 11th place for the women’s race in her time of 87.26 and just 9 seconds off her previous best. Tara and Dani were also placed 4th and 5th respectively in the O40’s category. 

Other athletes worthy of note and congratulations go to Nicky Yeates who placed 8th in the O50’s women in a new PB time of 1.40.11.

Soulla Wright taking 3 minutes off her previous best of 91.34 and now down to 88.14. I’m not sure what she was listening too in her headphones but she was definitely bouncing to the beat.

Lucy Anderson who took a massive chunk of her PB which stood at 1.59.13 but after today can now proudly sit with 1.45.58 a whole 11 minutes off – wow.

At the time of writing I haven’t seen all the results but I’m pretty sure there were quite a few other PB’s that also went down today.

We should say a big thank you and well done to our volunteers at the Peace Statue, not only did they do such a great job in keeping things moving smoothly down there but also the support they gave to, not only to the Arena massive but also to the other runners participating as well. It was Arena at their very best and again the camaraderie amongst them is second to none.

All in all we can say it was a very successful day for Arena 80 which ever way you look at it and so pleasing to see our athletes rise to the occasion to be the best they can be.

I read a quote from one of our Arena athletes today that said “Super happy with my half marathon PB! Best thing I did was to join Arena 80.. not only have I got faster but I have met some lovely fellow runners, a few of whom I huffed and puffed alongside today.. thank you guys”.

it pretty much sums up Arena 80.

Well done to all who took part and achieved their goals so onwards to the Brighton marathon then.

For Arena results: http://results.sporthive.com/events/6232162395931082240/races/402739/team/6241610078462793216

For full results: http://results.sporthive.com/events/6232162395931082240/races/402739

“We are what we have done and what we will do!” – Unknown

Wolverhampton 10K and Marathon – 4 September 2016 – race report

Wolverhampton 10K and Marathon – 4 September 2016

Graham Shorter

Yes, you read that correctly. The old bloke who bimbles round at the back on a Monday night actually did a race. For those of you newer to the club, I did actually used to be able to run, 80 minutes half marathons, sub 3 hour marathons until ankle surgery put an end to all that about 15 years ago.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's Graham Shorter.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?…..

Nowadays my competitive juices are satisfied by the triple jump, in the top 10 in the UK for the over 60’s in 2015 (yes, I know there are probably only 10 over 60 triple jumpers in the UK).

My younger son (Dave) now lives in Telford and volunteered to do the Wolverhampton marathon to raise funds for his mother in law’s school. I’ve offered support and advice throughout his training, so said I would go up for the weekend of the race. About 2 weeks before, he said that the 10K wasn’t full, so did I fancy doing that! HELP!! Apart from the ill fated Adur challenge in 2015 (Graham’s Folly anyone) I haven’t run that far in one go for donkey’s years.

So I entered. Duly received my number with a chip in it (to show how out of touch I am with racing, I thought that chip timing meant watching the oven to see how long they would take to cook). The whole set up on the day was really good, although I was amazed at the low number of runners for a city marathon, 354 for the 10K, 597 for the half and only 224 for the marathon. My only reservation was that Molineux was being used as a car park for the event, so mine, resplendent with an assortment of Albion stickers, looked a bit out of place.

Dave’s aforementioned mother in law (Mary) and loads more from her school were all doing the 10K, so I had someone to chat to after the marathon had started before we ran. She does a bit of running so there was definitely incentive for me to go well and get the family bragging rights.

On the entry form I had to put my expected finishing time. I had no idea what to put, so went for 56 minutes, more out of hope than anything else, thinking that 9 minute miling might just be possible. Suddenly it was time, so we lined up. Mary asked where we should stand. My pathetic response was that I really had no idea, except not too near the front!

And off we went. I seemed to drop into a reasonable rhythm, with no real idea of pace until I got to the first K marker, which I reached in 5mins 25 seconds. Not too bad I thought, just a bit quicker than target and I’d left Mary and the rest floundering in my wake. Then someone fell over in front of me, so I wasted precious time making sure they were OK. Strangely, I fell into the same rhythm and maintained pretty much the same pace until 9K, when I thought, not far to go now, let’s push on. And I did! Finished in 53 mins 23, 111th out of 354, and 3rd man over 60! Mary did 1hour 1min, so I’m the king!

For a first marathon, Dave did OK. He’s struggled to put the training in, partly due to having a 16 month old son and partly due to his shift work. He did join his local club, Lawley Runners, to try and get some training with others, but having paid his annual fee, three weeks later they tried to sting him for the next annual fee, having not told him that the first one only had 3 weeks to run. Disgraceful, I said Arena would never be so mercenary, so he told them where to stick it. So all his training was on his own.

He’d done 20 miles at 10 minute pace as his last long run, so he was hopeful of getting around four and a half hours. He went through half way in 2 hours, which was probably a bit quick, as he started calf cramping at around 20 miles. Having finished my race, I ran the marathon course backwards (you know what I mean) and met up with him at around 24 miles so that I could run the last bit with him. Is that pretty extreme parenting or just plain stupid?  He was suffering by then which I became aware of due to the frequent expletive followed by a sudden stop as he cramped. He finished in 4 hours 52, and the good news is that he wants to do another marathon, it hasn’t put him off.

As far as the race goes, it’s not really one that I would recommend, although looking at the results, Arena runners would do very well. My PB for a marathon would have got me third place this year. The organisation was first class. All 3 races are reasonably flat, just a few inclines to keep it interesting. There are road closures, but they aren’t comprehensive and didn’t last all that long, so there is a good bit of mingling with traffic, hardly ideal when you’re knackered at the end of a marathon. The course is not exactly riveting, but then it is Wolverhampton.

So am I now full of enthusiasm to rekindle my endurance career. Maybe, but I know I can’t because if I run more than once a week, my foot would probably fall off. But did I enjoy it as a one off, most definitely!!

Graham Shorter

(Admin says “if you would like to do a write up on any race that you have taken part in, then please do send them in for our race reports to: arena80ac@hotmail.co.uk)