Category Archives: Race Reports

How have our club records changed in 1 year?

As another year has passed by I thought it would be good to look at the club records for 2017 and see how they have changed since January 1st 2017 to December 31st 2017.

Some races will have had slight changes as the races will be all about seconds being taken off and others may have new names making their way in as our athletes strive to push themselves to gain new PB’s. There are some categories which will stay very stagnant, this could be to the fact that we had internationals running for the club in year’s gone by and the times will be out of reach for many of our athletes. Arena have had some exceptional athletes over the year’s and these times may well stay with us for a few more year’s yet. None the less as we look at the club records, you will see that there have been many changes this year and it’s always good to see the records being broken as our athletes push on for excellence.

Looking at the tables and the new records, it is only right that the two people who have had the biggest impact on the club records this year are also our two Super Series champions in the form of Richard Clayton and Tara Shanahan. Coincidence? Not at all, these two athletes have excelled this year and have been right on top of their running game and so it’s proved with Richard featuring 4 times and Tara featuring 6 times. Well done to you both on par excellence and for raising the bar for others now to chase.

Richard Clayton                                     Tara Shanahan

The tables show who the new entries are and who have made improvements to their positions or times already attained in the club records. So without further ado let’s have a look.

5K Men
1 Richard Burgess-Gamble SM Kings Head Canter 2013 16m 14s
2 Richard Clayton SM Kings Head Canter 2017 16m 21s – Improvement
3 Joe Ashley SM Hove Park 2016 16m 25s
4 Al Silvester SM Hove Park 2016 16m 27s
5 Jim Roberts SM Hove Park TT 2008 16m 29s
The Men’s 5k times continue to be pushed and the last 2 years has seen a significant change in the records. This year Richard Clayton pushed himself up the table by 2 places with an improvement to his time by 7 seconds.

5K Women
1 Caroline Hoyte O35 Hyde Park 2010 16m 26s
2 Fiona Clark SW Birmingham 2008 16m 58s
3 Julie Briggs O35 Hove Park TT 2008 17m 31s
4 Sophie Coleman SW Hyde Park 2007 17m 43s
5 Emily Proto SW Hove Park TT 2014 17m 44s
No change

10K Men
1 Al Silvester SM Phoenix 10K 2016 33m 54s
2 Richard Burgess-Gamble SM Newick 10K 2010 33m 59s
3 Richard Clayton SM Phoenix 10K 2017 34m 00s – Improvement
4 Tim Gedin SM Brighton 2010 34m 09s
5 Mats Gedin O40 Brighton 2005 34m 13s
It was that man again Richard Clayton, who has had a fantastic year, who made a 22 second improvement to his time and moving up from his 5th place to 3rd in the table.

10K Women
1 Caroline Hoyte O35 Chichester 2008 33m 27s
2 Lynn Williams SW Brooks 1998 34m 28s
3 Fiona Clark SW Brighton 2009 34m 44s
4 Julie Briggs O35 Chichester 2011 35m 57s
5 Emily Proto SW Hove Prom 2015 36m 32s
No change

10 Miles Men
1 Al Silvester SM Bright10 2016 57m 21s
2 Gary McKivett SM Oldbury10 2016 57m 40s
3 James Dicks SM Bright10 2017 58m 42sNew Entry
4 Luan Huynh SM Bright10 2015 59m 01s
5 Joe Ashley SM Bright10 2015 59m 17s
The 10 miler table has had a resurgence over the last two years probably due to other 10 mile races now available to race. Bright10 seems to be the place to make the grade here and this year it was James Dicks who was a new entry in at 3 with his 58.42 and now takes his place in the hall of fame.

10 Miles Women
1 Caroline Hoyte SW Sandiacre 1998 56m 40s
2 Fiona Clark SW Portsmouth 2009 58m 12s
3 Emily Proto SW Bright10 2015 59m 35s
4 Tracy Owen SW Hailsham 1994 61m 11s
5 Vicki Clark V40 Portsmouth 2010 63m 13s
No change

Half Marathon Men
1 John Schaab SM ? 1989 1h 09m 24s
2 Al Silvester SM Paddock Wood 2017 1h 14m 05s – Improvement
3 James Dicks SM Paddock Wood 2017 1h 14m 27s – New Entry

4 Bill Mulholland O40 Barns Green 1986 1h 15m 00s
5 Richard Clayton SM Worthing 2017 1h 15m 58s – New Entry
The Men’s half marathon has seen a major overhaul this year with 2 new entries and 1 improvement. Al Silvester had a very impressive HM this year and moves up 1 place with his new time of 1.14.05 an improvement of 55 seconds on his previous best. A new entry in at 3 comes James Dicks who also had a very impressive run at Paddock Wood HM following Al Silvester round and got a new PB time of 1.14.27. It’s that man Richard Clayton who makes his debut in to the top 5 and looks like the man for all race occasions as he takes 5th spot place with his 1.15.58 set at Worthing.

Half Marathon Women
1 Fiona Clark SW Bath 2010 1h 15m 50s
2 Caroline Hoyte O35 Hastings 2009 1h 16m 57s
3 Eva Isaacs O35 Stockholm 1990 1h 18m 34s
4 Emily Proto SW Cardiff 2015 1h 18m 43s
5 Dianna Hepplewhite SW ? 1992 1h 19m 57s
No change

Marathon Men
1 Jan Swenson SM London 1989 2h 17m 17s
2 Gary McKivett SM London 2016 2h 36m 41s
3 Bob Shannon O40 London 1999 2h 37m 27s
4 Richard Burgess-Gamble SM Amsterdam 2012 2h 37m 36s
5 Mats Gedin O40 London 2006 2h 37m 49s
No change

Marathon Women
1 Eva Isaacs O35 Berlin 1986 2h 42m 23s
2 Fiona Clark SW Florence 2010 2h 48m 25s
3 Jane Gardner O35 ? 1993 2h 51m 42s
4 Lesley Barratt SW ? 1985 2h 52m 00s
5 Julie Briggs O35 London 2005 2h 52m 45s
No change

Parkrun Records
Brighton & Hove parkrun Men
1 Joe Ashley 2016 16m 25s
2 Al Silvester 2016 16m 27s
3 Jim Roberts 2008 16m 29s
4 Timmy Gedin 2011 16m 32s
5 Richard Clayton 2016 16m 38s
No change

Age grading
1 Charlton Rudwick – 85.46%
2 Paul Gasson – 84.14%
3 Joe Ashley – 81.68%
4 Paul Arscott 81.66%New Entry
5 Dan Vaughan – 80.89%
A new entry from Paul Arscott as he enters the age grading table at No 4 with his 81.66%. There is something to be said for getting slightly older/

Brighton & Hove parkrun Women
1 Caroline Hoyte 2009 16m 43s
2 Julie Briggs 2008 17m 31s
3 Emily Proto 2014 17m 44s
4 Tara Shanahan 2017 18m 22s Improvement
5 Louise Vallier 2011 18m 23s
Tara Shanahan has had a superb running year and features strongly in this year’s parkrun records with the first of them coming at Brighton & Hove as she made an improvement of 9 seconds and moves up 1 place on the table. If I remember rightly she did this on her birthday and also a special milestone parkrun so a nice birthday present to herself.

Age grading
1 Caroline Hoyte – 90.63%
2 Chris Naylor – 90.36%
3 Louise Vallier – 88.20%
3 Tara Shanahan – 88.20% New Entry
5 Julie Briggs – 87.73%
Tara again shows here as a new entry in at 3 which tied in with her 18.22 run. She features here with her 88.20% age grading and is in equal 3rd place with Louise Vallier.

Preston Park parkrun Men
1 Alan Silvester 2016 16m 34s
2 Timmy Gedin 2016 16m 35s
3 Richard Clayton 2016 16m 45s
4 Joe Ashley 2016 16m 53s
5 James ‘Dixie’ Dicks 2016 16m 55s
No change

Age grading
1 Paul Gasson – 82.90%
2 Paul Arscott – 80.35% – New Entry
3 Marc Steene – 80.24% – Improvement

4 Alan Silvester – 80.08%
5 Dan Vaughan – 80.06% – New Entry
Preston Park has had a big change-up in the age grading table with 2 new entries and one improvement. A new entry in at 2 is Paul Arscott who seems to have done well this year with his age grading of 80.35%. Marc Steene makes a slight improvement of 0.75% to hold on to 3rd spot. Dan Vaughan is the other new entry as he takes 5th spot with 80.06%.

Preston Park parkrun Women
1 Caroline Hoyte 2017 17m 42s – New Entry
2 Emily Proto 2014 17m 53s
3 Julie Briggs 2014 18m 01s
4 Maisie Trafford 2017 18m 43s – New Entry
5 Tara Shanahan 2017 19m 03s – Improvement

It seems as if Preston Park was the place to be to make the club records with the women having some of the action too. There are 2 new entries and one improvement in terms of the times. The ever youthful Caroline Hoyte comes flying in to pole position with a masterful run in a time of 17.42. The new kid on the block in 2017 was Maisie Trafford who, in only her 2nd run for the club, took Preston Park on and came away with 4th spot in the table with her time of 18.43. Tara again showing her speed as she improves her previous time by 16 seconds to secure the 5th spot with her 19.03.

Age grading
1 Chris Naylor- 91.10%Improvement
2 Caroline Hoyte – 90.58% – New Entry
3 Julie Briggs – 89.16%
4 Nicky Yeates – 87.96% – New Entry
5 Caroline Wood – 87.78%
In the Preston Park age grading table we have one improvement and 2 new entries. Queen once sung ‘don’t stop me now’ which seems to be Chris Naylor’s anthem as she just keeps on pushing that age grading result upwards as she improved her grading by a 1.69% and breaks through the 91% barrier to now stand at 91.10%.
A new entry in at 2 is Caroline Hoyte, which ties in with her race time, as she breaks in to the 90’s with her age grading of 90.58%. Nicky Yeates is the other new entry in at 4 and continues to impress as she has done throughout 2017 and brings her age grading to 87.96%.

Did you know that 5 Arena ladies now feature in the best top 10 age grading league results.

Hove Promenade parkrun Men
1 Richard Clayton 2017 16m 22s – Improvement
2 Timmy Gedin 2016 16m 28s
3 Luan Huynh 2016 16m 29s
4 Al Silvester 2016 16m 34s
5 Anthony Snelling 2016 17m 11s

The Hove Prom has one improvement to the table and yes it’s that man Richard Clayton who makes the improvement. He moves up 4 places to top spot with his time of 16.22 taking 38 seconds off this previous best here.

Age grading
1 Paul Gasson – 83.10%
2 Dan Vaughan – 82.38% – Improvement
3 Kevin Lowe – 80.17%
4 Andy Payne – 80.14%
5 Al Silvester – 80.08%
One improvement here as Dan Vaughan keeps hold of his 2nd place with a big improvement of 2.38% with this new grading being 82.38%.

Hove Promenade parkrun Women
1 Emily Proto 2016 17m 53s
2 Caroline Hoyte 2015 17m 59s
3 Emily Hutchinson 2016 18m 31s  – Improvement
4 Maisie Trafford 2017 18m 47s – New Entry

5 Dani Tarleton 2016 18m 50s
The women’s table has a slight makeover as well with one new entry and one new improvement. Emily ‘smiley’ Hutchinson moves up one place to number 3 with an improvement of 27 seconds taking her new time to 18.31. The new entry coming from the new kid Maisie Trafford who also made her mark on the Hove Prom with her time of 18.47 to secure 4th place.

Age grading
1 Chris Naylor – 90.92%
2 Caroline Hoyte – 88.32%
3 Caroline Wood – 87.67%
4 Tara Shanahan – 85.49% New Entry
5 Nicky Yeates – 84.46%
It seems to be that every race Tara took on turned to gold so maybe I’ll be asking for the lottery numbers from her next time I see her. In the age grading for this event then again Tara was your girl who makes her debut here at number 4 with her 85.49% grading. 

Bevendean Down parkrun Men
1 Timmy Gedin 2016 18m 06s
2 Anthony Snelling 2017 18m 45s – New Entry
3 Al Silvester 2016 18m 46s
4 Jon Bowditch 2017 19m 20s – New Entry
5 Henry Miller 2017 19m 30s – New Entry

Bevendean Down is fairly new to the club records so there was always going to be some movement with the club records here. Really nice to see 3 new names in their and deservedly so. All 3 of these men have had a super year with Anthony Snelling runner-up in the Super Series challenge, Jon Bowditch winner of the lowest points accumulated in the Super Series challenge and Henry who, is still young in terms of our running club, has also featured very highly n many of our club races this year. The men made 3 new entries with the first of them coming in at 2 with Anthony Snelling moving the time to 18.45. At number 4 we have Jon Bowditch with his time of 19.20 and completing the trio was one of our younger athletes Henry Miller with his time of 19.30 and really pleased to see his hard efforts pay off with a place in the club records.

Age grading
1 Paul Gasson – 72.43% – New Entry
2 Jim Watson – 71.81%
3 Timmy Gedin – 71.27%
4 Anthony Snelling – 70.31% – New Entry
5 Al Silvester – 70.25%
The Men’s age grading gets a new look with 2 new entries with the forever youthful Paul Gasson claiming the crowning glory at the top with his 72.43% and Anthony Snelling popping in to 4th place with his 70.31%.

Bevendean Down parkrun Women
1 Tara Shanahan 2017 21m 12s – Improvement
2 Katherine O’Hara 2016 21m 24s
3 Caroline Wood 2016 21m 35s
4 Jackie Rymell 2017 23m 55s – Improvement
5 Nicky Yeates 2016 24m 19s – New Entry

For the women we have 2 new improvements and one new entry. It goes without question that Tara Shanahan would make an appearance here and with her improvement of 58 seconds to bring her time to 21.12, she moves up two places to claim top spot. Another improver is Jackie Rymell who consolidates 4th spot with 23.55 which is an improvement of 29 seconds.  A new entry in to 5th place is Nicky Yeates as she debuts with 24.19.

Age grading
1 Caroline Wood – 80.08% – Improvement
2 Nicky Yeates – 78.68% – Improvement
3 Tara Shanahan – 76.42% – Improvement
4 Jackie Rymell – 73.73% – Improvement

5 Katherine O’Hara – 72.43%
In the age grading table there are no new entries but all of the top 4 improve on their times to all hold their positions. Caroline Wood still retains top spot as she makes a slight improvement of 0.47% and breaks the 80% barrier to now hold at 80.08%, Nicky Yeates makes a big improvement of 3.76% to now grade at 78.68% and holds 2nd place. 3rd place is still held by Tara Shanahan who makes a big indent in her age grading as she improved by 4.09% to hold at 76.42% and Jackie Rymell also makes a good dent by posting 73.73% an improvement of 2.35%

The Worthing parkrun was only recently added to the club records and so no records were available for 01/01/2017 therefore no comparisons could be made.

The final Super Series race ends with a PB fest.

The final Super Series race for 2017 – Brighton and Hove parkrun – age grading.

What a way to end the year and the final race of the year. It was fair to say that it was a very cold and icy affair although try telling that to Tris Sharp, apart from that the conditions couldn’t have been any better with bright sunshine and no wind. Arena did not turn up shy to this parkrun with no less than 65 of our members swamping the park with blue vest’s a plenty. Always such a wonderful sight when you look around the course to see the Arena vests dotted about the park.

In terms of the normal parkrun race, the Arena men placed 6 men in the top 10 and 11 in the top 20.

First Arena man was this year’s Super Series winner Richard Clayton who was 2nd in a time of 17.24 followed by Anthony Snelling 17.28 in 3rd place and Jim Risdale was third Arena man in 4th place in 17.49.

The Arena ladies placed 7 ladies in the top 10 and 13 in the top 20.

For the ladies it was Caroline Hoyte who led the pack from the start and was 1st lady home in 19.01. She was closely followed in by Dani Tarleton in 2nd place in 19.13 and very closely behind her was Tara Shanahan who was 3rd lady home in 19.20.

I would just like to mention those members that managed PB’s out there but lord knows how they managed it in those tricky conditions so it makes it a little more impressive.

The first of the bunch goes to Anthony Snelling in a time of 17.28 which beat his previous best of 17.40 set way back in March 2015 (where have you been hiding Mr Snelling?).

The next one goes to Kevin Meegan with his new time of 18.37. This beats his 18.42 set in March this year.

Our XC ladies captain came in with a superb 19.13 beating her previous best of 19.14 set way back in January 2014. I think she’s been hanging out with Anthony Snelling myself.

Next on the list is Steve McNealy as he makes a rare appearance or an annual outing but took a fine 19.36 beating his 19.41 set almost 2 years ago to the day, so looking forward to another one this time next year Steve.

Emma Habba fancied a little bit of the glory train so pushed herself to a new PB in 21.55 beating her 22.04 set in January 2017.

And the PB train just keeps on rolling with the next one coming from Neil Fulkes with his time of 22.10 taking a big 54 seconds of from his previous best set in September so a man moving in the right direction.

The last one goes to a very in-form Lorraine Hale as she places a great 23.03 on the mantel piece and removes the 23.13 which has been there since September this year.

However today was all about the percentages and not the fastest times so we were probably looking at our more long-term established athletes to be making their mark on the results and so it was.

Arena 80 took 9 of the top 10 places or 18 of the top 20 places in the age grading results at this parkrun.

Top of the tree was Chris Naylor with 88.41% followed by Caroline Hoyte with 85.19% and completing the top 3 was Nicky Yeates with 84.72%

For the men, well it was never in doubt, as it was that man Paul Gasson who came home with the golden ticket with a 79.57% grading. Andrew Bargery took 2nd place with 76.19% and completing the top 3 was Andy Payne with 76.17%.

With the results now concluded for this year’s Super Series the

Top 5 men 2017: 2016 places in brackets:
1st Richard Clayton – 6pts – (2nd 2016)
2nd Anthony Snelling – 11pts – (5th 2016)
3rd Al Silvester – 12pts – (3rd 2016)
4th Michael Barker – 15 pts – (38th 2016)
5th Jon Bowditch – 18pts – (17th 2016)

Top 5 women are:
1st Tara Shanahan – 8pts – (1st 2016)
2nd Dani Tarleton – 11pts – (4th 2016)
3rd Caroline Wood – 15pts – (2nd 2016)
4th Soulla Wright – 20pts – (unplaced)
5th Jenny Hughes – 21 pts – (3rd 2016)

Huge congratulations to both Richard and Tara on an awesome display of top class running over a continuous 12 months and very worthy of their 1st places.

Tara retains her title from 2016 with Richard Clayton taking top spot having been pipped in 2016 by 1 point.

Biggest climbers in the top 5 coming from Michael Barker up to 4th place from 38th in 2016 and Soulla Wright who didn’t show for 2016 so makes her debut for 2017 with a fine 4th place.

For the secondary point’s competition of accumulated points over the year the winners are:

The men’s winner is Jon Bowditch with 137pts. Jon has only missed 1 race out of the 18 which is a lot of dedication to the Super Series challenge.

The ladies winner goes to Tara Shanahan with 179pts. Tara has done all but 3 of the challenges which again shows dedication to her running. Congratulations to you both.

The full results can be found here:

The Super Series challenge for 2018 will see the return of the 12 events series. No dates have been fully confirmed as of yet.

The Super Series challenge will be made up of all of the 6 Harvey Curtis Event plus 5 Arena 80 club events consisting of: Track 3k, Beacon 6k, Adur Challenge, Hill Challenge, Hove Park parkrun age graded.

Lastly the Sussex Road Relays with the best 6 to count for Super Series Champ.

All the parkruns have been removed except for our historical age graded at Hove Park as the end of year finale.

We would just like to thank Danny Cartledge for all his hard work involved with the Super Series and getting the results and tables out to us so quickly. It’s no easy task if not time-consuming at times so a big thank you from all the Arena members Danny.

Roll on the Super Series for 2018.

Arena topping the charts after race 3 of the XC league.

It was the third of the four cross-country races at Lancing this weekend with both the men and women racing. The women went into this race holding 1st place for the senior and vets whilst the men were holding a very good 5th place.  

It was another fantastic day of racing by the Arena ladies and the results make for great reading!
They are currently joint first senior team and first and third vets!

It was another stunning performance from that lady Julie Briggs who just doesn’t know the term ‘slow down as you get older’, as she came home as first Arena lady, 5th overall and 1st vet….such a great ambassador for the club and an inspiration to many. Her time was 19.23.

Second Arena lady home came from the captain herself Dani Tarleton who also had a superb run in 20.13 which put her 14th overall but more importantly 3rd place vet.

Completing the top 3 Arena ladies was our road race captain Tara Shanahan in 20.36 and 26th place, talk about leading by example from our captains. I would also just like to mention that in 27th place was Juliette Roberts 20.37 and 28th Katherine O’Hara 20.38, now that’s how you work as a team!

It was also great to welcome a couple of our new members to the joy of XC on their debuts for the club, Sophie Cheeseman and Elvia Acosta, well done to you both.

On to our men and run of the day for the Arena men came from Michael Barker who had a blistering last lap where he overtook 10 other runners to take 24th place in a time of 32.05. Second Arena man and within spitting distance of Michael was Alex Jago who really as picked up some pace in the last year. Alex came home in 32nd in 32.18. Completing our top Arena men was Jim Risdale in 56th in a time of 34.14. Jim always consistent and he always does what he says on the tin.

The men maintain their 5th place in division 1 and now looking for one final push in the last race of the season.

The final league race is being held at Stamner Park on Saturday February 10th 2018 so please add that date to your diaries. Both captain’s will send a reminder email out to all members a bit nearer the time but wouldn’t it be great to field a big Arena turn out to put us in with a strong chance of winning the title for the women and for the men to possibly push for 4th in Division 1.

Other XC races that are happening over the coming weeks are: 

Saturday 9th December this is the SEAA Masters.

Saturday 6th January it’s the Sussex Champs at Bexhill. Entry is via captains only although the forms are not out yet.

Saturday 20th January XC Masters at Lancing

Saturday 27th January is the SEAA XC Main Champs at Stanmer Park. Gary McKivett is your point of contact for this one as he is organising the team for this one so if you’re interested drop him a message.

The last one of note is the National XC Champs at Parliament Hill on Saturday 24th February. Sam Bennett has very kindly offered to organise entries for this – an email will follow shortly, as Sam is not on Facebook.

Loads going on over the winter period to keep you all ticking over but please remember Saturday February 10th for the last league race of the season.


Arena shining at the Bright10

Sunday 15th October is meant to be Autumn but I don’t think the weather gods have quite heard the news yet. The Bright10 race was an extremely mild affair with a bit of a breeze on the return leg to the finish but it made for great running conditions.

As always for these big races, Arena never fail to commit athletes and so it was again that the blue vests were a plenty amongst the field of 2500 runners. 

It’s a spectacular sight as you run along the streets of Brighton to see so many Areneez along the course with many grouped together to help each other along. There are plenty of shouts of support and in fact I even overheard someone say “how many runners have they got at Arena?” such was the vast amount of athletes we fielded.

Now of course this race was part of the Harvey Curtis Cup challenge in which, going into this race, Arena were just holding onto first place with Haywards Heath and Lewes both breathing down our neck. It’s a hard call as to who has come out on top as both of the other clubs fielded a strong line up for this race. We still need the 1 point from either this race or the very last race of the series being the Brighton 10k on November 19th. It all makes for a fascinating series and to even be up there just shows how much Arena have in terms of depth to our club.

The race itself saw some cracking runs from our guys with many gaining new PB’s. The first man home for Arena came from the man who is returning from the ashes again by the name of James ‘Dixie’ Dicks who was 21st overall in a time of 58.42. Second man for Arena in a time of 60.35 and 31st overall came from Jim Risdale who had an outstanding race today. Third man home fro Arena was Aled Anderson who was 40th overall in a time of 61.44.

The women, who have looked impressive all year, continued with some great performances out there today. First home for the women was Emily Proto who continues on the comeback trail and was 3rd female over the line with a time of 62.10. Second lady home with a formidable race today came from Tara Shanahan who really has been in top form all year for Arena. Tara was 7th female in a time of 64.52 and showed real strength and quality with her running out there today and also came 4th in her age group. Third lady home for Arena came from Soulla Wright in a time of 67.26 and was 11th lady home. This really was a stunning run from Soulla who looked strong and dug very deep from mile 7. It paid off handsomely though as she clocked up a new PB time by a massive 4 minutes.

I would just like to also mention Emma Habba on her race today as she was 4th lady home for Arena and 22nd female in. She had an incredible race today and clocked in with 72.59 to completely smash her previous time of 77.27. One of the runs of the day.

To note some of the other results, Jackie Rymell was 5th in her age group in 76.01 with Sue Brumwell 10th in the same age group in 81.19. Laura McKinnon-Clark was 6th in her age group in 73.08. Nicky Yeates topped her age group in a time of 79.52.

After today’s results it looks like this series is going down to the wire and the Brighton 10k will be a big one for Arena 80. If you have not yet signed up for it but think you will be able to turn out for the club then we would urge you to get signed up as quickly as possible. Every place can and will make a difference and it would be an amazing achievement for the club to retain the Harvey Curtis Cup. 

A massive well done and congratulations to all the Areneez that got out there for this one and to those that achieved and excelled, it was a wonderful sight to see.

Dixie enjoying the empty roads.


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 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 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:

Half M results:

Media files from the others runner:                                                                                               

Radio:                           ’s-antarctic-marathon (Canadian French – go to 8:40) – works only in Internet Explorer

Articles/blogs:                                                        (Canadian French)                                                                                                (Danish)        (in fact she is from the UK and lived close to Brighton) (in fact she is from the UK and lived close to Brighton)                                                                     (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