Get to Know…

Get to know…Rachael Woolston

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the very lovely Rachael Woolsten. Rachael joined us over two years ago and was part of this year’s winning Arena women’s South Downs Relay Team. If she’s not running with Arena, she’s training women through her business, Girls Run the World or writing about running & health for magazines and newspapers. Rachael has certainly been a great asset to the lady’s team since joining the club and is much respected amongst her peers. I’m sure you all know her face so let’s find out a little more about this very cool, calm character, over to you Ms Woolston.

1. When and why did you join Arena:
I can’t actually remember, probably because my attendance is bit off and on but I think it was about two years ago. I joined because I was spending so much time coaching others, I wanted some time for my own training and for someone to tell me what to do!

2. How long have you been running:
Since 2000. I went to work in Sydney and was so inspired by the landscape and weather, I started getting up every morning to run along the coastal path or through the city. I was hooked on running from then on but more as a way to explore as I travelled than anything more serious than that.

3. Where did you grow up:
Initially Shirley, just outside Croydon and then near Bromley.

4. What’s the first thing you notice about somebody:
Their shoes. I love a nice pair of shoes. Or trainers.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Travelling if I have the money, otherwise, cooking, mountain biking, open water swimming, or anything else where i’m outdoors and active.

6. What’s the one song that gets you up out of your chair:
Anything that Gilles Petersen plays at 3pm on Saturday on BBC Radio 6. If i’m in public, nothing gets me out of my chair unless I’m drunk.

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Run in the mountains of the Himalayas. I went to write a magazine article about the development of women’s running in India, and my contact in Mumbai also mentored young runners in mountain villages around Kalimpong which is near Darjeeling.  I decided to travel up there and spent four days meeting and running with them. It was an incredible experience.

8. What are the three most used apps on your phone:
Sadly, Instagram (it’s work, honest!) , the weather app, DarkSky, which is very accurate (depressingly so, if you have to get up early in the morning to train others outdoors!) and IMuscle2 by 3D4Medical which I’m always telling my clients to get (it’s free and if you’re a runner, you should get it too!)

9. Who is your sporting hero:
I was fortunate enough to meet Katherine Switzer, who was the first woman to run the Boston marathon back in the 1970s. She’s pretty inspiring.  But at the risk of sounding cheesy, my real heroines are the women I run with – amazing, inspiring women who juggle work, kids, and all the other things life throws at them and still get out to train. And they’re still super fast!

10. What would be your perfect evening out:
Running, mountain-biking or skiing while the sun goes down before going to a country pub with a huge fire, stunning food and delicious red wine. And not having to worry about how we were going to get home.

11. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
The sea and the Downs.

12. What’s something you aren’t:
chilled! I’m working on it!

13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
I couldn’t decide on one single place, I LOVE travelling. Big passions for me at the mo are Myanmar before it changes completely and Ethiopia.

14. Tell me about someone you really admire:
Tom, my partner. He’s always happy and so positive.

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I won the veteran women’s Mumbai marathon and ended up hanging out backstage with the elite athletes before being presented a gold medal on stage in front of hundreds of thousands. It was great because I was travelling alone and so when I crossed the finish line, I’d felt a bit deflated at not having anyone to share the run with! (p.s I wasn’t fast, there just weren’t that many women running!)

16. Do you fear anything:
Being bored.

17. What has been your biggest achievement in your life so far:  
I’m not sure I’d count anything as my biggest achievement. There’s always something else that inspires me to try.

18. What gives you a high:
Being outdoors, running or cycling or swimming at sunrise or sunset.

19. Have you got something that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away:
A manuscript. I wrote the draft of a novel ten years ago. It was harder than any track session! It languishes under my bed and somewhere in the future, a long time from now, I hope I’ll be able to use what I learned from writing that to write something else.

20. Where is your one favourite place that you love to be:  
More a state of mind than a place, feeling inspired.

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

Get to know…Craig Isaac

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the member who was our 1000th member and, as he says, “his first and last trophy…ever”.  A guy with a top sense of humour and always good for some banter with. Craig has been a solid runner for Arena and can always be counted on for scoring when needed for Arena. A genuinely all round nice guy so let’s meet Mr 1000, Craig Isaac.

1. When and why did you join Arena:
I entered Brighton Marathon in 2015 but it suddenly dawned on me that running 10k a couple of times a week wasn’t going to cut the mustard…. so I got the yellow pages out and looked up running clubs and Arena was at the top of the page. 

2. How long have you been running:
About 4 years but I did run a 400m race when I was 14 and I came last, so unfinished business.

3. Where did you grow up:
Winchester.

4. Which three words describe you best:
Concerned, protective, proud

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
A busy work/family life doesn’t permit much free time, I only manage to squeeze three runs into my week regardless of what I’m training for. 

6. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this year:
If we’re talking running my 5k and 10k times were high points for me this year

7. Tell me something you would happily do again:
It may be a case of rose-tinted glasses but I fancy reliving my youth; art school, London and a soundtrack I’ll never tire of. 

8. What do you think about the most during the day:
Work stuff unfortunately, I’m ready to retire. 

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Matt Le Tissier the laziest, most skilful player of an era. 

10. What’s something that you aren’t:
The fastest or the slowest. 

11. Have you anything on your bucket list that you still want to do:
No bucket list for me but my next challenge will be the Arena Christmas party and maybe a ‘mini’ ultra in France next year.

12. Think fast, what do you like right now:
I’ve just shazzamed this tune and I’m loving it “love honey, love heartache” by Man Friday……https://youtu.be/790l7dUHjVQ

13. What’s something or someone you miss the most from childhood:
Action Man, Scalextrics, Etch-a-sketch, Tonka, bmx, Tamiya, Bauer, Spectrum, Happy Shopper and poppers.

14. Name 3 people (dead or alive) you would like to sit in a pub with:
Shaun Ryder, Joan of Ark and Jean Michelle Basquiat. 

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
My youngest son Zachary gave me ‘a power’ two years ago, I always carry it when I’m in a race, he has offered to give ‘powers’ to my friends at the running club….see me at track on Monday and I’ll sort you out.

16. Is there anything that you are afraid of:
DNF 

17. What would your epitaph say:
“he twisted his melons man”.

18. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 35, and find line 8. What does it read:  
“Just get happy and screaming. It’s happening. It’s just …..house!” Adventures in wonderland by Sheryl Garratt.

19. If you didn’t run what other sport would you like to have done:
Darts (with a calculator).

20. Would you prefer to go bungee jumping or sky diving or have you done either:
I haven’t attempted either but if I had the choice it would be sky diving as it also involves an engine, some wings and an emergency cord.

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

Get to know…Kate Reid

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the lovely Kate Reid. I remember chatting to Kate when she first joined Arena and what struck me about her was how gentle she was in her manner and how she loved being a mother to her little girl. She was very calming to chat with and it was like I had known her for a long time. Kate is more evidence of how Arena can bring on someone’s running. I have watched her over the year and can see a vast improvement in her pace and endurance on the track. A quiet mannered lady but a real pleasure to have in the Arena camp.

Name:   Kate Reid

1.When and why did you join Arena:
About this time last year. I’d been meaning but failing to join a running club for a few years and thought it would be a good way to get back in to running, after giving birth to my little girl in February 2016

2. How long have you been running:
Since 2005. A friend and I saw an advert for Race for Life and decided to get off our lazy backsides and do it! I haven’t looked back since.

3. Where did you grow up:
In Chester, aka Hollyoaks

4. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning: 
Urgh, another terrible night’s sleep! How many times was I woken up last night to the sound of ‘Mummmmmmy!’?!

5. What do you do for fun:
Run, cycle, go to gigs and festivals, travel…. also a lot of baby orientated stuff these days!

6. Have you got something that you just cannot bare to throw away:
It sounds silly, but I have some clothes from my younger years that I keep because they remind me of fun nights out

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Trek the Inca Trail. I did this in my early twenties during a trip around Latin America and it was an incredible experience.

8. What are the three most used apps on your phone: 
Whatsapp, Ebay and I’d like to say Strava but it’s probably more likely to be Hoop or something

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Serena Williams

10. Tell us about something you’ve proud to have achieved: 
Running my first marathon in Paris in 3 hours 48. My aim was to get under 4 hours so i was really pleased with my time. However I was disappointed to miss the wine at mile 22!

11. Have you got anything on your bucket list:
Loads, its a bit overwhelming! I’ve done my fair share of travelling but there are lots of places I would still love to visit. Off the top of my head I’d really like to go to Japan. I’d also like to work abroad at some point in my life… maybe in Japan, two birds with one stone!

12. What makes you happy:
Spending time with my family and especially watching my little girl explore the world around her and learn new things.

13. What was the last film you watched:  
Manchester by the Sea

14. What type of music do you like most:
Indie and dance music and any combination of the two

15. What’s something we don’t know about you:
I can play the clarinet and during my school days I was a member of a very successful jazz ensemble

16. What makes you go wow:
Watching gymnastics. Also some of the things my students say! (I’m a teacher)

17. What’s the last concert or gig that you went to:
Last May I saw Metronomy at Brixton Academy 

18. What is the worst pain you’ve ever experienced:  
Child birth, hands down. A marathon is a walk in the park in comparison!

19. What was the last thing you bought:  
A Halloween outfit for my daughter.

20. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
Living in a place with such a positive mentality – fair and socially conscious. Having Caroline Lucas as my MP. The beach is also pretty good.

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

Get to know…John Thompson

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the man who has just won the Arena award for the Arena 80 athlete who has shown the greatest improvement during 2017. For those that haven’t see the notes on the evening then the reason that John won was due to the extra work he put’s in with his training which has helped him to notch up PB’s this year in every distance that he has run in. You will find him hanging out with Nicky Yeates at parkruns and races as they push each other on during the races. John has come along way since he first started with Arena as back then he started in the improvers group. he has certainly pushed himself to get to where he is today and the awards was justification for all of that hard work. So now let’s meet John Thompson.

Name: John Thompson

1. When did you join Arena:
April 2016.

2. How long have you been running:
Four years

3. Where did you grow up:
Southend, Essex

4. Which three words describe you best:
Dashing, determined, delusional

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time: 
I like to swim a couple of times a week and also socialise with other running pals

6. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this year:
It’s a secret…

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again: 
Re-visit South Island, New Zealand. Beautiful and surprisingly diverse scenery with lots of exciting activity opportunities and great food and wine. Also just about any kind of (benign) wildlife encounters.

8. What was your favourite subject at school:
Creative English writing.

9. Who is your sporting hero: 
Brighton-based ultra runner Dan Lawson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Lawson)

10. What do you consider to be your best race:
This year’s Phoenix 10k – massive PB both for the first 5km and the entire race

11. Have you anything on your bucket list that you still want to do:
Swim the Olympic pools of the world (or at least some more of them), swim with dolphins, run some parkruns abroad, cycle Mizen to Malin in Ireland, bring more kittens into the world (ideally Abyssinians), see my son sorted, settled and happy.

12. What is your favourite drink: 
Cider.

13. What makes you happy:
Swimming, cycling, cinema and cider with company.

14. Name 3 people (dead or alive) you would like to sit in a pub with: 
My brother Keith (who passed away earlier this year), my son (when he is old enough) and my Mum (but not necessarily all at the same time).

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you: 
When I was a teenager, I brewed my own beer and wine and also bred gerbils, some of which won best of breed at a show for pigeons, rabbits, poultry and rodents at Alexandra Palace.

16. What TV programme is a must watch for you:
 Game of Thrones.

17. What’s your earliest memory:
Encouraging wars between rival red and black ant colonies in the garden of the house where I was born.

18. Have you got or ever had a nick name:  
JT, because where I grew up there were a lot of other people called John.

19. If you didn’t run what other sport would you like to have done: 
I would always rather be cycling, but I would like to learn to ski.

20. What was the last book you read:
Lee Brilleaux: Rock’n’roll Gentleman by Zoe Howe (I really should get back into reading more…).

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

Get to know…Jackie Rymell

For this week’s chosen member we are joined by one of our very talented over 50 athletes. Since joining Arena Jackie has taken part in many of our club races as well as Arena team races and the Harvey Curtis Cup races. It’s fair to say that Jackie will always be up there amongst the top in her age category as well as placing exceptionally well in the overall placings. Jackie is a fine example of seeing progression made since joining Arena and you just need to look at her times to see how much of an improvement there has been. A lady that seems to have a permanent smile on her face and a lady that has slotted right into Arena with ease. Now let’s find out a little ore about her.

 

Name: Jackie Rymell

1.    When and why did you join Arena:  
I joined Arena in 2015 after I had met Anne Miners lining up to start the Brighton ½ marathon.  She persuaded me that being in my 50s was not an excuse not to join.  Also, the women’s South Downs relay team were in need of a reserve so I signed up and ended up running the SD relay as my first Arena event!

2.    How long have you been running: 
Only really since I had my children (who are now 17 and 15, so actually quite a while).  I did do the Sport Aid “Run the World” in Hyde Park 1986 (which seemed like a marathon at the time but was only 10km), then ran the London marathon in 1997 and 1998 (after my friend’s son had died of leukemia aged 8 so I wanted to do something to fundraise in his memory), but I was definitely not a runner then.  After I had children, running was one of the few sports that I could do without any planning, so I bought some running shoes and headed off when I got a chance.

3.    Where did you grow up:
Wallington – a very boring suburb in South London, near Croydon.

4.    What was the best thing about growing up as a kid
climbing and falling out of trees (I fell out a lot).

5.    Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
I play netball, swim and cycle, and am also doing a French course.

6.    What is your one weakness: 
I have loads of weaknesses – probably my worst is taking on too much.

7.    Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats.

8.    Have you any bugbears: 
Gender stereotyping – especially when it comes to children’s clothes and toys.  

9.    Who is your sporting hero:
Jesse Owens.

10. What would your epitaph say:
Pass.

11. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton: 
There are so many great things about Brighton, but swimming in the sea and running on the Downs are pretty high up the list.

12. What would be the hardest thing for you to give up:
I think that would have to be red wine!

13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
Vietnam – to cycle along the Mekong River.

14. What was the first song you ever purchased (be truthful): 
“Merry Christmas Everybody” by Slade and “I wish it would be Christmas every day” by Wizard.

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I formed part of the first “N” in MORNING for the “Good Morning Britain” show on ITV when it was launched in 1983.  I was a student at Bristol University at the time and they filmed it on the Downs near where I lived.

16. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you choose to be:
Cycling up Mont Ventoux (pretty near the top!).

17. Apart from your children what has been your biggest achievement in your life so far: 
Finishing my MA in Employment Law which I did by distance learning and had my daughter part-way through, so had to do my assignments with her bouncing on my lap.

18. Apart from your family, who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with:
someone with good survival skills.

19. Is there anything that you are scared of:
Rollercoasters.

20. If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive who would you choose: 
Rosa Parks, Paula Radcliffe and Millicent Fawcett.

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

Get to know…Alan Garnham

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by, what I can only describe, as an Arena warhorse, and I mean that in the nicest possible way to introduce Alan Garnham. A genuinely nice guy and, let’s face it, you don’t meet many professor’s when you’re running. That is one of the joys of running, the fact that you get to meet people who you wouldn’t normally get a chance to meet and socialize with. I have trained and run marathons with Alan for a few years now and it’s fair to say that although he might not have a the quickest turn of speed, what he does posses is a great consistency with his running, a bit like a built-in metronome, he just keeps on going. Alan has 254 parkrun’s already under his belt, a marathon time of 3.56.23 and half marathon time of 1.43.46 which is some going for a V55 runner. Another one of the Arena family that has been with us for some time and a really nice genuine bloke so ladies and gents please welcome Alan Garnham to this week’s Q&A’s.

Name: Alan Garnham 

1.   When did you join Arena:
In 2011 after my second Brighton Marathon (of three). I was hoping to bring down my times for shorter distances, and I did take about 30 secs off my parkrun time (PB of 21.33, New Year’s Eve 2011 – those were the days)

2.    How long have you been running:
I’d done a bit of running before (e.g. when I lived in Reading from 1983-1985), but I started this time in 2008 after I had been diagnosed with hypertension, following a bike accident. Initially, medics thought it was the shock of the accident that pushed my blood pressure up, but it failed to come down in the aftermath.

3.     Where did you grow up:
Harrogate, North Yorkshire (though it was in the West Riding when I was born)

4.    What was the last thing you bought:
 Some shorts (not running shorts!) for next year in the M&S sale.

5.    What’s one of the scariest things you’ve ever done:
 I had quite a sheltered childhood, so upping and offing at very short notice to live in Texas for a year as a student was quite alarming – first time I had flown, among other things.

6.    What were you like at school:
 Shy and eccentric, but studious (Someone asked to identify me once said “long hair, teeth, and glasses” – only the teeth left now). I was top of the top stream in a (state) grammar school.

7.    Tell me about something you would happily do again:
 Be a student at Oxford in the 1970s (and me in my twenties)

8.    Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful:
 We go back to the Yorkshire Dales for a holiday every year (there are more than three of them!).

9.    Tell us about something you’ve achieved:
 I’ve published (as author or editor) ten books. My first one (a specialist text on Psycholinguistics) sold over 10,000 copies, which was quite respectable in its niche market.

10. What’s your favourite book, magazine or comic:
 In magazines, I like Private Eye (and one of my older sons has just given me a subscription as a birthday present). For a long time I was fascinated by Kafka’s “The Trial”, though I haven’t re-read it lately.

11. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
 I once owned a classic car (Rover P4), which was whisked away on a very stormy night in 1999, probably to be smashed up in stock car races. After several years of work, it was in good running order, and I was a good way through the cosmetic work it needed. Sigh!

12. What makes you happy:
 Seeing my boys (all five of them) achieving what they want to achieve.

13. What do you do to relax: 
 If you see me relaxing, please let me know. I spend a lot of time taking my boys to local, national, and international sporting events that they are taking part in. I like cooking, reading and tv quiz programmes, and I’ve recently taken up racketball, where I can use some of my squash skills from way back. Whether any of these activities are relaxing is another question.

14. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try:
 I’ve never really wanted to do anything apart from what I actually do (being an academic), or thought I’d be any good at anything else. Though as a boy I wanted to play cricket for England (and Yorkshire under the old “Yorkshiremen only” regime).

15. Which store or website would you choose to max out your credit card:
 Not my style to max out credit cards.

16. What is most important in life:
 I do like my work (and running!), but it has to be family.

17. Who in your life has influenced you the most:
 Probably my mum, even though she died almost half my life ago.

18. What’s your earliest memory:
 As a professional psychologist I am a bit weary of claims about early memories, but I do have many fond memories of my childhood.

19. Name your 3 favourite foods:
 Hard to narrow it down to three. Thai curries are pretty nice. Avocados (avocado, mozzarella and tomato, with olive oil, basil and balsamic vinegar, mmm!). Pan-fried fish (plaice, sole, sea bream, sea bass, etc.,) with lemon juice. Did I miss out cheese (Comté, Manchego, Pont L’évêque, Roquefort, Wensleydale, to name a few favourites)?

20. Who is your sporting hero:
I do watch professional sport, but I find a lot of things about it, and many of the people in it, pretty depressing. Whoever was it who thought it was a good idea to pay people more than £20 a week to play football, for example (clue: long chin, partial beard)? I’m more inclined to admire Areneez of my own age or older who are still doing much better than me (that’s you Snakehips! but also people like Chris Naylor and Nicky Yeates). 

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

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