Get to Know…

Get to know…David Gifford

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

Name: David Gifford 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get to know…Fiona Jamie

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

Name: Fiona Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Who is your sporting hero:
Sir Steve Redgrave

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

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

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

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

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

Get to know…Jon Bowditch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. What makes you bored 
Theresa May.

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

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

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

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

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

Get to know…Joannah Arias

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the girl with the big smile Joannah Arias. A lady that works hard at the track sessions and as the saying goes “work hard, play hard” and having seen this girl in action at the Arena Christmas party then she definitely defines both. A mother of three beautiful children, so where does she get all her energy from to train at Withdean and run in races? It’s beyond me and whatever she’s having then please share it with the rest of the other club members. So guys put your hands together and give a big warm welcome to the lady that is Joannah Arias.

1. When and why did you join Arena:
Initially after finishing Manchester Marathon  in April 2015 and wanting to try to improve my running time but I think I was only a member for about a month by the time I realised I was expecting my 3rd baby so I took a break again until after he was born in May 2016.

2. How long have you been running:
I ran as a child in county cross-country teams and was always very sporty – until I hit my rebellious teenage years and then drank and smoked my way through university etc etc. I took up running again after my second child was born in 2011 for the simple reason that it gave me time to myself! Bliss.

3. Where did you grow up:
Leamington Spa in the midlands.

4. Which three words describe you best: 
Tall, tired and hungry.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Free time??? (I have 3 small children).

6. What’s been the highlight of 2016: 
Awwww so easy – the birth of my gorgeous little boy!

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Have another baby… it’s all just a numbers game now anyway!

8. What was your favourite subject at school: 
History.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Sorry to be boring but Paula Radcliffe. (admin says: I think Paula has been the most popular answer by the majority of most members so far).

10. What will be a highlight of 2017: 
I was waiting to answer this one in the hope that I would finally get to say running a sub 4 marathon…. AND I DID on bank holiday Monday. It might not be a remarkable time for many Arena runners but I’ve been trying to break it since finishing Manchester in 2015 in 4.02 and then finding out it was a short course! Marathon running is definitely not my forte so I’m happy to be able to hang up my long distance trainers now and focus on achieving some PBs over shorter distances.

11. Have you anything on your bucket list that you still want to do:
Gosh – yes – lots!

12. What is your favourite drink:
Wine, followed closely by tea. I’m pretty much always drinking one or the other!

13. What makes you laugh:
My children, all the time and pretty much anything on a toilet humour level.

14. Name 3 people (dead or alive) you would like to sit in a pub with:
Katy, Megan and Barbara. 3 friends who live too far away to catch up with on a regular basis – long overdue some uninterrupted pub time with them. It’s the simple things!

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I don’t like parsnips.

16. What do you think about the most:
Probably my kids!

17. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, What can you touch: 
The baby’s monitor.

18. When are you at your happiest:  
When I’m with my family/or drinking wine. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

19. If you didn’t run what other sport would you like to have done:
Athletics – loved high jump as a child.

20. What has been you all-time favourite TV programme:
The series 24 – I binge watched it so much in the later stages of my first pregnancy that I swear my daughter recognised Jack Bauer’s voice over her own fathers!

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

Get to know…Dave Robinson

For this week’s chosen member we are joined by surely one of the most insane runners of our club, one Mr Dave Robinson. Many of you will know Dave from his world record set at the Brighton Marathon in April by running in a straitjacket in the quickest time ever. Insane idea to think of but more insane to actually put this into practise. Dave is an all-round athlete and is soon to represent England at the British triathlon age group and he’s also qualified for the sprint duathlon and aquathlon worlds which are in Canada in august. He is also hoping that he may qualify for the triathlon worlds in a few weeks in the 45+ age group! It will be his first time for the duathlon but he’s done the aquathlon and the tri for the last few years. For those that have not yet had the chance to meet Dave then I would say it’s a conversation worth having as he is an all-round nice guy. What sort of man wants to run in a straitjacket? Let’s find out more about Dave Robinson.

Name: Dave Robinson 

1. When and why did you join Arena:
Just over a year ago, basically because I wanted to do some track sessions and Monday eve fits my timetable.

2. How long have you been running:
Shortly after I was able to walk! But mainly until 10 years ago it was for team sports.

3. Where did you grow up:
All over the UK but mainly Buckinghamshire.

4. Which three words describe you best:
Honest, loyal, laid back.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Swim, bike and gym. 

6. Have you ever won any medals or competitions:
Yes quite a few the most notable being a silver for my age group in the European Aquathlon.

7. Tell us about something you would happily do again:
There’s very little I wouldn’t do again, I try never to regret anything.

8. What were you like at school:
Lazy, unless it was sport or if I had a very engaging teacher.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Steve Redgrave, Daley Thompson

10. What kind of books do you like to read:
Autobiographies of successful people

11. Have you anything on your bucket list that you still want to do:
I keep adding to it every day.

12. What is your favourite drink:
Real ale.

13. What is your favourite album of all time:
Meat loaf, bat out of hell

14. Name 3 people (dead or alive) you would like to sit in a pub with:
Robin Hood, Odysseus, anyone buying the round!

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I’m quite shy when I first meet new people.

16. What was the best thing growing up as a kid:
Being loved by my parents and able to run around without a care in the world.

17. What is your most used app and website:
BBC sport.

18. Are you scared of anything:  
Spiders and heights.

19. If you didn’t run what other sport would you like to have done:
Triathlon but I do that now. There’s hardly a sport I haven’t tried.

20. What was the last book you read:
The hungry caterpillar! Currently reading the haywire heart and born to run.

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

Get to know…Juliette Roberts

For this weeks chosen club member we are joined by the lady very often mistaken for Julia Roberts although we at Arena know her better as Juliette Roberts. A much respected athlete by her peers and very a big hitter in the ladies team. Juliette is pretty adept at most distances and a mighty fine job she does for Arena as well. Julia…oops I mean Juliette has been the mainstay of our Arena ladies team and is an absolute pleasure to have along at any turn out that Arena have en masse. If I were to describe Juliette to a stranger then I would use the three E’s – Educated, Eloquent and Endearing so on that note let’s find out what makes this little lady tick….

Name: Juliette Roberts 

1. When and why did you join Arena:
I joined Arena when I moved down to Brighton in 2002. I didn’t know which club to join but I met Caroline Hoyte in Corals gym so the choice was a no brainer.

2. How long have you been running:
Decades. I joined Bedford & County Athletics club at the age of 9. There was a cinder track at the time and I was wearing towelling shorts, Dunlop green flashes and a Weetabix T-shirt which I got free by sending off the coupons on the side of the cereal box.  

3. Where did you grow up:
Bedford

4. What was the best thing about growing up as a kid: 
Running. My running mates from Bedford are still my best friends.

5. Apart from running what else do you do with your free time:
Free time? Am just struggling to think what that is. I love anything outdoors – walking, camping, skiing and also enjoy eating out or having friends over for dinner.

6. What’s the one song that gets you up out of your seat: 
Whitney – Wanna dance with somebody

7. Tell me about something you would happily do again:
Go to Uganda. But with my kids next time. The best lesson in appreciating everything you have in life.

8. Have you any bugbears: 
Yes. Dogs who run straight across your path when you’re doing a session in Hove Park. Dogs owners who say “they’re only playing” when they chase after you and dog owners who don’t pick up dog crap. Sorry dog lovers.

9. Who is your sporting hero:
Jo Pavey. A clean and hard working athlete who has had a long and impressive career despite lots of injury set backs. She’s also a mum and juggles that with her training while remaining a really nice person at the same time.

10. What would your epitaph say:
Let me look at the kitchen calendar and get back to you.

11. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
The freedom to be who you want to be, political diversity and the sea.

12. What are you most looking forward to in 2017:
Summer holidays, sunshine and some shorter races!

13. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go:
New Zealand

14. What was the first song you ever purchased (be truthful):
Nolan Sisters – I’m in the mood for dancing  (my first casette)

15. Tell us something we don’t know about you:
I got through to the final round of auditions for the Royal Ballet School but chose running instead

16. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you choose to be:
On a beautiful sandy beach with a good book

17. Apart from your children what has been your biggest achievement in your life so far: 
Completing the London Triathlon (Olympic distance) as Keith’s guide in 2008. It was his achievement, not mine, but certainly the greatest sense of achievement I have ever felt particularly after we emerged from the mile swim in open water when a few months earlier he had been unable to swim.

18. Apart from your family, who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with:
Friends who make me laugh

19. Is there anything that you are scared of:
Falling off a cliff while skiing with my husband. His version of an easy run is my version of a near death experience.

20. If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive who would you choose: 
Victoria Wood, William Shakespeare, Annie Lennox

O

After a 26.2 mile suffer fest, stick your hand on your hip and talk to the mic. Always be ready to face the camera!

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