Sussex Indoor Championships at the David Weir Leisure Centre in Sutton on 17th-18th February.

This could be interesting for some of our speedier athletes in the club

On-line entry is now open for the Sussex Indoor Championships at the David Weir Leisure Centre in Sutton on 17th-18th February.

Details attached and enter via this link: 2018/sussex_indoors/ 

Please send any queries to the meeting manager

Entries close on 9th February. 


Melanie Anning

A review of the first week of races for Arena.

A round-up of results from the week beginning 1st January 2018

West Sussex Fun Run League – Goring, Hangover 5 – 01/01/2018
On a very cold New Year’s Day we congratulate our 7 members that got out to Goring to run the first race of the year. A Big up to Caroline Hoyte who was 1st lady over the line. Also a shout out going to Kristina Hine, Fiona Jamie, Lee & Kate Turnbull, Julia Mason & Roger Ockenden. Thank you all for turning out for the  first WSFRL race and I’m pleased to say after their superb efforts that Arena 80 AC is now on the scoreboard.

Sussex Cross-Country Champs – Bexhill – 06/01/2018
Arena men turned out a few for this 12k race with Alex Jago coming in as our first Arena man home in 44th with a time of 47.13. Second Arena man was Jim Watson in 50.04 and David Gifford 3rd Arena man with 50.31 and Andrew Wood was the only other Arena man to run with 50.45.

The ladies put in a strong team for the 6.4k race and it was Masie Trafford who took the honours of first Arena lady home. She was 6th lady home in 26.58 and with that Maisie has now been selected for the inter-counties team in March.

Dani Tarleton was our second Arena lady 28.49; Tara Shanahan was our 3rd lady 29.41 and Katherine O’Hara Arena 4th lady 30.18. On that performance, our ladies came 4th in the team table. A great start to the year for this team.

Parkrun PB’s
A quick acknowledgment to those that have chosen to stay healthy over the festering season and to come back n to the new year with parkrun PB’s.

Brighton & Hove parkrun on New Year’s Day saw three of our athletes hitting their PB’s up.

The first Arena PB of 2018 went to Del Wallace with 17.38. Second one of the year went to Helena Rooney with her new PB set at 20.30 and competing the trio was Jackie Rymell with her new PB set at 22.20.

Also at the same course on the 6th January, a new PB was set by Martha Sacree. This is the one she was promising towards the latter end of the year but decided to hang about for the new year. Her new PB is now set at 21.44. Congratulations to all of their new times and a great way to start the New Year off and you have now set the bar for yourselves.

Thank you to all the Areneez who raced for the club this week, you were all magnificent and hopefully will now have inspired others within the club to run off their Christmas indulgence and get themselves back out there.

The National Cross Country Championship, Parliament Hill on Saturday 24th February.

The National Cross Country Championships take place at the spiritual home of XC, Parliament Hill on Saturday 24th February!

Senior women (8k) start at 2:20pm – senior men (12k) start at 3pm. 

As this event is only within reasonable distance of Brighton every few years, it would be great to get enough entries to make up (at least), one Arena team for both the men and women. 

It’s the usual set-up: six in a team for the men; four for the women. 

This being the Nationals, it’s longer than the standard XC races (although not as long as the Southerns).

The standard will be high – but don’t let this put you off; the top end is fiercely competitive, drawing the best runners in the country. But the ability range is wide.

Sam Bennett has kindly agreed to organise both teams – he’s not on Facebook though, so if you’re interested, please email him at:

Deadline for sign-up is FRIDAY 12 JANUARY, and must be done via the team manager (Sam) and you must be also first claim for Arena.

This will be a very special – and unique – race; and a chance to race against the best in the country…

It is the day before the Brighton Half just in case you were signed up for that.

Thanks, Sam Bennett

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.

Arena 80 AC 2017 – What a year, what a club, what a team.

What a year, what a club, what a team.

As we approach the end of 2017 we can look back on what has been an outstanding year for Arena 80 AC.

Firstly we would like to thank all of those members who have given so much back to the club this year. All of these members give up so much of their time and put in so much effort to help keep the club alive and well. Without these members’ help the club would be in a very different shape to what it is now. I won’t list all the names here but you know who you all are and your support to the club goes above and beyond your normal duties, we really are indebted to you and cannot thank you all enough for all that you have done so please take a bow.

Many of the club’s achievements in 2017 were showcased in the Arena advent calendar over the last month and there have been so many highlights that it would just take too long to write them all down here. Along with all the personal achievements that have been created by our Arena members, it really has been a year that stands out as one of the clubs finest.

There was a point when all the PBs from the various races of 2017 were being collated, but in July I gave up at 500, and they still kept rolling in, so I’m sure we’re well over 1000 by now.

The big team highlights for Arena 80 would have to be the success in the cross-country in February where the women were dominant and the men had one of their best seasons in division 1 for many years.

The Sussex road relays were again solid from our ladies with various prizes on offer which were duly taken home in abundance.

The biggest kudos of the year has to go to the ladies winning the South Downs Way 100 mile relay for the first time in 10 years; it was an epic performance from an incredibly strong ladies team. Also our men’s B team secured 1st place for the 2nd year in a row with the men’s A team finishing in a very good 4th place. It’s these races where team spirit and bonding really come to the fore and true friendships are cemented.

In September it was our women again who took all but one of the golds home as they overpowered all the other clubs in the Sussex cross-country relay championships at Goodwood.

Crowning the Arena accolade as the best team in Sussex was retaining the Harvey Curtis Cup. With 6 wins out of 6 it really was an impressive performance which again was dominated by our very strong ladies team. Of course we have a very solid men’s core team which will have helped to push other clubs down the pecking order. This is where Arena’s true strengths lay, our strength in-depth, and the men played their part impressively throughout the year in the races.

Individually we had members who represented GB and England at various events and exceeded their own expectations. It’s a real privilege to have these members at the club as it gives us something to aspire to and keeps us all motivated. Those making the cut in 2017 were Katherine O’Hara, Dave Robinson, Joe Ashley, Jenny Hughes, Juliette Roberts and Vicki Clark all of whom were exceptional on their day bringing home great memories along with some new PBs and medals.

With the Sussex rankings for 2017 having just been released, the club boasts some of the best athletes in Sussex with Al Silvester, Emily Proto, Emily Hutchinson, Tara Shanahan, Dani Tarleton, Caroline Hoyte, Maisie Trafford, Julie Briggs and Fiona Clarke all making the grade. To all of you representing Arena 80 we thank you for being outstanding and giving our members something to strive for.

We can also boast having a Guinness Book of Records record holder within our club as Dave Robinson became the fastest man to run a marathon in a straight-jacket. His time of 3.49.28 was enough to beat the previous world record of 3.49.48.

It was another very successful year for our WSFRL Hove Park 5k race with a record number of entrants. It was very well organised, slick operation and lovely to see so many youngsters turning out for the junior events so many thanks to Tristan Sharp for putting this one together. The Arena volunteers were also out in abundance to help with the smooth running of this event and we thank each and every one of you for your help.

September was all about pebble gate! What a way for Michele and Brigitte to start their Hove Prom 10k directorship as they took over the reins of this key event for the club. Nothing could have predicted the storm that hit the prom throwing tonnes of stones on to the course. True to the spirit of the club, members came out with brooms and were sweeping the course right up until the start. Tough going for Michele and Brigitte but handled brilliantly to make sure that the show did go on. It was another mass Arena volunteer roll out and you did not disappoint us with all your broom wielding and marshalling which ensured this race was a big success regardless of the trying circumstances.

The club has grown tremendously during 2017 with so many new members joining us throughout the year. As the word spreads so does the queue and we now have an induction process in place run by Jenny Hughes to ensure we offer membership to those that meet our high standards.

It has been said many times throughout the year in our posts, but to see so many friendships being made at our club, with those friendships now extending beyond the normal training sessions, either by training together away from the track or meeting up socially, is a testament to the true spirit that lies within Arena 80. We are known as one of the friendliest club and for good reason but that doesn’t stop us also pushing ourselves to be the best that we can (part of the club motto).

Even from this brief review of some of our finest moments in 2017 we can really say that it is one of the best clubs in Sussex in so many ways.

Now it’s time to look forward to 2018, which will bring us a new revamped Super Series challenge comprising 12 races, with the focus on 6 key races as well as 6 of our club only events.

There will also be an exciting new 6 race mini-series, in the form of 6 parkruns, with a league table which will bring our athletes together more frequently and showcase the blue vests out there on Saturday mornings.

With the last cross-country race in February, it looks like it’s set to be another great start for the club in 2018 as we currently hold pole position in several of the ladies tables and again the men are having an excellent season and with many more of our athletes trying it out for the first time and coming back for more this will only strengthen our teams over the coming years.

We have new reps for the WSFRL races in the shape of Shawn Buck, Anne Miners and Fiona Jamie, who I’m sure, will bring their enthusiasm and energy to this race series and get more of our members engaged in these races. At just £3 a race (and a distance of approximately 5 miles) it’s almost sacrilege not to participate. We know that when we do put a proper team out for these events that we do extremely well in them so perhaps this will be the year that we make a name for ourselves amongst the leading pack.

Of course we are the current holders of the Harvey Curtis team trophy which we retained from 2016 so wouldn’t it be just so nice to make it a hat trick. Not since 1966 has a hat trick been so relevant! This is very exciting as it give us a goal to focus on.

There is so much to look forward to in 2018. We know it will be tough as there will be lots of clubs vying for that top spot who will be chasing us all the way to try to knock us off our perch. There is much work to do for us all and I’m sure the Arena members will rise to the challenge as they always do, being the competitive athletes that we are. For the moment at least, let’s look back at 2017 on a job well done, with a great sense of pride, team spirit, achievement and contentment in the knowledge that you were all a part of a great year, a great club and a truly great bunch of people to race, hang out and train with.

Happy New Year to you all and we’ll see you all on the other side!

The club mantra: Be respectful, Be Supportive, Be the best you can

Written by administrator and the views expressed in this post are those of the administrator only.

Arena Men – South Downs Way Relay 2018

The South Downs Way Relay takes place on the first Saturday every June, and so will be on Sat 2nd June 2018.

It covers the length of the South Downs Way (approx. 100 miles) from Beachy Head to Winchester. The distance is divided into 18 legs – see the website for all the details:

Each team (of which there were over 50 last year, from over 30 different running clubs in Sussex, Hampshire and Kent) has 6 runners, all of whom must run 3 legs each. Thus each runner runs about 17 miles over the day, nearly all of which are on trails that are uphill or downhill. Most legs start with a steep uphill. It is at least as demanding as running a full marathon, especially as (when not running a leg) one spends most of the time stiffening up in the minibus that goes from leg to leg for each of the baton handovers. Pacing each leg consistently is very important and very difficult!

For those who have run it, it is often the highlight of the year. It requires prodigious amounts of organisation, planning and practice to get to the finishing line, is utterly exhausting, and yet never does 11-12 hours of your life fly by so quickly!

Running in general, and running races in particular, is often a solitary affair. The SDW Relay is completely different. The team spirit is everything.   

Arena has been extraordinarily successful in recent years – the women’s team won their race in 2017, the men’s A team won their race in 2016, and the men’s B team won the B team race in both years!

The required standard to be selected is high. To give you an idea, the men’s A team (who came 4th) completed it in under 11 hours last year (an average of 6m 35s per mile) whilst both the women and men’s B team averaged 7 minutes per mile.

All members of the club are encouraged to put themselves forward for selection if they think they have got what it takes. 

In 2018 we will be yet again be entering a men’s A team, a men’s B team and a women’s team. We are hoping to enter a 4th team (which would be a mixed veteran’s team – V40+), but given the excess demand to enter the event, this is more a hope than an expectation.

For those who have never done anything like this, Steve McNealy (the SDWR guru & overall Arena manager) will be looking at other off-road relay races that the club could enter to give “novices” a chance to experience them. Further details to follow from Steve in 2018.

Also, when the time comes for selected runners to practise their legs, we will endeavour to let members know so that they could come along too if desired. This might include, for example, running legs 1 & 2 together at the Eastbourne end, or legs 17 & 18 together at the Winchester end. This would more-than-likely be an early Sunday start, with a pub lunch somewhere as reward.         

WOMEN – please look out for an email in the next week or 2 from Fiona Jamie.    

MEN – if you wish to be considered please email me at

To be selected for the men’s teams a combination of factors will be considered. These include a proven ability at distance running (sub-3:15 marathon, sub-1:30 half marathon, trail races run, ultra races run…), and evidence of being a “team player” (participation for Arena in cross country races, Harvey Curtis races, road relays…). It is a privilege to be selected – are you worthy?!

That I know of there are over 20 men who fulfil the requirements. Obviously for the 2 men’s teams only 12 men can run. However, as last year proved, we NEED a squad of 20. In late-January Steve McNealy and I will select the 2 teams and name the reserves. But injuries will happen, reserves will be needed, and more-than-likely new reserves will be needed too! It is also the case that some people selected in January will be in much better form (or worse, as in my case last year) by June. We therefore need some flexibility. Whilst on the actual day it is very healthy for the A team and B team to be competing hard against each other, until then we are all in it together. The A team must be able to be the best team it can. Of course there has to be consideration for which runners have practised which legs, but no runner must think “I am an A team runner” or “I am a B team runner” and be unwilling to move from one to another.

Once the teams have been selected, the team members will get together to decide how to divide up the legs, with the input of Steve and I. After that, you can get practising!

Thanks, Dan Vaughan

And the winners are?

As is the tradition for Arena 80, Monday 18th December was the last training session of the year at Withdean and then we all venture in to the hut where Steve McNealy was serving up some cordon bleu delights for us all.

We arrived to a very dark Withdean track and certainly didn’t look like any running was going to happen there. We soon found out that the management had called the night off due to it being too dangerous to use because of the ice on the track, where the snow ploughs or the gritters were is anyone’s guess but there was nothing that could be done about.

So what to do with 40 Arena athletes that had turned up for their session? We are Arena and a bit of ice wouldn’t put them off; after all they coped with Hove Park on Saturday without their ice skates on. So it was that they ventured out in to the dark wilderness of Withdean with some taking a left turn and some taking a right turn and probably some taken a wrong turn. It was however enough time to get things set up and mulled wine and food heated up before they all got back for the handing out of some awards.

The first of the awards was for the Super Series Challenge of 2017. The women were first with Caroline Wood in 3rd place, Dani Tarleton in 2nd place and Tara Shanahan in 1st place.

For the men, in 3rd place was Al Silvester, 2nd place was Anthony Snelling and 1st place went to Richard Clayton who had this wrapped up a long time ago.

The lowest points of the challenge that also gets an award went to Tara Shanahan for the women and Jon Bowditch who took it for the men.

The London Virgin Marathon places were also drawn with Joanne Marshall being the first name pulled out of the hat only for her to then pull out her partner in crime Ricky Coleman as the second place runner.

The big one of the night was the Bill Mulholland trophy which is awarded for the best road race of the year. This trophy is steeped in Arena history and has been won by Arena’s finest over the years with a Stella line up of names to don this very prestigious trophy.

There were three main contenders for it this year; Mark O’Gara, Caroline Hoyte and Juliette Roberts all of whom deservedly in for a shout and have definitely stood out this year in their respected races.

The winner won by just one vote which shows how close it was amongst these three and anyone of them could have won the award. The winner though was for Juliette Roberts because of her incredibly painful Brighton Marathon where she struggled around the course but was then selected to run for England at the Chester Marathon where she put the demons of Brighton behind her to post a time of 3.15.45 and came home as 9th women in her O40’s category. A massive congratulations to Juliette on such a fine gutsy performance and now has her name adorned upon the Bill Mulholland trophy and now becomes one of the great names to appear on it.

As we said earlier anyone of these three could have won this and we congratulate both Caroline and Mark for being such fine ambassadors as well as being an inspiration to our club members. You have both been outstanding this year and we thank you both for being making it such a close call.

Congratulations to all of our winners and those in the runners-up positions and making it such an interesting year in terms of the competition. We look forward to the new revamped Super Series 2018 and also look out for the new Parkrun mini competition which starts in 2018, another great opportunity to get the club together and to see the blue vest’s out in force to showcase our talents.


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.