It was back to Lancing for the Sussex Masters. Masters is for anyone over the age of 35 and the advantage of that is that the entry is smaller than it is for the League and there are no youngsters haring off at the start.
Lancing has no flat bits – there is an awful lot of up – correspondingly there must be the same amount of down but you do really seem to notice the up parts of the course.
We had had reports from the course a week ago say that it was muddy and a week of torrential rain wasn’t going to make it any drier. A tree had fallen across the path in the allotment section but part of it had been sawn and removed so luckily our vaulting/hurdling skills were not required
For the women the course comprises a bowling green lap (bowling green conjuring up images of manicured flat grass but this is anything but), a field lap (up and down a muddy field plus bowling green) and a dewpond lap which basically means a long climb, partly on a chalky, hard path. I am told there are good views from the dewpond summit but am usually gasping my last and trying to stay upright by then so have never experienced them.
The varied (but always muddy) terrain caused footwear dilemma – short spikes, long spikes, studs? The name of the game was donning anything in which you felt confident especially for the downhill sections so for me that was long spikes (even though they are uncomfortable on the hard path section)
Warm ups completed the whistle was blown, we lined up and we were off for 6.5k – up, down and round, ploughing through the mud in the allotment section, trying not to slip and slide (and in the case of Issy sliding down the field section) and trying to make up time on the downhill parts. To be successful you have to have the strength to plod uphill and also the gung ho ability to push on the downhill parts.
Roughly 30 minutes later it was all over. Well done to all who turned out and took part – in this case a 100% attendance for the ladies – no illnesses or injuries preventing participation – Kat, Fi, Jen, Chris, Issy, Clare, Dani, Sue, Katherine and Emma.
Thanks to Dani for organising and for providing cake (version three). Thanks to Fi for driving and allowing the filthy tent into her car
A big well done to Katherine for her fine run without spikes (how she remained upright I shall never know) and who in her first outing for Arena won a Team medal.
Our select band brought home the medals too as can be seen on the Results page.
A quick mention to Julian and David for turning out for the Arena men.