The Awards Night – Saturday 21st October – The Winners

For those that couldn’t make the awards last night please find a full list of the categories and the winners along with the notes for each winner.

What a wonderful evening we had at The Southover to celebrate the Arena 80 awards evening. With so many attending it was, well we can certainly say that it was, cosy but it did make for a very sociable evening so much so that things did overrun but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Seeing so many Areneez mixing and mingling with each other was seeing the club friendship’s formed at it’s very best. The buffet was very well received and plenty of it so my thanks to Teo for getting this one organised.

Once the buffet was over it was time to get the evening under way. Our president Chris Naylor opened the evening with a wonderful talk about the club, its origins, past and present and thanking those that have been a big part of the club over so many years to put Arena where we are now. She also gave great praise to our Chairman Bob Page who has been in the role as coach and chairman for 28 years and without him who knows where we would be or would have been without his magnificent service to the club.

We had eight awards to present during the evening.

Here are the eight awards and the winners of each category:

1. A80 Member who has given something back to the running community i.e. marshalling, officiating, etc. Voted for by the committee:

The nominations were for Paul Gasson; Lucy Anderson; Julie Briggs; Anne Miners and Mark Brocklehurst.

So the winner has been Run Director at 3 different parkruns that being Preston Park, Hove Prom and also as a parkrun ambassador helped to launch, as well as direct, the newly founded Peacehaven parkrun.

On top of that he has been Run Director on 35 separate occasions. Being a big part of the Hove Prom team, formerly an Event Director, this team have gone out of their way to promote inclusively for wheelchair users, deaf runners, blind runners and also walkers.

This person is also an ambassador of parkrun so has to visit and help out at certain parkruns as part of that role as well as establishing new events and guiding them through a thorough process.

This person has recently been accepted as a Race Adjudicator for England Athletics. They also did a great job helping out at the WSRFL Hove Park race making sure everything was going smoothly under the guidance of Tris Sharp.

It’s only right to say that this person really has given something back to the running community.

The winner was Mark Brocklehurst.

2. A80 Athlete showing greatest improvement in standard. Decided by 3 key members of the Committee:

The nominations were for Craig Issac; Lucy Anderson; Soulla Wright and John Thompson.

The winner is for this person, who you will find down at the track on a Monday night long before anyone else turns up, as they put in some extra laps before the session starts, so much so that I get dizzy watching them keep going round and round.

This person has PB’d 7 times at Preston Park parkrun this year.

This person has also made massive gains in terms of new PB times this year. These came in the 5k, the 10k and in particular the Phoenix 10k in which they knocked off a massive 5 minutes from their previous best set in 2016. In fact during that race they also set a new 5k PB in the process.

They also took off 10 minutes from their half marathon time set in 2016. It’s been a cracking year for this person.

The winner is summed up very nicely by Steve McNealy who said “since this person arrived, they have thrived on the track and excelled themselves, moving up groups at the track and giving 110% all the time”.

The winner was John Thompson.

3. Unexpected medallist for A80. Voted for by the committee.

We had two winners in this category;

There’s not really too much to say about this award. I mean it’s always nice to have a good race and to get a medal that you didn’t expect which is the icing on the cake. However a couple of our athletes have done just that this year.

The first unexpected award goes to someone with a great sense of humour (only in some people’s eyes that is) and has to date completed 263 parkruns amongst many of their other races but they have never won a medal before. And so for the bronze medal at the Sussex 10k Champs for the Men’s O60’s race, this award goes to Michael Miller. 

However there is another unexpected award which we are awarding as well. This person has completed 276 parkruns along with a host of other races and it just wouldn’t be fair to award to a Miller and not a Brumwell, if nothing else just to keep the peace and harmony in their household.

Can you imagine what that would be like if one half had won an award and not the other? We are of course thinking about the kids well-being here as well. And so for her unexpected bronze medal at the Harting 10 miler for the women’s O50’s this award goes to Sue Brumwell.

4. New A80 member who has integrated within the club by coming to training, taking part in races, helping out and generally being involved with the club. Voted for by the committee.

After much deliberation and discussion, the one name that kept cropping up was for this person who has really raised their game since joining the club. Just seeing this person at the training sessions on Mondays and Thursdays, you can see that they really want to progress with their running and gives it their all. This person has turned out at many races for Arena this year whether it is for the road races, WSFRL races or our very own club races, whichever one it was they seemed to have been there.

This person’s times have improved immensely over the year and they have now also moved up a group on the Monday night sessions and holding their own very nicely in there. This person has settled into the club extremely well and it feels like they have been a long standing member of the club. A very fine member to grace the track of Arena.

Winner was Lorraine Hale.

5. Funniest moment whilst engaged in an A80 activity whether club event, race, social etc. Voted for by the members of the club.

1. Del’s fascination with lawn bowls fashion.

2. Poor Teo’s home made electrolytes on the South down relays.

3. Teo Van Well and Sam Bennett turned up at Crawley to race their first track race of the season. They were both as keen as mustard and hyped up for the race. As the evening went on gradually more and more people left until, at last, it was time to start their 3000m race – and it was just the two of them! However they did both run big PBs.

4. Michael Millers response to his son Henry on Facebook:
Henry: is anyone going up to the 3k champs in Crawley today, I’m looking for a lift and live near hove station thanks.
Michael: I am Henry, I am your dad and I live upstairs.

Winner was Michael Miller.

6. Flying the flag is to acknowledge the A80 member who has taken part in races for A80 over various leagues/events across Sussex. Voted for by the committee.

Winner was Del Wallace.

Our two main awards of the night were for these last two. These were both chosen by the members of the club so hold a lot of kudos attached to them. I wanted to share these two results in their full glory due to the contribution shown by the members of Arena. I feel it’s only right that these members should be recognised as all were extremely strong contenders in both categories and it’s importance to the club and it’s members.

7. Team spirit shown by an Arena 80 individual in order to engage with, encourage others and Inspire. Voted for by the members of the club. 

Nominations that came in were for:

Steve McNealy for his many years of being the men’s captain, his organising of the men’s XC as well as the South Downs relay. Personal thanks to Steve for always being the first member to be setting up at our various races and for giving up so much of his time behind the scenes which other members do not see.

Tara Shanahan for her Goodgym work which inspires others and shows the good that running can do by giving back to the community. For taking and leading the track sessions. For being a consistently incredible performer for Arena 80 and, not least of all, for her fantastic running form – which is a joy and inspiration to watch.

Fiona Jamie who never stops, always willing to help, always offering lifts to the various races whether it’s the south down relays, cross-country or some other right out-of-town races she will always be the driver. And most of all for looking after some of us lost souls! She is always very encouraging and motivational.

Mark O’Gara for his support to many especially in the build up to the marathons this year. He Set up regular tough long training sessions and then lead the way in how to execute them and also to build up race stamina over many weeks of training. Also he supported many new members by offering a lot of advice and training runs.

Dan Vaughan for the selfless taking over of the captaining of the men’s road team and cross-country team even though he really didn’t want to take on the cross-country role! For all the encouragement he gives in races and team participation. Dan is another one of those members who is always there to offer lifts to the various races in order to make sure that Arena get teams out. A well-respected Arena member from all his peers.

However there was one name that came up many times from various members during this vote.

This person is always encouraging, joking and full of banter but he also has a heart of gold.

I am nominating him for the speed with which he gets all the performances of club members up on the website. Seeing all the various club members putting in great performances always makes me realise the sheer number of people in the club competing and makes me want to run more and motivates me to want to improve.

For all his hard work in getting the results up quickly for everyone to see. For always being enthusiastic, participating in races, encouraging and supporting others before and after races.

I’m nominating him for stepping in to take the Thursday night training sessions and for showing great support to those training. For making a real effort to talk to all members whether they are old or new and making the effort to get to know each of them which makes them feel welcomed into Arena. He is such a great asset to the club. 

Winner was Teo Van Well

8. The main award of the night; Outstanding athletic moment for A80. Voted for by the members of the club.

Nominations that came in were for:

Alan Silvester for his leg 17 of the South Downs Relay – roaring past Steve McNealy on the way, as the A team finally caught the B team!

Del Wallace in the Brighton Marathon.  Committing to and then smashing apart a sub-3 marathon (2.54) on a crazy hot day having been so close on previous efforts. Outstanding achievement from Del.

Emily Proto (AKA the Protonator) coming home as 2nd lady at Brighton half marathon in a time of 1.21.27 and then went one better at the Worthing 10k by getting her first ever 1st placing with her run of 38.01.

Tara Shanahan for her parkrun PB of 18.22 at Brighton & Hove parkrun putting herself into the women’s club record books on her 100th parkrun. As you can appreciate the standard of the women’s times are very high and any lady getting herself into the club records should be commended.

Dave Robinson for his epic world record by completing the Brighton Marathon in a strait jacket and beating the previous world record by 20 seconds in a time of 3.49.28. To get this ratified by Guinness, Dave had to make sure that he got a photograph of himself at every mile marker. The jacket itself weighed in at 2 kilos and with the sweat plus the water that was poured over his head during the race, the jacket, which was a heavy canvas, weighed in at 3 kilos. Talk about making things tough for yourself.

Juliette Roberts coming back to represent GB in the marathon after an initial disappointment of the Brighton Marathon and getting her well-earned PB.

However there were two nominations that stood out for our club members and this was a very close call.

The first of the two is for the Arena Women *winning* Gold at the South Downs Way 100 mile Relay! This was a Fantastic performance and achievement from a group of ladies that continue to be the best of Arena 80 and on current form the best in Sussex over many age ranges.

This was the first time that the Arena ladies had won the SDW relay in 10 years so an outstanding achievement from them. The ladies team have been outstanding this year as they were last year. They seem to be dominating whatever race they turn up for and they continue to push each other on to another level.

There is so much talent throughout the team and we are starting to see some new young blood coming into the team as well to hopefully keep up that Arena domination.

We will mention the ladies VET’S team as they are showing no signs of retiring or easing up and continue to dominate in all quarters, none more so than the at the Sussex Road relays where both the V40 and the V50’s took first place.

Of those still showing the way as Vet’s then I would just like to mention Jenny Hughes, Caroline Woods, Nicky Yeates, Julie Briggs, Dani Tarleton, Katherine O’Hara, Tara Shanahan, Caroline Hoyte and Chris Naylor all of whom are still showing exceptional form and still running very strongly. These ladies are to be applauded for what they have achieved and are still achieving and being such great role models to our newer members as well as our senior members of the club and this goes for both the men and the women.

There is as a fantastic bond amongst the ladies and I will use these words for them, inspire, respectful, supportive, close-knit but to be honest there are not enough superlatives for these ladies and for all of that, we salute you (round of applause).

The second of the two is another one of those that seems to have inspired many in the club this year for everything that has been achieved by this person. As one member very nicely put it “this person is a real example of focused training and self-belief which has got them to where they are today”

This person represented Great Britain at the European Masters Athletics Championships in Denmark. The ambition was to make the final of the 1500m which they did and came a respectable 13th with a brilliant time of 4.12.13.

This person joined the club to help with their marathon training, and ended up running for England.

I just want to quote a piece that they wrote; “What I wanted to say is that I joined Arena as a casual runner and never thought of myself as an ‘athlete’. My first track session was in group 3 (I think), I chipped away and gradually moved up the groups. The Sussex Vets league was my first ever track race. I had no idea what to expect but tried out something new and loved it”.

And the rest, of course, is history.

I feel it says a lot about this person and how far they have come. They switched from the longer distances d concentrated on the 1500m which was a game changer for them. This person has worked incredibly hard to get where they are now and this has not gone unnoticed by his peers at Arena 80. The word inspiring came up a many times within the votes we are of course taking about Joe Ashley.

Winner was Joe Ashley

However in the words of Apple “one more thing”….

There was one last presentation to be made which was presented by our president Chris Naylor to our Chairman Bob Page. As mentioned earlier Bob has been on the Arena scene for 28 years and taking the club onto so many great times and building a club to the enormity of what it is today. There are not enough words to express our gratitude to him for everything he has done for our club over the many years. we have been very lucky to have found Bob who has been simply outstanding as a coach and an award-winning ‘best coach in Sussex’ accolade. It’s hard to imagine where Arena would be right now without Bob Page taking over the helm in 1989. We are now a thriving club with unrivalled depth of talent within our club. It’s not luck that makes people want to come and join Arena, we are a group of people all with a common bond and one of the friendliest clubs you could ever wish to run for. Bob took the club from the brink of extinction back in 1989 and what wonders he has worked for Arena ever since. It was only right that the last award of the night should go to our leader Bob Page. Bob has a great interest in stars, and not just those on the track, but those in space and so it was with great pleasure that bob was presented with a voucher from the club for him to go and choose himself a telescope so be able to see beyond Arena and look to the wonders of the universe. There is no brighter star though than our Bob Page and the next time you see Bob go up to him and just say thank you and that’s all you need to do.

A huge congratulations to all of our award winners and for making such a massive contribution to Arena. Everyone of these deserved their award but so many more out there could also have been very worthy winners.

We would like to thank all of our members that took the time to vote, along with the committee for making these awards happen. A big thank you to all who were involved with the evening and making the awards night such a great success (you know who you are) and to all those of you that came along. Such a wonderful evening enjoyed by all and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.