All aboard the Arena Brighton Half Marathon train

What started out a rather cool morning turned into an early summer’s day, which was perfect for the Arena volunteers who were marshalling at their usual hang out ‘The Peace Statue’, but not really wanted by those running this year’s Brighton Half Marathon.
The Arena volunteers are always a nice bunch of people to hang around with and it’s these kinds of events where we get a chance to team bond and socialise. We had a slightly different role to be a part of this year, as we helped marshal the youth events along the Hove Prom. There were (I think) six races taking place and they all went off at 60 seconds intervals (I swear it was quicker than that) with the oldest going off first with the youngest going last. It was quite a spectacular view to watch so many running the one mile course along the Prom and captivating to see the energy, speed, pain and smiles on their faces as they went by. Once done the volunteers headed back to the Statue to take their places for the big race.
Arena always has a good turnout for this one and this year was no different with no less than 57 taking to the streets. Our volunteers are quite luck as we get to see the guys twice, just after mile 7 and again just before mile 12. I know our athletes are always buoyed on by the support they receive from their peers and we always make the effort to shout and cheer one of our own. The conditions were pretty harsh by the time they reached us with that last mile to go, so much respect is given to our guys for ploughing on through it. Personally as a volunteer, I always have a great sense of pride when I see any of our Arena guys running past and I’m sure that goes for the rest of our Areneez support crew as well.
Despite the warm conditions Arena 80 still produced some fantastic results with so many getting new PB’s.
Just looking at the key places primarily, then we have to say well done to Emily Proto who is keeping her sole focus on the Brighton Marathon in April, so used this one as a key run as part of her build up to that race. Emily went into this race in very good shape, having had some excellent results over the last few weeks but wasn’t expecting to get much from this race. At mile 7-8 Emily was running along with Del Wallace and was first lady at this point although she was being tracked very closely by Fiona de Mauny of Herne Hill Harriers. By the time they had reached the Peace Statue Emily and Fiona was virtually neck and neck so it all came down to the last mile. Fiona just edged Emily out in the final stretch to come home first in 1.20.25 with Emily coming a magnificent 2nd in 1.20.46 which is her second fastest marathon time and her fastest since 2015. Emily was over the moon with this result and was way beyond what she had hoped for from the race. Huge congratulations Emily and the assault on the big one in April is still on.
Our first Arena man home came from that man Richard Clayton who didn’t have the best warm up to this race as he had been out for two weeks with an eye infection. At the half way point Richard was looking very relaxed as he nestled in with a bunch of other athletes. I have to say I was loving the new bright orange shorts, but I’m biased as orange is my favourite colour, anyway I digress. Richards’s pre-race plan was supposed to be marathon pace with 5 easy miles after. However as the conditions were good, he changed it and went with half marathon pace to mile 9 then eased back to marathon pace. As many other runners will agree with Richard, he did say that the easy miles after mile 9 were a little tough going but heck with a time of 1.15.17, which is only 17 seconds to making the club records, I feel it’s only right to say that Richard is looking in very good shape as he takes on his assault of the London Marathon on April 21st. He came in 33rd place which really isn’t too shabby for someone out on training run.
There are a few other Areneez who very much deserve a big shout out as well on some outstanding performances.
Blake Brown who is 2nd claim for Arena had a very strong race with a time of 1.18.17 to come home in 43rd place overall. The other senior men worth mentioning are Aled Anderson who made the journey back from Cardiff to take this one on and never one to let the side down had a great run and a great time of 1.18.37. This was a new PB time for him as he beat his previous best by some two minutes. Del Wallace was another fine edition to our boys as he recorded a 1.20.54 time. The other Arena man to note was Teo Van Well who didn’t go in to this race expecting too much but seeing him in the zone going out and on the return, he looked full of running and he also jumped on the PB bandwagon to get a new time of 1.22.45.
In the M50’s Arena had three in the top 20 with Andy Payne who is coming back strongly after a long spell out with injury as he took 13th in 1.27.08. Kevin Martin who was just behind Andy in 15th with a time of 1.27.34 and Julian Hollingdale completed the trio in 17th place in 1.28.33 so nice team working going on there.
In the M60’s Arena had success with David Kemp taking the 3rd place man with a time of 1.36.24 and this was also his fastest HM time since 2015 now that’s what I call good form. Michael Miller took 8th place in 1.40.36.
The F40’s for Arena again showed some dominance as they placed 3 in the top 10 and had 5 in the top 17 overall. The top three ladies were Dani Tarleton in 1st place who totally smashed her previous best with a new time of 1.24.53. Juliette Roberts never does half measures and grabbed 5th place in 1.28.50 which was an agonising 2 seconds outside of her PB time but still quicker than her 2018 time. The third lady was Katherine O’Hara who took a great 6th place in a time of 1.29.02 so three ladies in the top 6, now that’s not bad going. Also shouts going to Soulla Wright in 11th and Rachel Woolston 17th in 1.35.27.
We had representation in the F50’s with Fiona Bugler placing 8th in 1.38.01 and Jackie Rymell 9th in 1.40.07.
In the F60’s a couple of good placings went to Anne Miners in 5th place with 1.53.33 and Yvonne Patrick in 7th place in 1.56.36. 
I would also like to single out Helen Moss who had an outstanding race as FSEN runner as she recorded a time of 1.27.37. I believe this was her first half marathon race that she has competed in for Arena but it does show her credibility within the Arena ladies section now. It’s been great watching Helen grow into her running since she joined Arena and this was a very strong run from her and I believe there is still more to come yet.
There were so many successes from the day and I apologise that I can’t get then all in on this post but to all of you who gained a new PB whether it was by 10 seconds or 4 plus minutes, well done and congratulations to you all. For all the Arena participants, thank you for being part of the club and show casing Arena 80 which also gave us something to cheer along to. A very special thank you to the all of our volunteers, some of which aren’t part of the club, but it made for a great day.
Just to mention the next big Arena event is on Saturday 16th March which is the parkrun series race 2 at the Hove Prom. This will be an age grading scoring race.