Newsletter – January 2015

Welcome to the first Burgess Hill Runners Newsletter of 2015.

As you know, being a member of the best running club in the world, a great deal of effort is made to ensure that everyone is aware of what is going on in the club.  The club uses social media wherever possible, but understands that not everyone uses Facebook or Twitter.

Therefore, we are re-introducing a regular newsletter, written by members, for members.  It will be available in two versions, online and pdf, which will be emailed out to everyone.

Each newsletter we hope to have a review of any races or events that members have taken part in.  If you would like to write a race/run review, please let us know.  There is no set format, just put down how you felt and what you liked and disliked about it.  Also, let s have as many photos as you can.


Race Reviews

The Downland Devil by Neil Dawson

The Downland Devil 9 Mile event took place on a rather cold and windy 7th December at 10am. 20141207_093045_Richtone(HDR)The start is at Coombes Farm in Lancing, which is a working farm. 20141207_093218_Richtone(HDR)The registration area is in a barn with pretty good facilities. They had a licensed bar and they were serving hot drinks and hot food (including bacon sandwiches). 20141207_092908_Richtone(HDR)The start is about 5 minutes walk from the registration area, located in a valley. This means that there is only one way and that was up. 1908473_10152587070042983_3074272112372478714_nThis event is very challenging from the start. In the first kilometer you climb over 60m. However, what goes up, must come down and the next 1.2 kilometers is all downhill. This process is repeated several times over the length of the 9 miles. The course has the longest downhill finish that I have ever seen, which is very welcome after the hill that comes before it. The course is either on grass or farm track. Off road shoes are absolutely essential. 9 Burgess Hill Runners took part in the event. Jon Boxall headed the BHR contingent with a time of 1 hour 5 minutes and 31 seconds. Jonathan Lelliott continued his run of form and return to competition with an impressive time of 1 hour 11 minutes and 18 seconds. James Sorbie was next home in a time of 1 hour 15 minutes and 45 seconds. Dan Foord (sporting the running number ‘1’) followed James in 1 hour 18 minutes and 52 seconds. Emma Leeson broke the 1 and a half hour mark by a second. The Dawson’s came in within a few seconds of each other in just over 1 hour 33. Philippe Ecaille, ‘fresh’ from the Downslink Relay and recently returned from injury was next in 1.42.22. Hannah Watkins was close behind in 1.46.10. The final BHR home was Caz Wadey in 1.52.56. 10256220_10152587069912983_2153224108125015426_nI’d definitely recommend this event. It’s not easy. Most people will walk some of it. I imagine that almost everyone walked the vertical climb section which was sent to test us. The organization was good, although for some reason some runners accidentally managed a short cut. I am certain that they won’t allow this to happen again. 1779737_10152945334416214_5423346292936080145_nYou also get to see some of the South Downs that we don’t see to see very often, including some sections of the 3 Forts and Steyning Stinger events. More details available from

Thanks, Neil.

Photos from Caz Wadey, Jonathan Lelliott and Neil Dawson.


Downslink Relay by Jay Wadey

A Funny Thing Happened At The Downs Link Relay

One of the Burgess Hill Runners annual events takes place along the old and unused railway route from St. Martha’s Hill, near Guildford, to Shoreham, the Downs Link. It is a 37 mile course which is divided up into six stages of between 4 and 7 miles long. It is an in house competition and we compete in teams of six (each member running 1 leg), or teams of 3 (each member running 2 legs).

This year it took place on 6th December and was the first time that I had entered this particular race. After a lot of organising by Kim Gow and Steve Roberts, we managed to get together 5 teams. Three teams of six runners, and two teams of three. I was in one of the three man teams, comprising of Keith “Daredevil” Delderfield and Andy “Supersonic” Sayers.

We all arrived at St Martha’s Hill for the 10:30am start, and it was absolutely freezing. The sun was trying to cut through the cold, but was lacking any strength. Still this wasn’t going to put us hardy BHR’s off. We thrive on tough conditions and we put our bravest run faces on as we made our way up the hill to the start position.



Just before the off, there was a brief given to us all by Steve Roberts, explaining the details of the run. We were also informed at this point that the two teams of three members will be starting 15 minutes after the other teams had started. This was a good move as on paper the stronger runners were in these groups, and it would keep everyone closer together as the race developed. The downside was that we had to hang around in the cold for another quarter of an hour until Andy and Alan (Fry) started!

After the last of the teams had disappeared into the woods, we made our way back to our cars and headed off to the start of the next stage at Run Common. We did a quick stop at Bramber to see the first few runners go through. The runners from the six’s were still together and were running as a pack. We waved them passed and carried on our journey not waiting to see Andy and Alan as they would be a while behind.

Shortly, we arrived at the start of leg two. This was to be Keith’s first run of the day. We made our way with the other competitors to the changeover point and waited to see the runners come in. As it was cold Keith was wearing a big thermal coat and some tracksuit bottoms to fight off the cold. He started to warm up a little so he would be ready when he was needed to run. Further up the course a few people had positioned themselves so they could see when the first leggers came in to view, and it was only a minute before we heard a shout that they were coming. As we all strained our eyes to see who was coming in first Keith continued his warm up, after all our guy had started fifteen minutes behind the frontrunners so no need to panic. As the dots in the distance got closer we all suddenly realised that there were in fact five people all coming in. Andy and Alan had already managed to catch up and were here too! I shouted to Keith, Andy’s here already and then the panic set in!

As the first leggers got ever closer, Keith tried to disrobe his coat and trackie bottoms as quickly as he could. The coat came off pretty easily, but the same can not be said of his lower body garments. As the runners came over the line, Keith was still wrestling with trying to get them off over his trainers. Andy was cursing and Keith was struggling and everyone else was laughing at this hilarious sight! The other teams were off, and Keith finally got away at the back of the field.

As I wiped the tears from my eyes and watched Keith disappear into the distance, I turned round to see Alan standing there looking a bit puzzled. ‘Where’s Neil?’ He asked us all. We then realised that his team mates Neil Dawson and Philippe Ecaille were no where to be seen! In all the hilarity and excitement, no-one had noticed that they weren’t actually with us. Alan started to run up to where we had parked the cars to see if he could see them, while I started to try and contact Neil on my mobile phone, but as luck would have it, we were in a ‘no service’ area. A couple of minutes later Alan came running back to us and said that the only thing he could do was to run the next leg as well and so he shot off after the rest of the runners losing a good eight minutes or so with this fiasco.

We headed back to our cars wondering what on earth had happened to our two missing mates and we were pleased to see them pull up as we returned. They had taken a wrong turn on the way to the second leg and had got separated from everyone else and ended up getting lost!

The rest of the day (as far as I am aware) went by pretty much incident free you will be glad to know. I ran the next leg from Rudgwick to Southwater and managed to take a wrong turn twice! Luckily for me, Neil was nearby and shouted both times to let me know and as the relay wore on the teams gradually spread out. By the time I started my second leg (which was also the last one), my team mates had handed me a rather healthy lead over the other competitors. Still, I ran the Bramber to Shoreham leg as fast as I could and I experienced the joy of being the first person over the finish line. Not an experience I have had before, nor one that I will be getting used to I am sure.


The Downs Link Relay will be in our running calendar again in 2015 at some point, and after my first experience I can wholly recommend you taking part in it. It is a great team bonding race and a great day out. As with everything that Burgess Hill Runners does, it is a race that everyone can do no matter what your ability, and really is a fun. Give it a try.

Go on, you know you want to!


Cross Country 2014 by James Sorbie

After a long season of West Sussex Fun Run League races there’s no better way to unwind than four cold, wet, boggy races in the Sussex Cross Country League! That’s how they were pitched to me and after three years of Stuart Condie asking me if i’d take part I finally gave in.

Taking part in my first ever cross country race at Goodwood, I already started to wonder just how different from a WSFRL race it’d really be when I was told “you won’t need spikes for this one”.

Sure enough, the secret was out of the bag when I comfortably ran round in my standard off road shoes with barely a splash of mud on me. Goodwood, it turns out, would’ve been right at home amongst the fun run league races. In fact, it was less muddy and less hilly than the likes of the Hickstead Gallop.

Somehow though, the atmosphere was different. There were, as you’d expect, fewer fun runners out and I was nervous on the start line of a race for the first time in a while as I had gone from racing at a standard where I felt reasonably comfortable, to mixing with much faster runners. Sure enough, some of us BHR chaps starting at the back and larking about a bit before the start seemed a little out of place compared to some serious looking people, but by the end we’d made a good account of ourselves and I instantly fell in love with these extra races on our doorstep.

10701975_835465359838313_672094768095112661_nThe ladies team at Goodwood (left to right) – Naomi Gollow, Sharona Harrington, Janet Clapton and Emma Leeson.

Knowing that Plumpton was a lot muddier I also rushed straight out to buy some cross country spikes which were surprisingly cheap compared to the usual running shoe. Having now done my first three cross country races I can, hand on heart, say that the courses are no more challenging than WSFRL races. There are a couple of differences though. Firstly, the ladies run in a separate race to the men and for some reason have a shorter distance to run each time despite the ladies being perfectly capable of handling a longer run. One pleasant plus side to this though is that the men can cheer on their female club mates as they compete and vice versa. The other difference is the standard is higher. I see this as a positive and believe that it has pushed me to up my game and would recommend the same to anybody aspiring to get faster and more competitive. Don’t be deterred by the higher standard either, wherever you finish for the club (even if it was last) you’re still out there representing BHR and we still find time for the kind of camaraderie the club is known for.

1454623_505807836184413_292780088_nTrevor Symes running bear foot at Plumpton.

8309_505807492851114_230592110_nMark Collins at Plumpton.


The mens team at Plumpton (Stuart Condie, Neil Grigg, John Palmer, James Sorbie, Alan Fry, Paul Sargent, Andy Sayers).

In short, I recommend the Cross Country to everyone at this club, particularly those that have experienced the WSFRL (speak to Stuart Condie or Janet Clapton for more details). Just be ready to be hosed down in the garden afterwards!


Upcoming Events

1st January – Hangover 5 – Worthing – West Sussex Fun Run League
4th January – Apres – Longman 10k/10 Miles – Winter Trail Event
28th January – Dark Star River Marathon – sold out
28th January – Worthing Lido 4 – Worthing – West Sussex Fun Run League
8th February – Chichester 10k 14th February – Bexhill – Sussex Cross Country League 14th February – Valentines Run – West Sussex Fun Run League
22nd February – Brighton Half Marathon
Every Saturday 9am – There’s a parkrun all over the country, especially in Hayheath Heath


Coaches Corner by Jan Lavis


Run Specific Strength & Conditioning

This short article will hopefully explain the basics of run specific strength & conditioning and why it is important. Think of strength training as your running foundation. A house without any foundations will eventually start to crack and fall down. Without a few strength & conditioning basics, there will be a limit to the amount of improvements you make in your running before cracks appear and injury creeps up.

“Run Specific Strength & Conditioning”

First of all to re-assure you, this need mean nothing more than 5minutes here & there or a couple of 20min slots in your own home in front of the TV. Of course it could also mean taking classes somewhere if that’s what you like to do. Why “Run Specific” – because as runners we spend a lot of time on one foot or the other and hopefully not much time on two feet. Many of the basic exercises that benefit us as runners are done on a “Single Leg”. This not only improves balance but better replicates the stresses and loading associated with running.

“Core Stability”

The “King Pole” or “Centre Pole” of a big top tent plays a crucial role in keeping the tent upright and strong. Think about your core as performing a similar function for you as the King Pole does for a big top. If your core is nice and strong, it will be much more able to support you during your training and will assist in preventing injury. Your core muscles are made up of around 30 different muscles that connect your legs to your hips, spine, and rib cage. Here’s an article from runners world which details them – Click Here.

It’s important to target all these muscles in the right way for maximum benefit.

I would highly recommend Kinetic Revolution as a good resource for top advice on run specific strength & conditioning, core, balance and proprioception. There is a really good free 30 day challenge which will introduce you to a whole range of run specific exercises with explanatory videos. Click here to get started

Basic Balance

Work on the basics of being able to balance well on one leg. Of course once your core is nice & strong, your balance will naturally improve.

Here’s a good basic balance & proprioception routine – Click Here


The glutes are the powerhouse muscles which propel you forward when running. Often, the hamstrings do too much work and can be over used and/or tight and/or become injured.

Single Leg Squat

Elastic Band Walking (Bands very cheap to buy)

Click Here


There are many ways to target your core muscles and planks are just one. This video – Click Here, shows 10 different sorts of planks. It gets quite technical and the chap is obviously very good. Have a look at the first 3 for a start unless you are a regular planker. I would suggest using this plank challenge as a really long term 12 month project and build up to the more advanced stuff once you’ve mastered the basics. Good form is demonstrated in this video and it is really important to maintain good form for a shorter time rather than have bad form for longer. A good way to build up over all time if you’re new to core work, is by doing reps with recovery. For example, start with 10/15/20/30/45secs etc (depending on your level), rest for 30secs, repeat a couple of times. Gradually increase the plank time and reduce the recovery time.

For info on all matters training, please visit the Training Area of the BHR Website


Clair parkrun by Neil Dawson

groupIn the first newsletter, I thought I’d give you a quick update on happenings at Clair parkrun over the past 18 months, to give an idea of what we do.  parkrun is a volunteer lead free time 5km run that takes place every Saturday morning in over 250 parks across the country.  We set up our parkrun in partnership with Haywards Heath Harriers in July 2013. Here are a few stats to sum up the what we have achieved:

Number of events: 77
Total runs completed: 7865
Total distance covered: 39,325km
Total runs by Burgess Hill Runners: 876

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their support, both with their running and their volunteering.  I would estimate that our club has already contributed over 700 hours of volunteering time on Saturday mornings to ensure that this event happens and runs as smoothly as it does.  Thank you to you all.

1920136_222014704664251_1071449985_n Our event has attracted runners of all abilities from course record holder Chris Smith, who has represented Great Britain in the World Mountain Running Championships to people who are completing their first ever 5km run.

10387686_289754334556954_6903604121888010964_n In each newsletter, there will be a monthly update on happenings in Clair Park. We look forward to seeing you for a lovely undulating 5km run soon.

Neil (Event Director)


Member of the Month – Jay Wadey

Jay has been with Burgess Hill Runners for a little more than a year.  In that time he has made a serious impact on the club (and not just with his cross dressing).  He is a legend at Clair parkrun and is now the West Sussex Fun Run League race secretary.  He’s also a lot quicker than he was 18 months ago.  In 2014 he ran the Wealdand Beachy Head Marathons and well a countless half marathons, 10k’s, WSFRL races and parkruns.  So we decided to ask him a few questions:

When did you start running?

3 years ago

Why do you run?

For fun


What is the best piece of advise you have ever received?

Get trainers that fit properly.

What is the best piece of advise you would give?

Finish behind me.

When was the first moment that you felt like a runner?

First Clair parkrun (27th July 2013 with a time of 25.20. 18 months later course PB is now 23.02)


What was your first ever race?

Burgess Hill 10k 2013

What is your first ever memory of athletics?

Seb Coe / Steve Ovett races.

What is your favourite race that you watched on TV?

London Olympics 10,000m. Gold for Mo Farrah.

Who is your favourite athlete and why?

Mo Farrah. He was the inspiration behind Jay beginning to run.

What is your biggest running achievement?

Joining Burgess Hill Runners.

What is the toughest race you have ever done?

Beachy Head Marathon 2014.


Where is the best pace you have ever run?

Green Belt Relay 2014


What is your favourite WSFRL race?

Round Hill Romp

Rain or shine? Rain

Hill or flat? Hill

Along or in a group? Group

Garmin Connect or Strava? Garmin Connect

With or without music? Without

Take That or 1 Direction? Pass (this was the most emphatic refusal to answer a question ever)

Beetroot or Brussel Sprouts? Brussel Sprouts

What is your favourite piece of kit?

Burgess Hill Runners vest

What is your favourite post race treat?

Going out for a curry. Jay has his own chair in ‘Flavour’ (other restaurants are available)


What is your favourite training session?

Any session other that ones in the field near the water tower

Something you may not know about Jay – he’s a very talented drummer or singer


Thank you Jay.

If you would like to be our featured BHR personality next month, let s know and we will send out or film crew to interview you.


Other recent photos

quizClub Quiz Night – The Winners !!!!

spicegirls Christmas and 20th Anniversary Party – Spice up you life?

gingChristmas and 20th Anniversary Party – Anyone know the collective noun for a group of Geri’s?

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