Newsletter – February 2015

Well, what a busy month it has been, as you can see we have lots of race reviews to inspire and encourage you as well as some great advice from our coaches. Thank you to everyone who has provided us with material, it makes it so much easier when you volunteer!


Club Kit

We are looking at what the club offers in terms of non-technical kit and how we deliver it to you. This is your opportunity to tell us what you like about the club kit, and how it could be improved! What would you like to see that we don’t currently offer – bags, beanies etc – and is there anything you would miss if we dropped it? Please note – at present we are not looking to change the design of our BHR running tops. The feedback request relates to hoodies, t-shirts etc. Please comment on Naomi’s post on Facebook with your feedback (or email if you prefer) and keep it clean!
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Caption Competition

10376992_397836643716642_2111626783581012545_n A suggestion has been made to have a caption competition as we have so many photos posted on Facebook etc…. Email your captions to and try to keep them for a family audience! No prize, but the knowledge that you made us all laugh!


Race Reviews

Greenwich 10k by Helen Pratt

On 21st December 2014 9 Burgess Hill Runners took a trip up to Greenwich Park to take part in the Run Through Greenwich Park 5k/10k. Run Through have several events throughout the year, Battersea 10k,Wimbledon Half and others . At some you get t-shirts, some medals and others both . Greenwich Park is a beautiful London park housing the Greenwich Observatory and is the red start of the London Marathon. We arrived early which allowed us to park in the park itself. Everything was still being set up but Christmas music was heard across the park.  We were able to get our numbers and chip. The run started at 10am and there was soon many Santas, elves and fairies lining up ready to run . The 5k and 10k runners all started together. Anyone thinking a London park would be a nice easy run soon found out different . Greenwich park is nicely undulating and throughout the 10k run there was 4 steep inclines. The run was 2 laps around the park for those doing the 10k. At the end of the first lap makeshift cardboard signs were held up directing the 5k to the finish and the 10k on to do another lap . Eventually the final steep incline . Once at the top the finish is just around the corner . There is loads of encouragement for the last few metres and then the finish and the medal ! … except they had run out .. teach me to take so long ..Eventually some more were found and we could all go home happily having tucked into a mince pie . Maybe a run which is slightly disorganised but it is a great one to do just before Christmas .. just dont hang around entering as it does sell out. Roll of honor…. Linda Russell. ..54.48, Marie Carey. 55.13, Gill Berglund 56.56, Victoria Newman 57.34 , Carole Mills 59.09 , John Carey 59.53, Claire Giles 1.02.45, Kjell Berglund 1.02.54, Helen Pratt 1.06. 36.

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Hangover 5 by Simon Alexander – New Year’s Day at 11.30 (Goring Road Runners)

The Hangover 5 is one of three races in Worthing that form part of the West Sussex Fun Run League. This is one of the older courses on the circuit and has not changed much in recent years. Traditionally it is the ‘Ice breaker’ for the season (sometimes quite literally) and is a great way for its participants to realise that they have overindulged at Christmas and New Year and that their winter training wasn’t quite what they expected! This years race was a bit of a milestone for me. Twenty years ago this was the first race I ever entered.

10863968_10152648554367983_6416070429415277492_o The race hasn’t always been the curtain raiser. My mentor, Dan Maskell (not the Wimbledon tennis commentator) took me to this race to see how my training was going. It was in the autumn back then so the weather was much brighter and the ground much firmer. I recall the course being very similar to its current route although given that my 1995 time was 38:17 and my 2001 PB is 32:08, I feel that the field section might have been a bit shorter then. At the end of my first race I thought I’d done well until Dan introduced me to a 70 year Hedgehoppers runner with no teeth who had beaten me by over two minutes!! I wasn’t too deflated though because apart from the odd gap year I’m still enjoying my running and competing in the fun run league.

10872823_10152648560267983_5686547002826001812_o The course and why you will enjoy it. The course is a five mile Downland course and follows a path between 2 golf courses and incorporating the outer perimeter of Cissbury Ring. The view from the top is fantastic looking out across Worthing to the sea and is always guaranteed to be influenced in some way by the weather. The race starts on open playing fields for the first half mile to help thin the field out a bit before the climb to the top. The hill is a steady gradient and Garmin shows the rise from 20 metres to 160 metres. The hill climb is a bit narrow in places so not easy to pass and does appear to steepen towards the top so if you still have bounce left in your bungee then you will need to be good at working your way through the field. The climb is not as steep as some but is a good test. The surface can be sticky at times so good grip is essential. At the top you turn sharply downhill and follow the southern perimeter of Cissbury Ring for about 1/3rd of a mile. This has a couple of sharp climbs in it and the surface can be tricky due to the wet and slippery chalk. At around the 2 ¾ mile mark you start your decent. There is normally a 400 yard muddy puddle at the top but fortunately this year most of it was missing. The downhill section opens out and there is room to pass but you still need to watch you footing as the surface is loose in places. With just over a mile to go the route turns sharply left and follows the line of the golf course back to the original path that you climbed on your route out. If you get a chance you can glimpse one of the trickiest par three holes in golf that is protected by 10 bunkers! Back on the main trail again you drop down back to the field and finish where you started.

10900157_10152648555262983_7886446127975665673_o There is no lap of the field at the end so if you’re after making up some places toward the end you really need to start as you come back onto the main trail. Facilities Marshalling team are positive, friendly and enthusiastic. There is some shelter from the elements as the race control is incorporated in the clubhouse and generally the queue for the toilets is not lengthy. There is water at the finish, medical facilities at the top and bottom of the course and a staff selling cakes and drinks. After Jon Lelliott’s encouraging comments about my size I thought it best to avoid the cake stall but I spoke to some other customers who felt the range was good quality and good value.

10869731_10152648542602983_584908896706809154_o Results There were several first timers in the 28 Burgess Hill Runners who took part in the main race. Jon Boxall came 11th with an impressive time of 35:30 scoring 10 points and ‘Old Timer’ Jon Lelliott managed 9 points finishing 24th with a time of 37:05. Former Race secretary Trevor Symes has bounced back from a tricky season last year with an impressive 42nd place 8 points with a time of 39:18. Benny Coxhill finished 91st in a time of 42:50 scoring 6 points and was thrilled with his result as he is now seeing the benefit of his winter training. First lady home was Janet Clapton finishing 13th in category scoring 10 points in a time of 44:57 closely followed by Emma Buckland in a time of 45:18 and scoring 9 points. Sally Symes also scored a sterling 9 points with her 29th place finish in 47:47. Lily Craigs was the sole representative in the Junior section finishing 24th with a time of 6:54.

10891540_10152648542197983_4519373926852194266_n 10834888_10152648542412983_7231581963897344206_oThe team scored 80 out of a possible 85 points. A solid start. Although I was a little off the pace this year I had a great time and really enjoyed running the course which set a good bench mark for my training for this years season. Trevor and I still are still aiming for that elusive 9 point finish although I think he has less work to do than me however he has already failed his New Years resolution of achieving a PB in every race this year. Anyway, onwards and upwards. Well done to every one who took part in this years race and for those of you who have not tried any of the fun run league races you really should give it a go. They’re all a bit different and there is something in there for everyone and at £3 a race they knock spots off of the mass participation events!

1909363_10152648543332983_8891685078106815607_o10862669_10152648557317983_7575736143566968574_o Photos courtesy of Caz Wadey (including this one of Jay being camera shy as usual).


Eastbourne Longman 10 miles by Theresa Chalk

When my husband asked me how long I thought it would take me to do the Longman 10 miler, I seriously replied “around 3 ½ hours”. I had images of climbing a range of mountains comparable to the Andes while being buffeted by 80 mile an hour winds, Motivation for entering was pure dread of coming last in the Paris marathon this coming April .

10264282_819611991406520_5834248087602981602_n I gently coerced fellow runner Ann to join me (she may have a different view on this) knowing how keen she would be to do a bit of marathon training too. On the plus side, if I got lost on route I wouldn’t be on my own. Little was I to have known that this would indeed happen.

10866171_913412658693119_5997312800671685907_o After a 15 minute delay on the start line, due to a marshalling error we set off on what was to be one of the few flats we were to encounter over the next few miles. Half a mile or so in we were greeted with a view of our first steep incline. I reckon this was the steepest that we encountered. It was so steep there wasn’t a soul running it. Having such a clear blue sky and just the right weather for a walk we joined in. Onward and upward we went, where we really could enjoy the fantastic views around us and get settled into a nice comfy pace. Around 4 miles, and not a soul in sight apart from us and another three ladies we ran towards, so we headed right (no sign to point the way was evident) and began our descent towards a marshal placed at the bottom. Half way down we noticed a snaked line of runners, coming from the other direction towards the marshal. Oops, we were clearly in the wrong place and back up the hill we trotted. No clues as to where to go so we phoned the helpline to get us back on track. A few complaints of lack of marshals around and then they appeared like buses. No marshals in sight for miles and when we did see one, there were always one or two others in tow. Still who needs marshals when you have great beacons of light directing you to the right path in the form of 5in high sticks sticking out of the ground? In spite of running half or so mile more than needed, it was a very pleasant day which was hugely helped by great weather conditions. It was a lovely steep downhill then flat last mile to the finish line where you were greeted with a medal put around your neck and an offer of a warming recovery chocolate drink.

10818200_913289565372095_5726238735955509048_o As well as a lovely big silver medal, you received a cotton tote bag with drink sachet, nutrition bar and a Longman tee-shirt. Finish time was around 2.08, so well within my original estimated time. This is quite a pricey race to enter and for its price should have had bigger and more route signs. The marshals could have been a lot more helpful and more of them. It is a challenging course and trail shoes would have been better than the usual running trainer.


Two Bays, Dromana, Victoria, Australia by Kevin Walker


Tough run, imagine Tilgate Forest with some beachy and a little jungle like, well that was two bays. Very much a party attitude ( like Beachy ) with people dressed up ( or some ). The 28km run was from Dromana to Cape Schanck, uphill road start then on the trail. 90% carrying Camelbaks or similar, only 3 aid stations for a tough run, and everyone carrying a snake bandage as this is bush and there are poisonous snakes. I took a tumble, and quite a few did, quite a few DNF sadly too.  Mine was hurt pride, and no damage. By Aussies standards it was a cool day 24°, but it felt hot to me. I think I drank 3 litres of water, nice start time of 7am though, so first bit was cool. Switched my watch to km which was confusing to start, but soon got the hang of it. Managed 7km an hour and that got me in as the last qualifying runner of 15 seconds under the four hours Pleased with that, well over the moon as younger fitter looking people came in way behind me.

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Battersea Park 10k by Marie and John Carey

Sunday 11th January 2015 got off to an early start, when we left home at 7.30am to drive up to Battersea Park to take part in the 10K event, organised by (We had taken part in a couple of their other events during 2014, the Wimbledon Common HM and the Greenwich Park 10K and were keen to again run somewhere we hadn’t run before). On arrival, we found that not only was there plenty of parking in nearby roads, but it was also free, an unexpected bonus. The event organisers don’t post out race numbers so we had to queue up to collect them. There was then a further queue to drop off bags, but both were well organised and fast moving. After a short walk down to the start line, there was just enough time for a warm up, whilst having the usual dilemma of whether we were under/overdressed – it was a lovely sunny morning but there was a very chilly wind blowing. The race got underway at 9.35am and off we set on our 4 laps of the park. The course was fast and flat and it was all on paths which were very wide and this meant no dreaded bottlenecks. There were longish, straight sections and no tight corners and we got a good overview of the park which was very pretty. We’d been warned by the organisers that there may be areas where we were competing for space with other park users but there really weren’t any problems at all. The laps seemed to go quickly and we finished in times of 52:27 and 56:15. Not our fastest 10K’s but the intention had always been to treat this as a training run with laps 1 & 4 being at easy pace, and laps 2 & 3 being at threshold pace. We don’t know whether this added to what was a very positive experience, but we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The medal, in the shape of Battersea Power Station, (which the route passed by), was also a lovely reminder of an event which we’re very pleased to have taken part in. This is a fairly ‘low key’ event – approximately 400 runners took part. Unusually, there was also an option of a 5K (2 lap) run, which started 5 mins ahead of the 10K. The 5K attracted about 120 runners. The price (£16 affiliated) was the same, regardless of which distance you ran, and you could decide on the morning which distance to go for.

carey1 carey2carey3We would definitely recommend this event, particularly if you are chasing a PB. If mud and/or hills are your thing, then it’s probably not the one for you.

John & Marie Carey


The Winter Tanners 20 by Steve Roberts

This a rather belated report on the Winter Tanners 20, which Nick Dawson, Jon Lavis & I took part in on 11th January (Sue Lyle & Jan Lavis also came along & completed the longer 30 mile route). The Winters Tanners challenge event is organised by the Surrey wing of the Long Distance Walking Association (LDWA) & in one shape or other it has been going since the early 1970’s so it’s a bit steeped in walking/running history & is brilliantly supported by the Surrey LDWA folks. The route of the Winter Tanners 20 & 30 began in the middle of Leatherhead, near the municipal car park in a small, no frills whatsoever sports hut (LDWA events are not for bling hunters or those who need high spec facilities that’s for sure!). The route is an unmarked, self-navigated one & walkers/ runners are given really well detailed instructions at the start. There is no mass start & once you’ve arrived & clocked in with the registration team you can head straight out onto the course. The tendency is to follow others initially but I think it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the directions in case you, or the people you are following, become lost. If you follow the instructions closely though you shouldn’t get into trouble. Anyway, once we were out of Leatherhead we were quickly into the beautiful Surrey countryside & taking in the views of Denbies Vineyard & Box Hill. The course follows recognised footpaths & access land the whole time & being the Surrey Hills there are some pretty significant climbs in places. The course covers a great mix of terrain with well made paths, woodland, open farmland all getting under your feet (along with a lot of associated mud) The lovely route does help to take your mind of the tough bits I reckon! 10374977_10152465927336184_2146482759137456714_nSo to me & my compadres…many of you will know I’ve had a pretty rocky 18 months running-wise & last year was a wash-out really due to a bit of back surgery. I’ve been very steadily getting back into things & bar a parkrun the week before Christmas The Tanners was my first proper event in well over a year. That said, I walked almost all of it – & therefore very amiably Nick & Jon did the same & I’m very grateful for them sticking with me & keeping me company. We walked at a fair old pace throughout & when Jon highlighted that we only had “a parkrun to go” at the 17 mile point I thought I’d lead a jog to the finish, which was great to do – for me at least!

10660214_10152465911411184_5414332979138075175_nWe completed our little trek in just under 6 hours & I have to say I loved every minute of it. Just over an hour later Jan & Sue returned from their 30 mile jaunt…they would have been quicker but had got a bit lost adding a bit more distance to their event. All in all we had a great day out & on a personal level it was a perfect to my 2015 campaign! Roll on the Sussex LDWA’s South Downs Marathon


Country to Capital 45 2015 Race Report by Phillipe Ecaille

This is my first race report and my second ultra-race since October 2014 with I completed the Downslink race.

This race was organized by Go Beyond ( and was made of 2 parts: the first one going through some pretty countryside with a few hills and finally a 20 miles stretch along the Grand Union Canal.

1 The weather prediction kept changing throughout the week and by Friday it was going to be cold with some sun apparently. I packed with this weather in mind and headed for London where I stayed closed to Marylebone train station. I woke up in good time to discover the weather forecast had changed to snow for a couple of hours around the start time and maybe some rain followed by sunshine later on. Unfortunately I wasn’t really equipped for that sort of weather albeit some leggings in case it was too cold. Lesson 1: The weather could be changing so be prepared for it.

Heading out to Marylebone train station at 6:50am on Saturday, I am still amazed how busy London is even at silly o’clock in the morning on a cold week end. I got there in good time to see quite a few runners were already there and wondered if I had to execute a masonic handshake to be recognized as one too. Only 50 minutes later and we arrived in Wendover and it felt a lot colder than London – frost everywhere with the most amazing sunrise as a bonus. I headed into the pub to collect my number (101), chip time and drop my bag; I positioned myself right at the back of 300+ runners as I have no plan to get into the top 10 when suddenly we’re off.

2Running down the high street, it’s not long before we arrive at the first stile and the resulting queue. We go through a few of these over the next 8 miles actually and it forces me to stick to my plan. Indeed, I have a plan and I intend to follow it for the first time ever, slow (30 miles at 12min/mile minimum) until I reach the Grand Union Canal and then see what my body says for the last 13 miles. I am confident I will follow it through, having spectacularly lost the wheels on the Downs link with 15 miles to go; I have no intention to experience it again. Lesson 2: have a plan and stick to it.

It’s not long before the snow starts coming down and it feels like Christmas all over again (that’s me as 101).

3One very important point I haven’t mentioned yet is that the course is not marked – we were all given a course map booklet (8 pages) for navigation which we need to use to reach the end. The trickiest part is making sure we don’t get lost until we reach the Canal, after that it simply boils down to following the water albeit a left turn when we get to the “white bridge”. I decided very early on to take the role of a sheep and I happily followed everyone wherever they took me; it wasn’t long before my GPS says that we’re off course several times but somehow our little group always seems to make it back on track. Lesson 3: don’t be a sheep and do your own navigation.

The time passes by nicely, snow is replaced with some sunshine – the scenery is rather beautiful in this part of the world. Talking to a few people around me, I am pleasantly surprised by the number of first timers and I happily share my very short experience but also listen to these veterans who are running alongside us. They confirm my plan is the right one and I must stick to it.

First CP comes quickly after 8 miles and I just refill a bottle, take a slice of the GoBeyond fruit cake and remind myself that I must eat a few more slices at the next checkpoint. I don’t really feel the need to eat just yet and I plan to start fuelling properly from CP2 at mile 18. Everything is going well, the legs are ok, the little voice hasn’t woken up yet and the group of runners we were at the beginning is starting to get into their own pace until I find myself running alone. These are my favourite moments when I can think of stuff (in English), talk to the loved ones I miss or hum a few tunes (in French).

CP2 comes and goes but it’s not long before the humming noise of the M25 can be heard and I start to recognize a few places – this is also when I usually have a low point, between mile 15 & 20. My legs feel a bit tired, the little voice starts telling me to slow down or walk for a bit and I now can’t wait for CP3 which is perfectly positioned at mile 25, another bonus, it’s on the Canal! I decide to pop a few Shake33 gels down my throat as I simply cannot ingest any other gels these days.

One of my objectives was to apply fuelling strategy correctly, I usually wait too long and by the time I realize I need food it’s too late – nothing will go down, cramps start appearing and I kick myself for being so stupid. To this effect, I made some awesome tortillas and wrap them up in tin foil with a view to eat them at CP3. Well, opening my backpack I realize that they’ve been transformed into a mush so I bin the lot and revert back to my bag of sweet I prepared earlier: dried mango and chocolate coated raisins. I also take more of the GoBeyond fruit cake. Lesson 4: A sheet of tinfoil will not protect your delicious handmade tortillas when shaken for 25 miles.

4My lonely run ends just after CP3 when I catch up with Richard – he’s plodding along so I decide I should tag along for a while, have a chat and if we have no awkward silence, maybe run together for a while especially since my little voice keeps pestering me “it’s sunny, you’re on the canal, relax now and walk for a bit”. We get on so well that we end up running all the way to the end but more to come on that… On the way we are also joined by Nichola who’s running her first ultra and yes we will finish the race together. Lesson 5: Talk to people, they’re here for the same reason as you.

5I learn that Richard is from Eastbourne and has done a few ultras and marathons around Sussex; his next challenge is the GUCR, 145 miles with a time limit of 45 hours. Nichola is from Bath and going to run the MDS in 2 months and this race is her longest run. I start to think that I really need to crank up my madness level a few notches here, I feel totally boring with my 2015 plan. I obviously have to answer the “how did you come to England?” question and I am quite happy to share this story for the millionth time. As the miles are passing by, it becomes obvious that we are more than just 3 runners; we are a team by now, checking on each other, making sure we’re going to make it to end together. The Grand Union Canal is only grand in the name as it is littered beyond belief with rubbish everywhere. We therefore spend our time using the bridges, boats, people, bushes, gas tower, street lights, and buildings for a 20 miles fartlek run. Lesson 6: supporting each other’s works; you’ll get to the end quicker.

Nichola’s friend suddenly appears out of nowhere and tells us we only have 2 miles to go. We make it in 09:31; a final group photo and I have just time for a cup of tea, 10 sausage rolls and a change of clothes at Paddington station before heading home with my first bling of the year – this one is for my wife.


Sussex Masters Cross Country

On Saturday 17th January, Jan, Sally and Janet broke new (muddy) ground for BHR by taking part in the Sussex Masters cross country championship at Lancing. We made up a ladies team in the over 45’s age category, which it turned out is a very competitive age group. The weather was quite nasty just before the race but turned sunny for our 4 mile effort through the mud and up the hill twice. Despite the course being familiar to most, everyone I spoke to found it unexpectedly hard – I guess it’s best in those situations to realise that most of the field want to give up running too so you might as well tough it out. Anyway, the company of 60 women over 35 and an even greater number of Masters men – slow as well as fast – made this a more friendly event than the usual all ages cross country series. I’m very proud that we achieved 7th out of 9 in our age group, following Arena 80 B (Yes! There were dozens of them…). At least two pals from Clair Park Run also did well – Marion Hemsworth looked effortless (despite lack of shoe grip) and Paul Cousens (maker of nice flapjack) so nearly succeeded in gaining the over 50’s title.


Dark Star Ultra by Jonathon Lelliott……the musings of a first timer.

Sunday 25th January 2015 must go down on the calendar of Burgess Hill Runners (the one with all the half naked people in it!) as some sort of record. Over sixty club members headed down to the second West Sussex Fun Run League event of 2015, at Worthing seafront. I only wish I had checked the calendar a few months ago, before I submitted my entry for the DarkStar Ultra Marathon, the events were to clash. I wasn’t prepared to forgo the twenty seven quid entry fee for the longer event and besides, it was to fit in as part of an overall plan for my spring marathon hopes. The fact you get free beer at the finish had nothing whatsoever to do with it either!

10410642_10152649534613870_5957705292945416421_n An ultra marathon is, by definition, any running event which exceeds the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles. The DarkStar just manages this at somewhere in the region of 28.5, give or take. And then there’s the mud. The course starts and finishes at the Sea Scout hut, adjacent to the Adur Activity Centre at Shoreham. It winds it’s way up the east side of the River Adur before picking up the Downslink path, continuing north to the disused railway station at West Grinstead, just to the north of the A272. In places it’s very muddy and off road shoes and sure footed legs are imperative. At the turn around point the course then returns on the same paths, until you are required to cross the river via a footbridge and head the remainder of the way back to the finish line on the west side of the Adur.

10420190_10152649534543870_8303415720239491027_n I have not completed a trail ultra marathon. In fact, I have never completed any ultramarathon. Even my ‘normal’ marathon record is hardly inspiring. 1982: Beachy Head Marathon (in the days when it was known as The Seven Sisters Marathon. 1993: The Harrow Kodak Marathon where I ran a respectable time despite two unscheduled errrr, ‘comfort stops’. And somewhere between these two events I attempted to run South Downs Way Race, in the days when it was ‘only’ 80 miles. I failed, by pulling out at 53 miles. (I reached Ditchling Beacon and could almost see my house, smell the fish and chips and taste the beer!) I recorded my only DNF in a running event. Maybe it’s haunted me ever since? I had some ghosts to lay to rest, and a calf injury that I was to nurse around the course. Every runner I know has blamed performance problems on old injuries and today was not going to be an exception. Apart from the fact it wasn’t an old injury, it was a fairly new one, twenty five days to be precise, a calf strain picked up at the New Years Day race. But I was on the mend. Let’s just see how it goes. And so, after the safety briefing was completed, about 100 competitors headed outside to the start line for a 9 o’clock ‘gun’. I say ‘start line’ but what i meant was the bit of road next to the car park barrier. This ultra running is real hi tech! None of your fancy chip timing and medals nonsense here. Anyhow, I looked intently at my fellow competitors, a swarthy mix of bearded old timers who looked like they could eat 28 miles for breakfast, then run home; young racing snake types and some incredibly fit looking ladies…..and I mean fit in the proper sense of the word! What was I doing here? I could’ve been pottering along the seafront at Worthing instead. I was nervous, evidenced by the fact I’d already visited the facilities three times, not made any easier by the ubiquitous queue for the Gents. C’mon Jonathan, get a grip. The gun went off and……err, no, it didn’t. There’s no gun to speak of at the start. No sudden surge triggered by a load explosion in the bore of a small calibre starting pistol. Nope. There’s a cow bell. Yup, that’s right, a cow bell. It’s brilliant. And as half the field couldn’t hear it being dinged or donged, the ladies and gents of the 2015 DarkStar Ultra just told each other “yeah, we’re off now…” and away we went.

My race plan was simple, get to the finish and don’t die doing it. All the internet research, all the you tube clips and all the advice I’d managed to glean from real ultra runners pretty much followed the same thread. Don’t race, survive. If I could get to halfway with a smile on my face, I’d be happy. The calf injury had habitually flared up at seven miles, and halfway in today’s little jaunt was twice that. I certainly didn’t like the idea of coming to a grinding halt in the middle of nowhere with a long and painful walk to one of the aid stations.

So I followed the plan of taking things easy and was soon happily jogging along with fellow Burgess Hill Runners Andy Baillie and Darren Chilcott. My initial nerves now gave way to anxiety. It seemed that everyone around me was running with some form of backpack water carrier. All I had were two small bottles of electrolyte fluid and several small bags of Jelly Tots! I planned to drink these and eat every half hour, without fail. Well, I soon found out my first mistake. Ultra runner aficionados eat Jelly Babies, not Jelly Tots. When cold, just pulled out of your running jacket pocket, the latter are akin to small, sugary bullets and the mere act of chewing them (I wanted to say masticate, but that’s just setting myself up for James Sorbie’s double entendres!) is nothing short of exhausting in itself! What to do. Next packet, down the shorts! At this point it should be noted that no Jelly Tots warmed up using this method were shared with any other competitors! It worked though…. Stretching my legs out on the initial easy bit of the course was fine but then came the first proper muddy section. We were fortunate that the preceding night had been so cold and the top layer of mud was still frozen for the most part. Nonetheless animal hooves had taken their toll and the ground was very rutted and uneven. I wasn’t sure my calf was going to like this but an hour into the day all was well. I was really beginning to enjoy this event. So, I could describe every twist and turn of the course, but c’mon, it was twenty eight miles, we’d be here forever and my dinner won’t cook itself! So instead, my highlights: The cowbell. The amazing camaraderie between runners. Long races are generally run at slower speeds, especially for us mere mortals and I guess that gives you more time to chat with fellow runners, at least until things start getting really tough…..and they did! Thawing my Jelly Tots! (I know, easily pleased). Seeing Burgess Hill Runners Paul Sargent simply storming along the Downslink Path on his way back and very much in the lead, and still smiling. Cheers for the high five fella! The brilliant support and food/drink at the six aid stations. Top job of the day has to go to the halfway point station, staffed so enthusiastically by our very own BHR contingent including Paula Ridley, Helen Pratt and Steve Roberts.

10952589_10204351674286355_574479322224837426_n10931182_10204351273356332_45374642033780743_n10690132_10204351281076525_8463328908636640905_n Meeting my son Chris at the halfway point. Chris lives over near Chichester and made my day by volunteering to come over and cheer me on. It’s a far cry from the many hundreds of races he had to endure as a child when I was a bit keen on this running malarkey, but at least he didn’t have to turn up in a pushchair this time! Smiles, everywhere. Spectators, competitors, members of the public. The beautiful sunny weather helped too. Getting to one hour, then two, then three and my calf behaving. Four days ago I’d been at the physios and I had had my right calf taped. This seemed to help, together with the special compression socks to give calf support on both legs. Top hilarity moment was when I reached Aid Station number 5 at 22 miles. I had stopped for food and drink. Bananas and Cola seemed to be working well for me. I’d long since eaten all the Jelly Tots and had foolishly forgotten to restock at the halfway point where I had some supplies stashed. The happy, if a little cold, helpers at this point had a pop up type gazebo set up on the riverside pathway, together with the now familiar ‘car boot sale’ type table laden with all manner of proven runners fayre. I was happily scoffing my face with food and drink, trying to take as little time as possible but wary of the need to refuel sufficiently. I was also taking this opportunity to look ahead and behind me on the course to see who was likely to be next to pass this ageing has been runner!  Great, no one in sight for a good way back. Think I’ll have another cup of Cola. And it was at this point the breeze suddenly picked up, from ‘gentle’ to ‘I’ll have that gazebo’ strength! The whole thing lifted off from the ground, akin to anything Houston could offer and sailed majestically towards the river. I tried to help, honestly I did. But my legs refused to cooperate as requested. And besides, there was a damn great slope down to the waters edge and I had that sudden ‘I don’t want to be another statistic’ moment! So I looked on in awe as the woman who had until that point been my Cola providing saviour launched herself after the (rather expensive looking, and now very muddy) tent! It landed three feet from the water, upside down in mud and cow pats. IF you see a cheap gazebo on eBay this coming week……don’t bother! The team at the checkpoint took the very wise decision to pack it up and I was sent on my way, although by now I had another runner close behind and chomping at my heels. By the time I reached Upper Beeding at 23.5 miles my feet were sore.i don’t mean sore ‘oh, I’ve been on my feet all day, time for a cuppa’ sore. I mean full on screaming sore, every step was now seriously uncomfortable. It felt as though I was running on hot coals. The mud didn’t help and if I could’ve got away with it I’d like to have run back along the tarmac roads! I know that probably sounds a bit contradictory but the slow pace of running on/through sticky mud during such a long event means each footfall spends more time in contact with the ground. The running ‘form’ goes out of the window and I had to start walking some short sections. Not too proud to admit that either, hey, I’m a learner at this! The really difficult bit was the transition from the walk to the jog, mentally and physically. In fact, so much so that I opted to just keep jogging and just grin and bear the foot pain. I had managed to pass several people on the way up the course but now I found myself being overhauled by one or two and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. That ‘tuck in behind them’ technique? Just doesn’t work when there’s not much left in the tank. Just survive. Photographer for the day was the Clubs Mr Lavis. Mrs Lavis was operating as the event ‘sweeper’, the runner deliberately at the tail of the race as a safety measure. As I ran back down the course our paths crossed as the very last runner had just reached the Downslink Path (about 10.5 miles for her, 18 miles for me, to give you some idea). I couldn’t help picturing Jan in my minds eye as some athletic form of the Grim Reaper! Even the man at the safety briefing had said to the gathered hordes, “if Jan Lavis catches you, touches you on the shoulder, you’re out!” Sadly I later learnt this last competitor Jan had been shepherding at this point was pulled out of the race just a couple of miles further on, in tears due to the cut off time limits in place. It was great to see Jon at several points around the course, even if it did mean doing that thing runners do when they see a camera pointing at them! Speed up. Running form check. Smile! That said, and I’ve yet to see the pictures, I don’t think it made any difference today, at least, not for me.

16339224936_202674ba1a_o16365643535_e63aa6f4c4_o Running the last few miles down past the eyesore that is the old cement works and then the beautiful Lancing College I knew that at the very least I was going to finish this one. Ok, it may not have been a fast day for me, but I had my imaginary L plates on and I was soon to be throwing them away and joining the ranks of the ultra running fraternity. Well, just about. I had almost buried the memory of that Did Not Finish result many years ago. But my feet STILL hurt. A lot. Under the A27, with it’s noise and frantic people all blissfully unaware of the pain beneath them. Pain, but also a building sense of elation. I could actually see the finish now and I was running on ground I knew well, having spent many years based down at the airport. However, there was still a sting in the tail of this race…. The very last section of the course is along the crooked, awkwardly sloping slabs that form the pathway towards the finish. Of course, they are of a size that doesn’t help your stride length, being neither one thing, nor the other. But I was almost there. I was almost an ultra runner. And my feet still hurt! A final pass under the railway line, a left and a right turn and there was the finish line. Compared to many events some might say it’s rather an anticlimax. A couple of people with time sheets and a clipboard, a ripple of applause from a few hardy souls and no medal. Yes, that’s right, no medal. And that seems to sum up the whole ‘ultra experience’ for me. People running, just for the love of running. No medals. No fanfare. No glitz and glamour. ….but there was a bottle of Dark Star beer at the end…..


Cheers Jonathan Lelliott (ultra runner 😉  )


Event organised by Sussex Trail Events


Aid Station 1: Bramber Foot Bridge –  5.3 miles….not the Road Bridge at Bramber.
Aid Station 2: Star Road Industrial Estate – Partridge Green 11.5 miles
Aid Station 3: West Grinstead Station – 14 miles (turn around point)
Aid Station 4 Star Road Industrial Estate – Partridge Green – 16.5 miles
Aid Station 5: Bramber Foot Bridge – 22 miles Aid Station 6 Cuckoo Corner – 25 miles


Rosebud, Victoria 10km by Kevin Walker


Today was Australia Day, celebrating the landing of the first fleet in Port Jackson 1788. Very much like the US July 4th… Anyways, us crazy runners have a fun run in the State of Victoria , a small town called Rosebud runs a 5km and a 10km. Rosebud is a coastal town on the bay of Melbourne, unusually we park at the finish and get a bus to the start, 10km up the coast at the aptly named Safety beach. It’s a road race on closed roads for the first 3km and then it switches to the coastal path leading to Rosebud. Having been a bit slack with running since November ( I’m in Australia on an extended holiday ) I decided to play safe and aim for a 1hour 10km, or a 6kph pace. As I got into the run, I felt good and increased pace, the 5km run started at 30 minutes after the 10k start, I passed the start at 28 minutes and was 300 metres away from them when the first 5k runners flew past me as if I was standing still. Shortly after, the route went back into trails, running through a holiday caravan park, where the campers took great delight in soaking us with water pistols , they were also handing out food and drink, but with only 2k to go, I pushed on. Crossed the line with a sprint finish and a time of 58:14. Excellent run and well organised, as its Australia and summer , temps can reach 40°c , multiple water stops all the way round, glad it was only 21°c today!

10419970_10152723594789611_992421673042100238_n —————————————————————————————

Coaches Corner

IJ DSC_2452

This month we look at the subjects of Warm Up and Pace. These are important areas to consider together as they are intrinsically linked. Get one or both wrong and it will have an adverse effect on your training and racing.

Warm Up

By Coach Ian Jones

The following is taken from the “Warm Up” section of the training area of the BHR website. Click here – Warm Up.

We recognise that some sort of pre-race warming up is a good thing because it helps us perform better and maybe prevents us from pulling muscles too. But how much warming up should we do, what is too much or too little or even why bother and save our energy for the race instead? This article is intended for when preparing your body for maximal race efforts lasting between 15 – 60 min

Why bother warming up?

When baking a cake, the cake mixture goes into a pre-heated oven otherwise the cake remains flat during cooking time. The similarity of warming up an oven applies to our own bodies too because we have 3 main energy systems that need to be primed first before they work at their best optimum levels. Without those energy systems primed, we carry the ‘cold oven’ burden too, throughout the race and our maximal race performance remains flat. Our 3 main energy systems are;

  1. Alactic or ATP-CP system – rapid pure energy delivered very quickly and we store only about 15 – 30 seconds worth. Great for those fast race starts.
  2. Anaerobic  system – supplies energy when available oxygen capacity is exceeded, i.e. can make energy when oxygen supply is insufficient against demand. Great for tackling a hard hill or those end-of-race kicks.
  3. Aerobic  system – the long-duration energy system. Great for cruising along at a good tempo.

How long does it take to warm-up these systems?

It takes 25 minutes in total to warm-up and prime, each of the energy systems including general mobilisation. Race start; Minus 30-35 min

  • 5 min easy (Aerobic)
    • Use this time to prepare mentally into ‘the zone’. Total focus with no conversations; think about your race plan and effort that’s going to be needed.
  • 5 min mobilisation exercises
  • 8 min easy progressive to very hard (Aerobic – Anaerobic)
    • Take 50-100ml of energy drink after
  • 2 min easy (Aerobic)
  • 2 min easy to include 3 x 6sec sprints (Alactic)
  • 3 min easy (Aerobic)
    • Take 50ml of energy drink or water
    • Remove warming up top in cool weather
    • Move towards start area

Race start; Minus 5 min

  • Be at the start line.

So what about warming up for longer races?

Events like half marathon and marathon it’s not as critical to be primed for performance from the gun like it is for shorter races. Some adjustments need to be made to this warm-up routine.

For the half-marathon, perform the same routine but without the sprints and recovery (21 min total). Take 100ml more energy drink afterwards.

For the marathon, the same starting aerobic and mobilisation exercises will be sufficient.


By Coach Jan Lavis

The below is an extract from the “Pace” section of the training area of the BHR website. It links in well with the above article. You will find more detail about pace and training paces on the website. Click here for information on Pace.

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

This is your perceived effort and is an easy way to judge how hard you are working. Your effort is the most important thing, not the pace/speed. Imagine a scale of 1-10, 1 is on the couch watching TV at home and 10 is running as fast as you can. The club coaches deliver sessions that are designed to target specific thresholds. Perform these workouts too fast or too slow for your own current fitness level and you miss out on the intended benefit.

Warm Up – Easy jog just to ease you in and out of workouts. Usually 10/15 minutes in duration so you can gently warm your body temperature up, get the blood flowing and prepare your mind for the activity ahead. Very easy normal chit chat. RPE 1-2

Easy or Recovery Effort – These runs allow you to see improvement without breaking down. These should feel very easy and relaxed. Enjoy the scenery. Breathe easy and you should be capable of holding a conversation. RPE 3-4

Steady Effort -These runs build your aerobic base that acts as the foundation for the rest of your training. Conversations are possible in sentences rather than a long gossip. The one thing with these runs is not to go too slowly. While running at this effort level, you are improving your Aerobic Threshold and it will effectively represent your Marathon Pace. RPE 5-6

Tempo Effort – The key for you to stretch your physical boundaries. These are controlled discomfort. They require concentration. You can utter a word or two but no more. As you get fitter and stronger you will constantly push your boundaries on these runs. They never get easy you just get faster and cover more distance. While running at this effort level, you are improving your Lactate Threshold (The point at which your body is happily removing lactic acid at the same rate that you are producing it).  It is the pace / effort level you can maintain for about an hour. Long intervals at this effort level are also useful as a way to increase the overall duration. This pace is approximately 10-15% slower than Fast Effort (below) so it’s quite subtle and important not to run this effort too fast. RPE 7-8

Fast Effort – No need for a description. While running at this effort level, you will be improving your Alactic Threshold (The point at which your body is unable to remove the lactic acid quite as quickly as you are producing it). Training at this level will involve maintaining the effort for a much shorter duration and/or shorter reps with longer recoveries in between.  No talking.  RPE 9-10


Junior Academy Update by Bryony Monnery


Now well into the spring term the junior academy is going strong with once again its maximum capacity of members filled, all of which are members returning term upon term and having to manage an ever growing waiting list. This term see’s the introduction of the British Athletics Academy award scheme which will allow the children to have all their individual achievements recognised and progress highlighted. With this new structured program in place all the children are currently working super hard to try and achieve the next level on the awards scale by the end of term which will see them presented with a British Athletics Academy graded badge to have sewn on their kit. The term will continue to be a busy one with teams also competing in the Lancing sports hall meet on 7th February, to date the children have done us proud showing great team spirit and good sportsmanship in the previous two meets we have attended as a club. The support of the club is essential to the success of the junior academy and thanks goes out to those who regularly give up their time to help us out, if anyone else is interested in getting involved with the academy and can offer help in any form then please do contact Bryony at monnery@talktalk.


Learn to Run

Burgess Hill Runners, in partnership with Mid-Sussex District Council, will be offering a new ‘Learn to Run’ 10-week course from Wednesday 11th February. The course will be aimed at absolute beginner runners. Starting with an initial induction session, participants will gently increase exercise across the 10 weeks, so that, by the end, they can jog a whole 5km. They will then have the opportunity of joining the club, if they wish, at a reduced rate. Sessions will be supported by Run England qualified leaders who have lots of experience of helping people new to running. The whole course costs only £15 & sessions will run from 6.30 – 7.15 every Wednesday from Burgess Hill School for Girls on Keymer Road, Burgess Hill. If you are interested and would like more details please contact Tel: 07876 898045.

Come on, make this your goal for 2015!


parkrun Corner by Neil Dawson

We were due to stage 5 parkruns in Clair Park in January, but due to the icy weather on the 17th, he had to cancel for the first time in 79 events. That’s a pretty good strike rate, given that this is our 2nd winter and given the nature of our course.

10947286_10152663891068870_133600239894489513_nJay and Georgia pointing out the big patch of ice behind the cricket nets.

The first parkrun of the year saw 93 runners in Clair Park, 15 of whom were Burgess Hill Runners. To start the New Year, there were also a couple of pieces of long distance parkrun tourism, with Amy Hulley completing the Wakefield Thornes event in 26.07. However, I guess that the longest distance travelled by a Burgess Hill Runner to complete a parkrun must be for Kevin Walker’s appearance at the Mornington Peninsula parkrun in Australia. During his visit to Australia Kevin has also run at Frog Hollow and Berwick Springs parkruns, as well as fitting in a volunteer session as well. Nice work Kevin. BHR were also represented at Tilgate and Preston Park.

kevinOn the 10th January 18 BHR athletes took part in 4 different Sussex parkruns. In Clair Park we had a bumper turnout of 136 runners. James Sorbie and Hannah Watkins headed down to Preston Park where James went well under 20 minutes. Paula Ridley is flirting with the sub 29 minute mark at Preston Park and Hove.

On the 17th, with no event taking place in Clair Park, we were represented at Tilgate, Preston Park and Hove. Andrew Bishop made a welcome return to parkrun at Hove Park where a whopping 533 runners took part. Preston Park also had a record attendance of 388 runners for the event. The January fitness binge is certainly alive and well.

The 23rd January saw 106 runners in Clair Park on a cold and crisp morning. There were 13 BHR’s in attendance. Notable performances included Hannah Watkins breaching the 29 minute barrier (by 15 seconds), which has been a target for a while now. Elsewhere Jon and Jan Lavis headed down to Hove parkrun and Carole Mills and Sue Lyle were to be seen at Tilgate which is their regular haunt. Finally Kevin Walker carried on his Australia odyssey with another trip to Frog Hollow parkrun.

The final Clair parkrun of the month saw us wake up to a bit of snow and ice.  The fear that we would have to cancel again soon subsided when we got to the park and there was no chance that the event was in jeopardy. 84 people completed the course, including a very cold tail runner, Dave Woodhouse, who chose to wear shorts to bring the field home on the first day that it has ever snowed during our parkrun. Again, we had runners at Hove parkrun and Tilgate, as well as Kevin at Frog Hollow in Australia.

1517702_10152659380743870_1499887019419235309_nWe have a lot of BHR athletes who are homing in on their 50 run milestone t-shirts at the moment. With the new t-shirt sponsors now in place, we hope that the t-shirt will not be too long arriving after the milestone is reached. The other fantastic news that we received from parkrun this month is that they will begin to present t-shirts to volunteers who have volunteered 25 times or more. This is a great addition to the parkrun world and is a lovely way to recognise the priceless contribution of the people who give up their time every week. Apart from Nick and myself, Jay and Caz have definitely past the 25 volunteer mark. I’m pretty sure that Helen is there as well. I also imagine that Theresa Chalk and Ann Savidge are both getting pretty close now as well.

vol tWe have now had 8284 people cross the line at Clair parkrun.  1664 different people have completed our course and collectively we have covered 41,420 km.

Thank you to everyone, runners and volunteers #loveparkrun

Neil and the Clair parkrun team.


Member of the Month – Linda Russell

10389429_10202698405795676_3531753177409028403_nLinda has been a member of Burgess Hill Runners since 2009 when she joined the beginners group. Almost 18 months after joining the club Linda completed the Brighton Marathon and has gone on to complete a further 4 marathons. Linda also became a LiRF (Leader in Running Fitness) in 2014. We decided to ask her a few questions about running and the other things:

When did you start running? Just over 5 years ago

Why do you run? To keep fit

What is the best piece of advise you have ever received? Maintain strong core muscles and the rest of your running will fall into place

What is the best piece of advise you would give? Remember to keep smiling – running is fun

When was the first moment that you felt like a runner? Completing Brighton Marathon 2011

What was your first ever race? Worthing Lido Fun Run 2011

What is your first ever memory of athletics? School sports day

What is your favourite race that you watched on TV? Kelly Holmes winning gold in both 800 and 1500 metres in Athens Olympics 2004

Who is your favourite athlete and why? Kelly Holmes for sheer determination and never giving up on pursuing her goal

What is your biggest running achievement? To date, achieving a sub 2 hour time for a half marathon

What is the toughest race you have ever done? Beachy Head Marathon

10574395_10152453302933870_7438056698761931147_nWhere is the best pace you have ever run? Virgin London Marathon 2014

What is your favourite WSFRL race? Littlehampton Beach run

Rain or shine? Shine

Hill or flat? Flat

Alone or in a group? Group

Garmin Connect or Strava? Garmin Connect

With or without music? With

Take That or 1 Direction? Ooooooh definitely Gary Barlow !

Beetroot or Brussel Sprouts? Beetroot

What is your favourite piece of kit? Race number

What is your favourite post race treat? Large glass of wine or two

10849845_10203021682247461_3261614119970190618_nWhat is your favourite training session? Lewes Track

Something you may not know about Linda………

Nearly drowning whilst on holiday in Italy as an 8 year old made me realise she needed to learn to swim.


Want to Contribute?

Please remember this is your newsletter, so if you want to do a race report, or let your fellow members know about something just email either:-

Alan Fry –


Neil Dawson –


Other Recent Photos

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