Newsletter – March 2015

Another month goes by and thank you once again for everyone who has contributed this month. It seems that there weren’t quite as many races this month, but have a read of the reviews and put some dates in the diary for next year!


A few confirmed dates for your diary!

Hopefully you will all be aware by now that the combined AGM/Award night is on Thursday 19th March starting at 19.30. The event was a great evening last year and is once again being held at The Hassocks Hotel. Please make every effort to attend as we need to ensure the AGM part of the evening is in accordance with our constitution, which requires a certain amount of members in attendance. The night will also see the annual awards being presented. During the event a Curry will be served (Meat & Vegetarian) which is free!!!!!!

As the Marathon session is nearly upon us, two of the regular social events have also been confirmed. The Marathon Breakfast is once again being hosted By Kim & Chris Gow (Thank you!) on Saturday 28th March . This event raises moneyfor those who are running for a charity in a marathon, so please come along and help make it a special day! (You don’t have to be running a marathon to attend!) and the Marathon meal, which recognises anyone that ran a marathon and or ran their first! – again you don’t need to have taken part in a marathon to come along – there were a few sore heads after this event last year! Due to the friendly welcome we received last year we are returning to the Emperor Chinese Restaurant in Burgess Hill on Wednesday 29th April at 19.30

Please keep an eye out for more details on either Google groups or Facebook.


The Eliminator – review by Hannah Watkins


The Eliminator Race is a natural obstacle course which takes place in the midst of the coldest months. There is a choice of 3 distances starting with a 5 miler, then a 10 miler and lastly a 26.2 miler for the individuals who really want to test themselves. The race throws you straight into a downhill start and then quickly followed by a slow and long hill climb. This is perfect to get you warm as the next part of submersion into a pond that is only just above freezing temperatures is sure to cool you off. An interesting numbing sensation from waist down follows, but once on the move it slowly subsides. The rest of the course throws plenty of obstacles in the way of mud and spending most of the downhill parts sliding is always fun. A sigh of relief comes when you see the finish at the top of yet another hill, little did we realise that there would be a series of icy baths that separates us from finishing. Crossing the line you are awarded with a lovely medal and t-shirt and the opportunity to wrap up in a space blanket. If this is your kind of madness, be sure to pencil this in your diaries for next year.


WSFRL Valentine’s 5 Mile – reviewed by Tracy Brownings

11001582_10152755500497983_4321276135457778239_oWSFRL – St Valentines day (well the day after) massacre.

Lulled into a false sense of security by the Worthing Lido 4 and the thrill of wearing a running club vest again I boldly replied to Mr Wadey that I’d give the Horsham run a whirl. Bearing in mind that at this point 4 miles was the furthest I’d tackled and that I’d only ever run on tarmac, some would say this was a tad foolish?

Race day dawned, dry, hurrah and I set off for Horsham trying to ignore the nagging doubt about the info that “it might be muddy”! How muddy and where the heck is Horsham? I arrived safely warmed up with the lovely friendly Theresa and Ann and decided to interpret butterflies as excitement and we were off.

10998034_10152755478862983_8221769536237056741_oA nice start along a country lane and an innocent turn right into the woods turned into mud fest! Oh my goodness I don’t think I’d have normally tackled terrain like this in wellies! Slippery, deep, heavy, really heavy and endless, soggy and just urghh. Early lessons – that dry patch your leaping towards actually is knee deep, steadying yourself on a holly bush is not to be recommended, the splits is painful and fraught with ending up completely face down in it!

What can I say though? It was honestly so much fun! I know it’s sounds mad doesn’t it? But I’ve not got that dirty since I was about aged 8! The breather gained whilst waiting to cross the stile at almost mile two was a good thing and even though the weight of my trainers felt like a toddler on each foot at times I can totally recommend it and will definitely be back next year. That’s if I’ve managed to get the mud out of my socks by then. Plus I can now proudly say I can run (slip, slide, trudge) 5 miles, brilliant.


Kenley Aerodrome 10km reviewed by Helen Dumbbell Carr


I really enjoyed taking part in the Kenley Aerodrome 10k on Sunday 22nd Feb – 3 x 3km laps + 1km to the finish. Being held on an airfield (home of the Surrey Hill Gliding Club) this race is on tarmac and almost completely flat, if rather exposed up there on top of the North Downs. It’s a low key event – pick up number on the day, no chip timing, no motivational bands or massage tents, quite a contrast to other events happening on that day (!). Facilities were pretty limited – a couple of loos in the Gliding Club’s shipping container, but the essentials were covered – water station part way round, so passed it 3 times. The field of entrants was very mixed – all ages, a couple of dogs and a buggy-pushing runner, so that atmosphere was informal. The aerodrome is now part of Kenley Common, a great community facility, with WW2 memorials and a small museum over the road – it’s well used by local families, hence there was lots of support, other runners and users of the Common but there were no problems with the race being held at the same time – I think there were about 300 entrants.

There were a few other representatives from Sussex clubs taking part – Fittleworth Flyers and Lingfield were represented and a few runners from further away – Portsmouth and Cambridge – had made the trip to Surrey, so the event seems to be well thought of.

I haven’t seen any results yet and the only disappointment was the finishers medal (precious to me, as it’s my first since my injury) it doesn’t even have the year inscribed on it, let alone the event name, just the MCC Promotions logo. I would definitely recommend this event if you prefer the smaller races and are looking for a non-XC or non-trail run early in the year.


Brighton Half Marathon – review by Ann Savidge


It was a bit of an early, cold start on the morning of the half marathon. My hubby Andrew had kindly offered to drive us girls down to Brighton to save us having to find a parking space. Theresa duly arrived at around 7.25am and we set off for the London Road to pick up Claire and Helen.  Andrew dropped us off by the aquarium and we walked along a very frosty/icy Madeira Drive towards the race start. The first stop as always for us ladies is the loo! Was it my imagination or were there extra portaloos this year? After leaving our bags at the bag drop (quite well organised as usual) we set offfor a warm up jog which took us up to around 10 minutes before race start. The blue shirts of the Burgess Hill Runners seemed to be everywhere, including one being held aloft by part of the ‘Burgess Hill Supporters Club’, Helen, Leanne and Paula – a very welcome sight.

Then we were off – it took us, from where we started, ten minutes to get to the start line. The weather was perfect for running and as we climbed the only up hill stretch towards Ovingdean, there was a crisp wind blowing that I for one appreciated. I also spotted our resident club photographers, Caz and Jon on the way up the hill and also on the way down. Unfortunately, another spot that was less welcome – a lady with I think it’s called ‘runners trots’ who seemed to be totally oblivious until asked if she was ok by a fellow runner. She stopped and I didn’t see her again. My heart went out to her, after all it could happen to any of us.

10997210_10152771124492983_7487439928447766248_oAs I reached the pier, I saw the first of our club runners nearly finishing their race, huge respect!

More welcome support form Marie and John who were marshalling along the road towards the King Alfred Leisure Centre, for me the boring bit of the race. A sigh of relief when I reached Hove Lagoon as in my head I remembered a post from Neil I believe, saying something like ‘only one Parkrun left at this stage!’ I have to say, it felt like the longest Parkrun ever. Lovely to see though, Steve’s smiley face around the 10 mile ish mark.

10275603_10152771143612983_8588957466897621104_oWhen I crossed the finish line I was handed a bottle of water but somehow missed out on the fashion accessory of the day, a foil blanket. By the time I had picked up my 25th anniversary ‘bling’ and my goody bag I couldn’t stop shaking, I was so cold. The wind had picked up and the day had turned decidedly chilly.

As we all waited in a bus shelter out of the wind for Andrew to pick us up, we looked back on a day of highs and lows and on the whole I think we were very happy. The day produced an armload of PB’s for our club thanks to our brilliant coaches, we couldn’t do it without you!


Eastbourne Half Marathon – reviewed by Jon Lavis


Eastbourne Half Marathon continues to manage to retain its small event atmosphere, despite it attracting nearly 1400 entrants in 2015. Unfortunately for me it nearly always clashes with the Steyning Stinger and the draw of the trails and the free breakfast normally wins. However this year, as part of my Marathon training Eastbourne won.

I have done the race before and as a fairly slowish runner it’s an attractive course. The start is in Princes Park, it’s fairly unassuming, a start and finish arch, a bit of red and white tape, a couple of marquees and the statutory row of porta loos. The whole start pen, although marked at expected time intervals is only about 100m long and entrance is via the goalposts or just ducking under the tape! The only acknowledgement of modern technology is the chip timing.

From the start it’s straight out across the playing field and onto the seafront where there are full road closures. The one and only hill is at about 3 miles heading towards Beachy Head and once you reach the top it’s all downhill to the seafront esplanade. There follows a straight flat run along the seafront to the harbour. Fortunately this year the sun was out and the wind behind so there was plenty of support. Once into the harbour complex the course winds its way round the residential streets before entering the harbour area itself. Negotiating the tight turns and metal footbridges can be tricky but the atmosphere is actually quite special. The course then returns to the seafront and eventually back into the Princes Park Start/Finish area. There you get a fairly decent bit of bling and help yourself to chocolate bars and bananas.

The course is well Marshalled and benefits from full road closures. I would thoroughly recommend this as a first Half Marathon as the atmosphere is friendly, it’s low key and I pretty much guarantee you won’t be anywhere near last. My only caveat is that if the weather is bad and the wind is in the other direction it is a whole different event!

So how did my race go? I had a plan, I knew on paper what I could achieve based on recent results. Despite running upwards of 25 half marathons I had never broken the 2hr barrier. Actually it went pretty much to plan, started a bit fast, slowed a bit on the big hill, made up for it by legging it down to the seafront where I caught up with the sub 2hr pacer, managed to hang onto him all the way to the end of the harbour section and then dug deep and crossed the line in 1:59:03 – job done, new PB!

So will I do Eastbourne again next year? Hell no, it’s back to the trails and the free cooked breakfast.



Steyning Stinger Half & Full Marathon – reviewed by Linda Russell


On Sunday 1st March I joined a group of other BHR members at Steyning Grammar School to take part in the Steyning Stinger Half Marathon. This is a challenging off road course across the South Downs that includes two ‘stingers’.

It was clear from the outset that this was a well organised event with ample car parking close to the registration point, clear loudspeaker announcements and very efficient volunteers taking details and handing out race numbers.

The start of the race, unlike most, is very relaxed as the start times are staggered so no hanging around nervously with hundreds of other runners waiting for the start gun to go off. I set off with a few other BH runners and it was immediately clear that the torrential rain from the day before meant this was going to be a mudfest. Within the first few yards we were faced with many large puddles of water, some of which were quite deep and just so much mud that it took all your efforts just to stay upright a lot of the time. I wasn’t wearing trail shoes, but to be honest even if I had been I’m not sure it would have made much difference as everyone, regardless of type of trainer, seemed to be struggling as much.

Myself and my running buddies for the day, Marie Carey and Hannah Watkins quickly settled into our running stride. I use the word ‘running’ but actually for much of the race we were slipping and sliding our way around the course and grabbing hold of any tree, fence or person that happened to be nearby in order to remain on two feet.

Before long we were heading towards the first stinger and as we chatted, laughed and joked our way

upwards we sighed with relief when we eventually got to the top. Only to realise a mile or so on that we hadn’t yet reached that first stinger, this had been just a little taster. The first stinger was brutal, so steep and slippery with the mud trying to suction off our trainers with every step .The second stinger just seemed to go on and on for ever. However, despite the tough terrain, and the icy cold wind that tore into our skin, once we reached the top we were rewarded with the most stunning views and breathtaking scenery that took our breath away and more than made up for the hard efforts.

After three long hours we eventually started our descent which meant we were on our way towards the finish. Even so, going downhill proved just as treacherous with uneven ground and obstacles such as exposed tree roots to avoid. At this point we also met and were overtaken by runners who were completing the full marathon (we were all in awe of this achievement, just taking on the half was hard enough!)

It seemed to take forever to reach the finish as we ran through one field after another with very heavy legs by now. I’d like to say we were still laughing and chatting, but by this stage we were too exhausted. It certainly felt that we had run much further than a half marathon distance.

The course was well marked throughout and all the marshals were so encouraging and enthusiastic with their support. There were plenty of water stations and checkpoints where the volunteers offered us chunks of mars bars, chocolate biscuits and flapjacks.

Finally, to round off an exhausting but brilliant day, we collected our medal and enjoyed a complimentary fry up breakfast.

In my opinion, this is an excellent event, great organisation from start to finish and a good value for money race.


Coaches Corner


This month Coach Ian Jones talks about Drills and their benefits

Many of us have done Drills during our club night, either as part of a warm up, run or separate session but are they worthwhile doing and persevering with? Hopping, skipping and jumping just isn’t running and some of them feel awkward to do.

What Are Drills For?

Drills underpin correct movement patterns so it’s really important to perform a drill well. Through repetition, it teaches joints and muscles to move through correct movement ranges. Muscles learn and adapt to fire in correct sequences and movement becomes more efficient and effective. Drills can strengthen specific muscle groups needed for running, especially the muscles of the feet, calves, shins, thighs and hips. They also help prepare the ankle, knee and hip joints for the specific range of movements required during running.

Runners move in one directional plain, the same repetitive movement pattern repeated many thousand times over, again and again. Over time and for many different reasons, range of movement or movement patterns start to change and diminish. To compensate the nervous system fractionally alters movement patterns, recruits smaller stabilisation muscles to take on work they’re not designed for, all so that we remain feeling comfortable but our running form looks and performs terrible. We become less efficient.

Why Do Some Drills Feel Awkward To Do?

Some Drills feel awkward to do because they’re stimulating the nervous system differently from that we’ve become accustomed to and we may have a limited range of movement in some joints. Coordination of limbs maybe difficult because muscles aren’t firing in the correct sequence, are too weak to perform the exercise, or have simply forgotten how to move correctly.

Been Running For Years, Why Start Doing Drills Now?

Drills highlights one or more aspects of good running form and accentuates them through repetitive motion, which trains the body to become more comfortable with that movement.

Where Do I Start?

Drills can be specifically designed to improve particular movement pattern weaknesses, or strengthen weak muscle areas and any of our CiRF’s will be able to help design a drill for you if required. A good general all-rounder to start with for any runner is the A-March. It is performed walking. The A-March emphasises a driving knee lift, upright posture and coordinated arm swing. Though it is the most basic form of running drill it must not be rushed. Building sufficient confidence when performing the march will help when the time comes to perform the far more flamboyant skip version.

Overcoming embarrassment is paramount. Start slowly but exaggerate confidence – hold the body upright and stable; move the legs and arms with deliberation – place one hand in your back pocket and scratch your nose with the other, encourage a wide range of motion at the hips, knees and ankles. Do not worry about speed as this will come in time as you develop balance and coordination.

Once mastered progress onto the A-Skip then B-Skip, which is useful for developing strength and coordination of the gluteal and hamstring muscles. As you start to progress, do ask the CiRF’s at the club to check your Drill form; it’s really important to get the basic stuff right.

How Often Should Drills Be Done?

Drills should be fun to perform, and get into the habit of doing them regularly. Twice a week is good, run 5 – 10 minutes first to warm up then have a break somewhere quiet then do 10 minutes worth of drills before continuing your run. That’s not much in comparison to the elites who will have a dedicated hour long weekly session doing nothing but drill work in addition to all the other drill work already incorporated into daily schedules.


Featured Member – Glyn Merritt

This month we have asked a relatively new member to take part to introduce himself to everyone and also because he’s quick, you’ll now know ‘who was that?’ when he overtakes you! Glyn over to you!

When did you start running? – 2008

What is the best piece of advise you have ever received? – To not run the marathon in new trainers and defer until next year

What is the best piece of advise you would give? – Get trainers that fit well rather than look good.

When was the first moment that you felt like a runner? – 2014 – Joining BH Runners!

What was your first ever race? – 2008 – Barns Green Half Marathon

What is your biggest running achievement? – So far breaking the 4 hour mark at the Brighton Marathon but I hope to surpass that this year.

What is the toughest race you have ever done? – Brighton Marathon I’m yet to go a further distance.

Where is the best pace you have ever run? – Kuramathi (Maldives) – I little training run on holiday round the island. (5.5k)

What is your favourite WSFRL race? – I’ve only done 3 so far but I really enjoyed the Hangover 5

What is your favourite piece of kit? – Gloves in the winter!

What is your favourite post race treat? – Anything chocolate washed down with Peroni

What is your favourite training session? – Fartlek hard but rewarding

Rain or shine? – Shine

Hill or flat? – Hill

Road or Trail? – Road

Alone or in a group? – Group

Garmin Connect or Strava? – Errr!? Strava though I use Runtastic

Race Number – Scrunch or Flat? – I attempt flat…

With or without music? – With

X-Factor or Strictly? – X-Factor

Marmite – Love or Hate? – Love Marmite

Beetroot or Brussel Sprouts? – Beetroot

Who do you most admire and why – doesn’t have to be athletic related. – Kevin Mashford (Brother in Law) open heart surgery 7 times 3 pace makers and 2
defibrillators, 1 stroke and finally a lifesaving heart transplant. Strongest person I’ve
ever known.

Tell us something you may not know about you……… I have a Hindu name ‘Mohan Kumar’ given to me before our wedding was blessed by a pundit.

What is your favourite picture of yourself and why – Memories of an awesome Birthday celebration with my wife amazing food and wine (photo taken before the wine)

HBHow would your friends describe you? – Short (in height) indecisive energetic and competitive.

What would you sing at Karaoke night? – If you manage to get me up then anything easy and short – ‘When I’m Sixty Four’?


parkrun – Update – by Neil Dawson

February at Clair parkrun saw us break through several milestones. We have now completed over 8500km between us, over 2000 PB’s have been achieved, the total number of different runners to complete our course is now over 1700 and the total number of hours run in Clair Park has passed the 4000 hours mark.

Before you start to think that I’m a real parkrun stat saddo (I am a bit), these stats are all available from our home page and are calculated for us –

February has seen the start of a run of people reaching their 50th runs. This is the first big milestone for senior runners and each runner who completes 50 run will receive a commemorative t-shirt (when they finally arrive). We have now complete 85 events, so many of the runners reaching this milestone have done most of the runs with us.

Although not a BH Runner, I’d just like to highlight the example of Lesley Scott, who reached 50 runs on the 21st . She has completed all 50 of her parkruns in Clair Park. The first time that she completed the course she did it in over 39 minutes. It was certainly a struggle. She is now going round in under 31 minutes and a sub 30 is only just around the corner. She is now going onto compete in a 10k and will be doing her first half marathon at Barns Green this year. Lesley’s development mirrors that of many people in our club and I would like to thank you volunteers for helping to make our parkrun happen each week for people like Lesley.

lesleyThis month we also saw Dave Woodhouse complete his 50th parkrun. Dave has been a tremendous supporter of our event. He is seen most Saturdays either running, volunteering or both. 47 of his 50 runs have been in Clair Park. Thank you Dave and well done.

daveElsewhere this month, Kevin has continued his Australian odyssey with visits to Toolern Creek and Frog Hollow parkruns. Visits to parkrun outside Sussex also included Sue Lyle’s visit to Cuerden Valley parkrun in Preston. I can only imagine that she was away for the weekend, as this would be a very early start to get there for 9am.

It has been really nice to see some first time visitors to Clair Park this month from the club. I imagine that this was in order to register a time for the club championship. We hope that you enjoyed your visit and hope to see you back again soon for another hill session.

Finally, we saw the course record broken on the last day of the month. It is the first time that we have seen the tail runner lapped before they reached the cricket nets for the first time. The time of 16.28 is truly phenomenal. He took 22 seconds off the previous best time, which was set by a runner who has represented GB in the world mountain running championships.

Thanks and take care, Neil



Other photos this month



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 –

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