Downland Devil 9 - 4th Dec
If you don't understand why it's called the Downland Devil, you just have to come and run it. Breathtaking scenery with views from the top of the Sussex Downs of the sea and the whole of the Weald to the north, but boy have you got to work for it! The race reception has a lovely home farm feel to it with ample parking all within a couple of hundred yards of the start line, but that's where the comfort ends.
The beautiful frosty morning with sharp blue sky was a distant memory within a hundred yards of the start. A zigzag uphill track behind the farm leads to a long, lung-stretching straight stretching up to the top of the Downs. Almost immediately the path plunged down into the shady hollows and the long slog back up began from the lee of Annington Hill. Repeat this and you find yourself (mercifully) skirting around the apex of Steep Down overlooking Lancing before skittering down a gutter-width trail that marks the edge of Titch Hill and once again you're on a seemingly endless uphill section that wanders clockwise round the base of Steep Down.
The worthing Striders marshalls did an excellent job of keeping everyone on track, offering plenty of encouragement and water at what must surely be the last pinnacle that needs to be conquered. A brief helter-skelter into a sharp left and 50% downhill gradient marks the start of the long valley below Annington Hill, drawing runners east again and towards the finishing tape. Relief sets in too soon...around the corner lurks another climb, it's only 85m but feels more like 1000. At last the track kinks left into the top of the final descent. You've never been so glad to look down on the majesty of the Shoreham Cement Works! There's no time to admire the ash-coloured ruin because the ground drops away. Your eyes are cast down checking for ankle-turning lumps of flint and chalk as your legs spin on down through the finishing line.
Phil Dickinson 1:24:47, Anne Billingham 1:35:36, Lindsay Painter 1:36:17 and Anna Ramage 1:35:55 represented Mel's Milers.
Thanks to Worthing Striders and Coombe Farm for putting on a great race! And thanks to Phil for the race report.
Chichester Half Marathon - Oct 9th
Fifteen Mel's Milers ran the Chichester Half Marathon in memory of our dear friend Dawn Piechoczek. It was a lovely sunny day with amazing views over Goodwood racecourse from the top of the Trundle at about 6 miles. This was Dawn's last race before she became unwell in October 2013 and she came first in her age group (50+) in 1:42:08!
None of us beat her time but congratulations to Ed walden (1:51:36), Catherine Low (1:51:42), Anne Billingham (1:58:25), Colin Shaw (2:00:41), Fiona McLaughlin (2:01:10), Mark Chopin (2:05:24), Lindsay Painter (2:08:07), John Pascoe 92:09:34), Jane Stephens (2:11:44), Ann Williams (2:11:46), Sarah Curran (2:11:47), Nigel Phillips (2:20:33), Sue Smith (2:25:50), Alistair Fitzgerald (2:25:50). Sadly Kathryn Hayhurst had to pull out due to injury.
River Thames Half Marathon - 18th Oct
Congratulations to our half marathoners...
Etonman Triathlon - 13th June
On Saturday 13th June Isobel & Karen took part in the Etonman middle distance triathlon (half iron distance). The day was overcast, a little drizzly and quite windy so no need for suncream. The 1.9km swim took place in the famous Olympic rowing lake at Eton Dorney, both girls having a good swim and exiting the water within a minute of each other. The 56 mile bike leg was 10 horseshoe shaped laps around the lake, harder one direction than the other due to the headwind. Isobel pulled ahead of Karen a little bit each lap. The half marathon run was 4 out and back laps along the edge of the lake. Isobel finished in 6hrs 03mins, Karen finished in 7hrs 22mins (having to walk the entire half marathon due to an Achilles injury).
Petworth Challenge - 30th May
A new event with kids fun run, youth 5k, 5k and 10k.
Horsham 10k - 17th May
Well done to all the Mel's Milers who took part - Mark, Colin (1st in age category!!!), Ann, Amanda, Cliff and Alexis.
NDW50 - 16th May
Well, it's over and completed within cut-off - never again! (for this one). Beautiful scenery, lovely weather and no children for the day...what's not to like?
London Marathon - 26th April
Huge congratulations to Alistair and Edwina, (who was running for a good cause and supported her friend all the way).
Brighton Marathon - 12th April
A good number of Mel's Milers turned out for another warm day in Brighton. Well done to Catherine, Paula, Jane, Sharon, Steve, Ed and Liz. Same again next year?!
Brighton Half Marathon - 22nd February
A cold, crisp morning heralded near-perfect running conditions on the fast, flat course in Brighton. Well done to all the Mel's Milers (Alistair, Liz, Anna, Nigel, Colin and Kathryn) in their lovely vests. Particular congratulations to the amazing Colin who, yet again, managed a 2nd place in his category. Good times for all with a few PBs, and fabulous to be cheered on the sea-front by Paula... Thank you!
Chichester 10k - 11th February
Lovely running conditions - a chilly morning with little wind made for an enjoyable race and some good times. Well done to all the Mel's Milers taking part - Colin, Liesse, Liz, Anna, Charlotte and Sarah M. Extra congratulations to Colin taking 2nd place in his class! Great to see everyone in our new vests - much easier to spot!
Alf Shrubb Memorial - 26th October
On Sunday 26th October under overcast skies, no less than 12 Mel's Milers competed in the Alf Shrubb Memorial 5 mile run. The course is 2 laps of undulating off-road terrain with one stile to negotiate, starting at Slinfold Cricket Club.
The race drew some high calibre runners, lured by the £100 prize for beating the course record - which was claimed in a time of 25:42.
Anna Ramage was the first MM to come in at 44:23. Clare Browning shocked the club and herself by claiming the First Slinfold Lady Resident trophy. And, contrary to her suspicions, there was another Slinfold lady in the race (but only one).
Most Mel's Milers retired to the Red Lyon to recover with pints of beer and bags of crisps as is virtually compulsory these days!
Downs Link Ultra - 5th October
Alistair, Rick and Liz decided to give this one a go - a repeat offense for Rick & Liz. Good weather made this an enjoyable event (honest!). We couldn't ask for a more glorious start at the top of St. Martha's Hill just outside Guildford. A cold clear morning made for fabulous views over the Sussex countryside, and the elevated start gives a lovely downhill run to get us going. A huge "Thank you" goes out to our fellow Mel's Milers who went above and beyond the call of duty in waiting for us to shuffle past or accompanying us en-route, 38 miles would feel a lot further without you. You are much appreciated!
Barns Green Half Marathon - 28th September
Congratulations all those who ran.... Catherine 1:48:07, Paula 1:51:45, Swee Lian 2:03:53, Kate 2:03:36, Mark 2:04:35, Penny 2:02:32, Ed 2:06:21, Samuel 2:07:19, Colin 2:06:29, Ann 2:10:27, Zoe 2:23:46 and Lisa 2:31:49
Back to the Trenches - 21st September
Several Mel's Milers and Sam's Bootcampers tackled the Back2the trenches 5 or 10km challenges. This involved climbing over or under many onstacles including fire, barbed wire & an electric fence and carrying tyres or sandbags up & down hills. There was a lot of water & mud to struggle through plus two fantastic water slides. It was not for the faint-hearted! Much fun was had by all and everyone survived although the cuts, bruises & muscle soreness were very evident the following day!
Bacchus Half Marathon - 14th september
A fabulous turnout with 10 Mels Milers drinking their way around this hilly course. Well done all! - Kathryn 2:00:50 (didn't stop for enough wine), Sue 2:08:10 (looking good on that dodgy foot), Alistair 2:08:26, SweeLian 2:10:10, Anne 2:12:00, Lindsay 2:19:38, Clare and Pippa 2:27:31 (good photo of you 2 if you haven't looked yet), Amanda and Colin 2:41:37.
Well done Magic Martin for a superb 4:34:40
Chippenham Half Marathon - 7th September
A message from Colin...
Well, we did it!
Not quite as I envisaged, where yours truly sprints away with a mile to go, in a blaze of patriarchal glory turning as fresh as a daisy to greet the others with a patronising platitude as they stagger across the line - rather it was Stuart finishing with plenty to spare in 2:00:45, & Izzie, despite an existential crisis at about 9 miles regaining her composure & finishing just 7 seconds behind her father, with myself doing the staggering in about a minute behind, very much the proud father/grandfather - just the way it should have been!
We have so many to thank for their help in our completion of this endeavour. To those whose donations & goodwill messages, and indeed all who wished us well for the day, thereby ensuring that we would put body & soul into a successful outcome. You have ensured that we have exceeded our target & will have been able to donate £700 to Mind, the mental health charity. Our heartfelt appreciation, you truly are wonderful people.
I would also like to thank my various training partners over the last few months (you know who you are guys!) who have helped to ensure with their humour, indulgence & wise words that I did not make a complete fool of myself in front of my family on race day.
Below is a photographic record of the protagonists taken before & after the event. I am given to understand that the ‘before' version is what the young people call a ’selfie’!
With love, best wishes & thanks once again to you all
Colin (&Stuart & Izzie)
Marlow Half-Ironman - 20th July
Early on Sunday morning Karen Dare and Isobel Clarke took on the gruelling challenge of the Marlow Half Iron distance triathlon. The plan was hatched in January 2014: Karen hadn't swum nor ridden a bike in years but fancied a change from 'just' running, Isobel had done a few sprint triathlons but wanted to go longer. Six months of heavy training and both were as ready as they could be...
The heatwave of the week before was worrying but the day started overcast and slightly cooler. After no sleep and a very early start the girls arrived at 6am and set up transition kit in a very crowded area.
The 1.9km swim was to take place in the Thames over a 1 lap course. A last minute change made it 2 shorter laps with men starting 15mins ahead of the women (you can see what's going to happen!). The start was frantic with arms and legs flailing in all directions, there were several stops and direction adjustments before swimming happened. Isobel found clear water and had an uneventful swim. Karen found a patch of diesel, swam into a swan, got kicked in the head, arm and leg, had a leaky goggle and was swum over the top of by the leading men on their second lap! Both finished the swim in one piece and ran slowly into transition, once Karen had regained use of her legs.
Off on the bike route - 86km (that's 54 miles). The 'fast and flat' course had been changed due to roadworks and was now 3 laps of a slightly undulating course with a nasty hill. The homemade flapjacks worked a treat (ask Karen for the recipe) and coupled with energy gels both girls were well nourished. Karen didn't drink enough. Isobel stormed the bike leg, Karen was more steady (ie: slower).
Off on the 4 lap run. By now the temperature was hotting up but the sky was still overcast so neither girl put their hat on - oops. Karen was smiling as she started saying to supporters that it was her favourite part. Karen was gaining some time on Isobel who stopped a couple of times, but then the sun came out, the temperature soared and after a good 8 miles Karen started to have chest problems forcing her to stop; walk/running while tipping bottles of water over her head became the best she could mange in order to complete the event in one piece. Isobel stormed across the line in a fantastic 6hrs 3mins. Karen finished a bit later but alive. Both girls were completely elated but absolutely shattered.
Despite telling Isobel and MM supporters that she was going to sell her bike and wetsuit on Ebay, Karen will be attempting another half ironman next year. But she will drink on the bike, use her legs more swimming, doing core exercises and putting her hat on for the run. Isobel will be attempting to break into the sub-6hr category!
The pair would like to thank the MM supporters (Paula, Sharon, Kathryn and Anne) for being there on the day - you've no idea how good it was to see you many times during the event and for taking care of us afterwards. To all the other MMs who helped along the way with training runs, advice, support and positivity although most of you told us we were mad! Thanks to Sam for the triathlon and fitness advice and everything else.
Bewl 15 - 6th July
A decent turn out from Mel's Milers at this mostly trail run around Bewl Water. Congratulations to Alistair Fitzgerald (2:16:46), Sue Endacott (2:24:26), Anne Billingham (2:24:56), Fiona Mcdougall (2:26:03) and Anna Ramage (2:32:45).
Cranleigh 10k - 6th July
A new route saw the end of jostling for position at the beginning of this year's race. The early part no longer follows the Down's Link and farmland, but is on road for about 6k (with a lovely little hill very early on!). As in previous years, the final few kilometers head back along the Link towards the recreation ground allowing for a good view of finishers over their last hundred yards. Congratulations to the three Mel's Milers at this one - Liz Hutchinson (48:52), Paula Lintott (58:08) and Jo Doran (65:16).
Weald Challenge Ultra - 25th May
Four brave Mel's Milers took on this new 50k challenge... Clare Browning (6:25:37), Tina Fowler (6:26:38), Anna Ramage (6:27:29) and Rick Duffy (6:36:02). From the smiles (mostly!) on their faces as they crossed the finish line, a good time was had by all; or they were just very happy it was over! If you want to make your own mind up, you can watch them on the video available on the Weald Challenge website (our runners feature at about 5:25mins).
Horsham 10k - 18th May
Congratulations to Colin Shaw for a fantastic performance at this years race, taking the M70 1st prize finishing in 52:12, over a minute ahead of his closest rival!
Just two idiots were foolish enough to think 50 miles on the North Downs Way was a good idea, Sharon Frankland and Liz Hutchinson (12:07:13). The steps up Box Hill after 25 miles almost put paid to any positivity (temporarily of course!). Good weather, fabulous views and an aid station with ice cream made this a great run. Huge respect to Sharon for cycling to Horsham rugby club the following morning to support Horsham 10k!
Five Mel's Milers completed the London Marathon this year with the most improved runner being Sharon Frankland, who completed the race in 3hrs 59mins. Other members were Sarah Curran (4hrs 01min), Fiona McDougall (4hrs 11mins), Robin Fairhurst (4hrs 31mins) and Magic Martin Sanderson (4hrs 40mins). Well done to all of them for making it to the end despite some wobbly moments !
Worthing Christmas Cracker : 5th December 2009
To get Christmas off to a good start twelve little elves from Mel's Milers ran the ladies only 10k race along the seafront at Worthing. The red shorts and pointy ears got them noticed and did not detract from some good running performances. They also got a few odd looks in Costas afterwards !
Barns Green Half Marathon : 1st November 2009
A good turn-out of Mel's Milers this year at our local race despite the awful weather. Well done to the everyone who ran, and the club supporters, who were nicely distributed along the course keeping the spirits up and trying to stay dry. Special mentions for Paula who easily managed her target of sub-two hours and Queenie for a fine PB of 1:44. Stamina awards for Tina who was running on 7 glasses of wine from the night before, and Dawn who had a close encounter with the tarmac in the first mile !
London Duathlon : 13th September 2009
This summer saw a rush of bike buying as all those pub cycle rides turned some runners into a bunch of budding duathloners. An impressive 9 club members made it to the start line of the London Duathlon in Richmond Park on 13th September, and all finished the race in good times with no spills. Some of the times for the final 5k run were pretty amazing, but the transition times were rather slow in some cases. (What were you doing Ed ?) Room for improvements next year so keep up the spinning everyone !
Southwater Triathlon : 6th September 2009
Well done to the three Mel's Milers who took the plunge in this year's local triathlon relay. Anna, Clare and Victoria - we admire your bravery in getting into that cold, murky lake. Glad you made it to the other side !
South Downs Marathon Relay : 13th June 2009
Two ladies' teams of four were entered for this trail run along the South Downs Way. The race started at Slindon College and finished at Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield, with three change-over points along the way, which added the extra challenge of driving the team members between the different points. The route was tough but scenic, and both teams managed to find their way and each other without too much difficulty. Mel's Merry Milers finished the marathon course in 3 hours 59 minutes, and Mel's Extra Milers in 4 hours 8 minutes, giving them overall positions of 45th and 52nd out of 81 teams. The eight girls enjoyed the race and well deserved lunch on the way home, and are hoping to be back next year.
Bluebell 10k, Angmering : April 2009
The Bluebell 10k is a popular one to start the Spring racing season, as you can always enjoy the flowers even if you're not enjoying the run ! All six Milers look quite happy after the race, and have obviously already forgotten that killer hill at the end !
London Marathon : April 2009
Well done to this year's group of Milers who completed the marathon in London with the usual support from other club members. Wendy and Sue deserve special congratulations for being first-timers and raising lots of money for their charities.
Paris Marathon : April 2009
Congratulations also to Sharon and Tony who decided to try the Paris marathon instead. By all accounts it was a good one, with wider roads than London, and they were both very pleased with their times, helped along by the shouts of 'Allez Sharon' !
Leith Hill Half Marathon : March 2009
Sharon and Dawn decided to have a go at this lethal sounding race in its second year. With an ascent of over 1800 feet, and subsequent descent, it was never going to be fast or easy. However the girls enjoyed the friendly race on a scenic course and finished tired but elated. The cooked breakfast afterwards made it all worthwhile, and the event got the thumbs up.