Race Reports



Steyning Stinger 2018

Steyning Stinger 2018

There was a good turnout at The Steyning Stinger by members of the Mid Sussex Triathlon Club.

Six members tackled the Half Marathon with Pete Harris 1.58.51 and Rob Hoodless 1.59.17 coming 2nd & 3rd in the 55-59 age group and 27th and 28th overall. Rachael Baker 2.17.59 was 7th in her age group and 88th overall. Amanda Durrant 3.00.53 and Sam Drake 3.17.42 also competed. Simon Hodge initially started the marathon but switched to the Half.

Four members were in the marathon with Chris Dawson being the 1st member to finish in 4.46.38 followed by Doug MacTaggart 5.53.12, Jean Fish and Sarah Hinton, both in 6.43.30. 

Sam Drake commented that the event was amazing, despite the mud, with terrific volunteer marshals and a well marked route.

Photo of Doug MacTaggart, Sarah Hinton, Jean Fish & Simon Hodge.

Brighton Half Marathon 2018

Brighton Half Marathon 2018

I decided to do Brighton half 2018 to achieve a PB as I have done it several times now. My goal was to train really hard and lose some weight, so I could 'fly'…. Well this never happened. I did no training except for about 5 miles, once every 10 days since November and I gained 7lbs. So, I wasn't very hopeful for a PB!

I drove to Brighton with a friend and we were very late! We parked by the station and as we walked down towards the start, my calves were near to freezing in the arctic conditions.  I could not feel my fingers tips despite wearing gloves, so I was dreading the event. I have never once taken a bag to an event, not sure why I did this time (?), but it turns out the bag drop is practically in the marina and about 10 miles away from the start (well not that far but it felt 10 miles - both ways).

The race started at 9am and we finally got going at 9.20!! Turns out lots of other people started late too! We jogged down towards the start line, past lots of kids who were doing some sort of race after us - good for them! And eventually I got going.

The first 3 miles were pretty brutal but as I warmed up as I went up hill and started to overtake people, I felt more confident and into it. I came across the first drum band who were excellent and dressed again in their gothic black and purple attire, then another band….

I saw a few of the club elite runners whizz past me on the other side down the hill which is always nice (if a little dis-heartening!). I finally got to the top of the hill and headed back down. The run went really well, and as usual there were lots of different characters, lots of different shirts to read, a man pushing a wheelchair, a man with a prosthetic leg, and all different types of people. 

I love the encouragement and enthusiasm of the Brighton spectators it makes you feel like you are running an actual marathon.  The high fives the kids give and the random people who have bowls of jelly babies are always encouraging.  As I got to Hove and turned around to come back along the seafront at 9 miles, It was COLD, windy, brutal and a real slap in the face but I carried on; and still at my 10 min mile pace :).  When I hit 11 miles I thought "It's the home stretch now …"  and I upped my pace. Well I thought I did, it felt like it, but turns out I didn't.  Anyway, as I came through the crowds towards the end, as always, they boosted my energy and I pounded the last mile. I came in at 2hrs 15 (my average time/pace fastest is 2h06).  I was so pleased with my result, what with the lack of training, and the freezing conditions. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and never struggled.  This was my 9th half marathon and the first one I have found relatively easy and thoroughly enjoyable, and,  I wasn't a dribbling tired mess for the rest of the day either!

Next year I hope to train harder, be lighter and get under 2 hrs!

That's the plan anyway…… ;)

Ironman Louisville Kentucky 2017

Ironman Louisville Kentucky 2017

Helen Graham…..You Are An Ironman !!!!!!

Helen's 3rd attempt at completing 140.6 miles of triathlon was a great success. All the sweeter following the missed bike cut-off in Florida 2015 and the retirement during the Florida 2016 swim due to breathing difficulties.


Helen entered Ironman Louisville 2017 at the beginning of the year but injury and ill health prevented her from following a conventional training plan.

Preparation consisted of regaining the ability to run long distances, swimming as much as possible in Ardingly reservoir and learning to enjoy cycling fast down hills. 

Helen attempted to change her swim style from breast-stroke to freestyle in 2017 but progress was slow and for Louisville she reverted back to breast-stroke. 

In summer 2107 Helen completed the Prudential London Ride-46 and the Penticton Long Distance Triathlon (3km,120km,30km). However, just a few weeks before Louisville she missed the bike cut-off at Weymouth 70.3 having struggled with hypothermia and sea-sickness during the swim.

The volunteers and local athletes at Louisville were very friendly and encouraging with lots of positive advice.


The 3.8km wet-suit swim in the Ohio River was moderately challenging and busy despite the rolling-start with around 2,500 athletes. The first third of the swim is against the current then the rest of the swim has the current in your favour but then the water is more choppy. Overall this is a relatively fast Ironman swim course and Helen's 1:35:02 ranked her 2,201st coming out of the swim. This was the first time that Helen had ever managed to draft off another swimmer for a substantial time during a race. 


The 112mile bike course is relatively benign with rolling hills, good surface and picturesque scenery. However, a storm hit during the second half of the cycle with heavy rain and high winds. Leaves, twigs, branches and fruit blown from the trees made sections of the road hazardous for cycling but the race continued. Helen completed the cycle in 7:58:02 and was placed 2,208th overall at that time.


The Louisville 26.2mile run has a pleasant mostly flat course with good crowd support and a wonderful finish line atmosphere. The run is a big challenge even for triathletes who are good runners because there is so much fatigue by the final stages of an Ironman race. However, Helen knew that she would complete the race within the cut-off times having completed both the swim and cycle faster than expected. Plenty of time to do a comfortably paced run whilst enjoying every moment of this much anticipated experience. The Louisville finish is one of the best on the Ironman circuit with lots of bright lights, music and enthusiastic supporters as runners hit the red carpet that takes them to the arch that is located in the centre of the vibrant "Fourth Street Live" entertainment and retail complex.

Helen's 5:38:48 run allowed her to overtake 459 athletes so that she finished 1,749th overall. Finish time 15:41:41.


There were 2,271 finishers from the 2,750 athletes registered and it appears that around 2,500 started the swim.

Helen arose early next day to get in the queue for finishers kit and purchased everything available in her size. Apparently these trinkets will be needed for the lifetime of bragging to come.

Helen is hugely grateful for all the support from family and friends, especially those at Mid Sussex Triathlon Club and We Run Hassocks.


Lakesman 2017

Lakesman 2017

Two members of Mid Sussex Tri Club ventured up to Keswick in the Lake District over the weekend of 17th and 18th June to compete in the Lakesman full distance triathlon, consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a bike leg of 112 miles and a 26.2 mile run.  With the start and finish lines and transition based on the shores of Derwent Water, some stunning, if somewhat hilly, scenery was guaranteed to competitors.

In its second year, the race has a small but friendly atmosphere but with all the organisation and logistics of big brand races.  The race organisers were clearly hoping for better weather than the torrential rain of the inaugural race but probably weren't expecting the temperature to be in the mid to high 30s for the duration of the race!

With 2 hours 20 minutes permitted for the swim and a hard cut off of 10 hours 30 minutes after race start to commence the run, Clair Hunt was aiming to use the swim leg to buy herself time for the bike.  Her strategy was therefore one of getting close to the melee on the start line and being as competitive as possible.  Matthew Critchley, as the weaker swimmer, however had a different strategy; namely to stay out of trouble on the swim and pick off places on an opportunistic basis.

The strategy appeared to pay off for Matthew emerging from the water in a time of 01:43:10 just 3 minutes 43 seconds ahead of his team mate.  This put them in 247th and 260th places respectively overall.

Even with the benign conditions and a water temperature of 18-19 degrees C, one hour 45 minutes is a long time to be immersed and there always remains a risk of hypothermia.  Unfortunately for Clair the effects of exposure had taken its toll and the race marshals directed Clair to the medical tent for treatment and with that her race was over.

Matthew's strength was always going to be the bike leg and by the midway point had pulled back to 141st place.  Strong winds along the Cumbrian coast and extreme temperatures slowed the field over the second half of the course.   Matthew had dropped back slightly to 165th overall coming into transition for the second time in a total elapsed time of 08:08:16, exactly 02:00:04 behind the race leader.

Consistent pacing would always be critical to ensuring a strong finish to the race, particularly given the prevailing conditions.  With 5 laps of a 5.25 mile circuit, Matthew was able to maintain a consistent pace with lap times within a couple of minutes of each other to finish the marathon in 149th place recording a time of 05:12:30.  This gave an overall time of 13:29:36, finishing in 174th overall and 04:13:55 behind race winner Joe Duckworth.  The first lady, Nicola King from the Arragon's Triathlon Club, finished in a time of 11:20:44 putting her in 34th place overall.

It was both Clair's and Matthew's first attempt at this distance having both successfully competed at a number of middle distance and half Ironman races.  There clearly remains unfinished business at Lakesman for the pair of them, albeit for different reasons.  Clair has vowed to use this opportunity to learn and come back stronger next year and Matthew is keen to try again but next time, with luck, in more temperate conditions and see what time he can post.

Latest MSTC news

Latest MSTC news

A Doctor's Guide to Marathon Training

Club member Dr Jim Graham of Hassocks has published a Doctor's Marathon Training Lifestyle Guide for runners and triathletes, for beginners to elite runners. It provides insight from a physician who has studied the sport and personally raced more than 50 marathons. At 53 years of age Jim is still getting faster with a 2hr 51min marathon finish at Brighton in 2016.  Jim himself completed four full ironmans, two half ironmans and four marathons in 2016 and finished in the top half of his age group at the Ironman Triathlon World Championships at Kona, Hawaii in 2016. All revenue for the guide in January 2017 will be donated to the Alzheimer's society, a charity that Jim has been supporting for some time. Marathon running is a family sport as Jim's wife Helen is also a marathon runner. She is also a Doctor.

Ironman All World Athlete medals

Dr Jim Graham has been awarded a AWA gold medal for his Ironman performances in 2016. This places him in the top 1% in the world for his age group.In addition club member Douglas Mac Taggart has been awarded an AWA bronze medal for being placed in the top 10% of his age group. In 2016 Douglas completed 2 full Ironmans at Vichy and Wales, together with 2 Ultra marathons and 14 marathons. This year Doug is planning on doing 3 Ironmans, the first being at Lake Taupo in Zew Zealand.

Charity Donation

The club made a donation of £750 to Chailey Heritage's Seymour Dept to assist with their activity week in the summer term. This sum was raised from entry fees paid for events run by the club.

Portsmouth Marathon

Thirteen members participated in the 7th Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon on the 18th December just before Christmas. The route is from South Parade Pier to the end of the Hayling Billy Line and return. Although it is flat marathon, it has some fantastic views across Langstone Harbour.  The profits from entry fees are donated to the RNLI.

James Graham was the 1st member to finish on 3.10.51 with Kevin James following in 3.28.38 and Mike Jaffe just behind Kevin in 3.28.39 . Emma Jaffe was 1st club lady to finish in 4.02.57 with Helen Graham following on 4.30.54. Clair Hunt was competing in her 1st marathon and finished in 6.24.27. the other members times were: Steve Alden 3.49.44, Rob Hoodless 3.53.28, Julienne Stuart-Colwill and Matthew Critchley 5.55.55, Jean Fish 4.56.37, Vicky Von Der Linden 5.27.01, and Sarah Hinton 5.41.45.

New Years Day swim at Weirwood Reservoir

Four members braved the cold water, just a smidgeon over 5 degrees celsius, at Weirwood Reservoir on New Years Day. A few others watched.