Race Reports



Monthly archive for April 2014

London Marathon

London Marathon


Exciting build-up to a great race. Huge expectation as Mo Farah prepares for marathon debut against possibly the strongest ever field of runners ever assembled for this distance.

Perfect weather forecasted. Bought loads of race kit at the fantastic expo at the ExCel (kit that could not be used for race because it had not been used for training).

Travelled up to London on race day by train along with thousands of participants and supporters. Great atmosphere.

Jim and Helen wore their legs out the week before at Brighton Marathon. Emma had just recovered from a nasty tummy virus. Mike had no excuses.

Jim and Helen got text messages an hour or two before the start, because TV coverage was showing clips of them filmed at the expo a few days earlier.


The Race:

Nearly 36,000 runners and maybe 150,000 supporters in ideal conditions in a well organised big city marathon. Amazing experience. Your name being shouted out by spectators every step of the way. Running across Tower Bridge and past other monuments with no traffic.

Emma, Helen, Mike and Jim were lucky enough to be in good-for-age pens, so everyone running at similar pace and no major bottle-necks.

Emma and Helen ran together for most of the race. Mike and Jim were together until mile 16, when Jim's legs turned to lead.

Emma and Helen ran good fast races and both got close to their personal bests.

Jim slowed progressively in the last 10 miles and was overtaken by an astronaut wearing a massive helmet plus a bride in a wedding dress.

Mike cruised the final mile, knowing he was on target, and savoured every moment as he crossed the line in 2:59. A personal best.



Lots of fun and games trying to all meet up amongst crowds of runners and spectators, without mobile phone coverage because everyone was texting simultaneously.

Mo did a good debut, coming 8th and beat the current Olympic Champion (amongst others) but he was a minute slower than Steve Jones' 30 year old British record of 2:07 (which included a toilet-break incredibly).

The results software is quite sophisticated. Mike finished faster than 96% of the entire field and he overtook 111 runners in the last 5miles. Jim was overtaken by 1,022 runners in the last 5 miles (but he did manage to overtake 9 runners during that time).

It was fantastic to get texts and facebook messages from well-wishers. A big "thank you" to all at MSTC for their support.


Place overall

Place gender

Place category



Runner no



Finish time




» Graham, Helen (GBR)

Mid S...








» Graham, James (GBR)

Mid S...








» Jaffe, Emma (GBR)

Mid S...








» Jaffe, Mike (GBR)

Mid S...






Brighton Marathon 2014

Brighton Marathon 2014

Pre-Race: Weather forecasts predicted heavy rain and high winds, so few people expected fast times. It seemed the end of Brighton's charmed run of consistently great weather for every marathon.

Race-Day: Mild, cloudy weather with moderate wind and sunshine for the finish. Several international athletes graced the start-line and an impressive course record of 2:09:25 was set by William Chebor (despite having to stop mid-race to re-tie a shoe-lace!).

New PB's for Emma, Helen and Jim. Not sure if Anthony, Ben, Robin, Dean and Jean got PB's but the finish times were excellent anyhow.

Thanks to everyone giving support. Such a boost to hear "Go Mid-Sussex".

Helen Graham                                    3:36:04

Emma Goodhead                                3:43:01

Jean Fish                                           5:50:08

Jim Graham                                       2:52:09

Anthony Vince                                    3:20:53

Ben Stepney                                      3:41:26

Robin Monaghan                                3:47:29

Dean Allen                                         4:48:33

Post-Race: Terrific party atmosphere with huge crowds on the beach in sunshine. Music, beer and fast-food. A great advert for the city. Lots of MSTC signed up for Brighton Marathon 2015 already.


Jim Graham



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Spring Time Classic

Spring Time Classic

I did  this ride last year but opted for the Challenge route 54 miles, so this year I was going for the Classic route of 71 miles!!

At registration I met up with Jeff Woodall, Andy Miles and Graeme Fitzjohn. Jeff and I were doing the long ride and Andy and Graeme were doing the 54 mile route. The ride started at 8.30 am from Burgess Hill, although it is not a race, everyone is timed over their respective course.


The weather was kind as well, mild, a bit cloudy with a slight wind.  We all started together but Jeff was after a personal best time and went off like a rocket, not to be seen again til we met up in the food hall at the finish!!!

I stuck with Andy until my chain came off after I went through the ford at Pillow Mounds Hill. I don't know how Graeme and Andy got on during the ride as I never saw either of them again.

The Classic route takes in Ashdown Forest and travels into parts of Kent and Surrey. There are five notable hilly sections on the route with Pillow Mounds Hill being the first, where you have to cross a ford before starting the climb. Once I got my chain back on I got stuck into the climb and completed that without any problems. The miles went by and then it was Kidds Hill, known locally as "the Wall". I have been up here several times but it is still a sit in the saddle and grind away type of hill and kicks again very steeply just before the summit.

By now I was well warmed up and looking forward to the Col du Groombridge [ Groombridge Hill ], this one has no run up and must be shown respect. These hills certainly cut down your average speed!!!Del Kidds Hill.jpg

I arrived at Hever [ which was the timing stop ] in 2hrs 43 mins. had a quick pit stop, picked up a bit of food and was on my way again. As I was leaving the feed station I checked my bike computer but alas it was no longer attached to my bike!!! Obviously I had been travelling so fast that it must have flown off!!! 

Having  made my way back via Hartfield , Forest Row and onto West Hoathly the next thrill to look forward too was looming up, the infamous Cobb Lane!!! It is short but has a 20% gradient and can be a cleat breaker as it's known as "the walk of shame" as many riders are forced to walk it!!! To make matters worse the official photographer is always there to record the " shame or the agony"!!! Well it was not the "walk of shame" for me but it was agony!!! 

Then it was on through Ardingly to what I thought was the final set of hills by the reservoir, short but steep. But there was yet another hill to climb up Deakes Lane into Ansty and then crack on to Burgess Hill to the finish.

I met up with Jeff in the food hall and found out that he had problems with his bike at one of the feed stations which delayed him somewhat and that had put paid to him achieving a "Gold Standard".

Challenge 54 miles

Andy Miles            3hrs 46 mins Silver

Peter Court            3 hrs 51 mins 40secs     Silver

Graeme Fitzjohn    4hrs 7 mins 15 secs       Bronze

Jon Webster            4hrs 27mins 5 secs       Bronze

Classic 71 miles

Jeff Woodall             5hrs 15 mins 46 secs    Silver

Del Hastings             5hrs 20mins 46 secs     Silver

I've got to say that was one of the toughest rides I have done!!! I have also sent an email to the organisers to ask why the Gold Standard for over 60's was 4hrs 55mins and yet the Gold Standard for the Winter Classic [ which was 77 miles but only an undulating course] for over 60's was 5hrs 30 mins which I completed in 5hrs 15mins. 


Del Boy