Race Reports

Brighton Marina Tri. The view from the back..............

I competed in my second ever triathlon on Sunday morning, in conditions that were more conducive to spending the day in bed than partaking of a multi sport event. A view confirmed by the current Mrs John!

The alarms sounded early, but we were prepared(egg sarmies, coffee, etc.,) and we loaded up the kids and headed to the seaside. As we passed the Amex community stadium, I realised that there was no horizon, as the grey mass of the oceans joined hands with the grey fingers of the rain. At least the temp was in +. We arrived, decanted the various bags and "kuthundu" required, before being asked to drive the car up to the top of the car park so as to have "something " to watch!

Eventually found the transition zone, after expecting to find it closer to the water. Racked my bike, donned my wetsuit, and readied my belongings for transitions. And then it started to spit. So I covered everything with my bag, only for it to roll off my shoes and display my clean smalls to the gathered audience! Quick briefing and a surprise visit from my sibling!

So we embarked to the start of the swim, me trying to herd a chattering of kids and uncles, only to realise that they were about to start the race! Water was indifferent, but at the very least it was not freezing. As a result of my faffing, I swam 1040m! Pull pull breathe, and the added salt buoyancy got me out in just over 18mins, despite the two run ins with kayaks( turn around now sir, and , watch out for the quay!) and some entirely unneeded comments about sturdy ladders for sturdy athletes. Long t1 (wet feet, wet socks, bag again!) and off out on the bike!

After the first zip along the coast road, I regretted not wasting another 30sec not putting on a jacket. Not because of the chill, but more to do with the needling rain. Turned left at St dunstans and into ovingdean. So far, so good no hills. How I hate hills. Drag myself up one, telling myself that the down hill will make up for the pain. Only to brown short it due to the wet roads. Up, up, up and away to woodingdean, and the singular most vile bit of road ever attacked by yours truly. Recovery roll across the top of the downs, one small rise to cope with and then the glory of the sweeping accelerating decent back into Brighton. And then do it again!!!

Repeat last paragraph!

Rolled back down to t2, and realised there were still bikes out behind me. :-) change of shoes, cries of cant feel my feet, can't feel my ears popping around as I managed to ejaculate Iso gel all over my hands. Nice!!

Out onto the run, and realise that the cliffs offer a lot more respite from the wind. Lots of "serious" athletes returning from the run leg, and some compatriots in the slow lanes overtaking each other provided some entertainment. " keep going mid Sussex, you are looking good " did boost my stride. Thank you. The feeling of exquisite agony on turning around, realising that I've done this once, I can do it again. No more overtaking, lots of smiling and then finished! Yay!

Swim. 1000m. 18.04
T1. 7.44
Bike 32km. (90.). 80.12
T2. 3.48
Run. 8km. 46.40

Total. 2:36:18

Lets do it again!!!

London to Brighton Run (57ish miles)

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This race is billed as a challenging self-navigated off road run from London to Brighton, facts which I am not sure I really understood when I entered. The more people I spoke to, the more horror stories I heard about checkpoints being abandoned and bags just left at the end, and the more concerned I became.

The fact that the map book only arrived 3 weeks before the race was not terribly helpful either, especially since I had begun to recce the course as per previous years and there had been significant changes.  In fact I was more worried about getting lost than running the distance.  

However, I did manage to run the course south of the M25 in bits and pieces prior to race day, which calmed my nerves somewhat. 

Race day was a 6am start in Blackheath with registration in a TA hanger full of fit looking people and the discussions of previous races began.  It is pretty difficult not to doubt yourself when surrounded by multistage desert racers and people using the race as training for the 400 mile Arctic Yukon race, but too late to back out now.. 

I have to say the run was scenic, even through London.  The course ran through Lewisham, Bromley and to the west of Biggin Hill, crossing the M25 just north of Limpsfield Chart, then east of Edenbridge and East Grinstead.  The run then goes via Wych Cross to Horsted Keynes and then through Chailey Common heading south to cross the Downs at Black Cap, then through Falmer to Brighton.

The 5 checkpoints were well stocked with water, bananas and in the latter stages cakes, biscuits and also cold roast salted potatoes dipped in tomato sauce which have to be one of the most delicious things known to mankind when running this distance.  

I managed to go off course 3 times (once was in Ashurstwood which is a part of the course I had run in training) but nothing too terminal, adding 1 or 2 km at the most and was never running alone.  The people were friendly and happy to chat as we ran which was encouraging and also useful as many of them had a great deal of ultradistance running experience.  I did meet 2 other people who were also doing their first ultra and both finished just ahead of me.  I was pretty amazed at the number of experienced runners who were happy not to look at their maps and just follow inexperienced people like me, especially when I was joined by Rob and Jamie, acting as tour guides for the latter stages of the run. 

Overall, the run went pretty much as expected for me.  I was comfortable until about 35 miles and then began to tighten up as we climbed from Weir Wood reservoir and it was then that Rob and Jamie's support was invaluable.  Rob ran with me for about 15 miles from mile 31 and Jamie joined us in Horsted Keynes at about mile 40 and ran to the finish.  

I enjoyed the day, despite the pain.  Interestingly I learnt that it is possible to run through pain and out the other side to a stage where running is actually more comfortable than walking (although up hills are still very difficult after 50 miles with weak legs).  I was pleasantly surprised that, even when we were within a mile or so of our house, I was not tempted to crawl into bed with a cup of tea! 

The low point was leaving checkpoint 5 knowing that I had the walk up Black Cap ahead, but thehigh pointwas reaching the top with Jamie and seeing not only the sea, but also Steve and Kay, which was a real boost.  I knew then I could get to the finish and promptly ran past 3 other runners, one of whom tagged onto Jamie and I and then finished with me.  He was a French guy called Sebastian and a mutual thumbs up was our signal to each other of a job well done. 

As I look back I am not sure I would do it again, although as my legs recover I could change my mind..  

All I know is that I could not have done this without all the encouragement from everyone I know.  It is fantastic to belong to a club where people don't tell you that you're mad when you suggest something like this.  Claire Cresswell deserves special mention for getting me to start running on the Downs and Rob for training and company on the day. 

I will be forever grateful to my amazing husband Jamie for putting up with my training and for his help on the day.  Not only did he run about 20 miles with me, he kept my spirits up and force fed me jelly snakes on a regular basis to keep me going.  He always knows just what I need and that is just one of the reasons I love him. 


  • 3 runs a week in training
  • Longest run 35 miles
  • Time to finish 12.24 (cut off 13 hours). 
  • Not sure how far I actually ran (Garmin packed up after 65km)
  • Number entered 290+, 196 started and 88 finished

I finished 58th (7th female)

Emma Goodhead


Barns Green Half Marathon (1)

'Vincit Qui Patitur'

This ever popular hilly road race had 1,319 finishers. The impressive African winner, Yared Hogos, finished in 1:06:53 (a couple of minutes outside the course record).

This ever popular hilly road race had 1,319 finishers. The impressive African winner, Yared Hogos, finished in 1:06:53 (a couple of minutes outside the course record). 

A decent showing of 10 MSTC members produced some good performances and PB's in near perfect conditions. 

I had a nice chat with Rachel, Lucy, Emma, Mike and Helen before the race. However, I did not manage to meet up with Steve, James, Hazel and Martin at all. Helen was the only one I managed to spot coming over the finish line with a stunning sub-2 hour run that was 10 mins better than her previous best. 

Residual fitness from ironman training earlier this season allowed me to take 4 mins off my 2011 Barns Green effort to get a very pleasing PB. Funny how months of training/racing at HR 140bpm allows one to get PB's racing at HR 170+bpm. Thought I'd managed my first ever podium finish for this 3rd in age-group result, only to find this race only gives awards for 1st and 2nd in age-group! 

Gun times (no chip time available at time of writing)

  • Jim 1:22:36
  • Mike 1:28:16
  • James 1:29:28
  • Steve 1:32:32
  • Martin 1:37:25
  • Lucy 1:44:10
  • Rachel 1:46:38
  • Hazel 1:51:51
  • Helen 1:57:06
  • Emma....................chip failure.....finished in a good time apparently

By Jim Graham

Club Records: /about-mstc/club-records.aspx

Results: http://www.sportsystems.co.uk/ss/results/Barns%20Green%20Half%20Marathon/851

St Peter & St James Hospice

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Charity letter.jpg

Le Jog Day 10 The Final Chapter

Tain to John o' Groats 89m 6h7m15s 14.54mph average

Total 904.3m

Our final day dawned bright and sunny. Quite remarkable because we knew that big storms were due for this area from the next day. The route north followed the dramatic eastern coastline but with a variable wind and undulating road it was not an easy day. We all knew that for the second day running there would be one evil climb somewhere in the middle. 'Watch out after Helmsdale' was the warning...... 

We stopped in Helmsdale for a brief coffee, as there were very few places open on a Sunday and then the fun started. The first skirmish was a steady 5% climb out of town for half a mile, followed by a brief flattening out. Then came what we thought was the main event with a 10% climb for about 2 miles, but it was a steady climb which we took in our stride. Churchill commented how he felt cheated out of a proper climb but was soon to rue those words. One mile later there was a dramatic descent with a 90 degree bend at the bottom, immediately followed by a hairpin bend with a 13% climb on the other side. This was about a mile long - and was much like going up Kidd's Hill, in length and difficulty, but the real problem was how strength sapping it was. 

After this the road was undulating and quite windy until we changed direction for the last few miles into Wick. Then we had a tailwind and were really shifting. We stopped at Tesco for a quick meal (we had long found that supermarkets on the outskirts of towns give you a quick decent meal at a sensible price) and were ready for the final stretch, 16 miles to John o' Groats. By this stage Churchill was beginning to suffer and anything remotely uphill was becoming a challenge. Everyone pulled together and we finally reached the outskirts of town and stopped for a photo at the town sign. 

The final mile down to the harbour will long live in the memory. The realisation that we had reached the end was just amazing. The Saint was waiting for us and went ahead to film the final arrival. 

From my perspective I feel this has been one of the hardest challenges in my life but it was made achievable by having the company of 4 super companions and the support of the Saint without whom the whole thing would have been so much worse. We have laughed so much over the last 10 days you would not believe.. In spite of our West Coast drenching we were remarkably lucky with the weather. Bad weather throughout would have been purgatroid - a new word coined by Saint but it sounds right! 


Ox (Ian Anderson) - super strong throughout, may need some new bib shorts !

Brace (Mark Jordan)- creaking bottom bracket, creaking right knee, (one of the 'limpers')  but never wavered and stayed very strong. 

Wobbler (Brad Williams) - creaky knees (the other limper) but always prepared to laugh from his belly ( you have to see the video when we can get it uploaded!!) 

Cling On (David Ricketts) - chuffed to bits to have finished and always maintained his steady pace. Will dine out on this achievement for many years to come!

Saint (Emma Alden)  - what can I say - indispensable!! Did so much behind the scenes to make the ride a pleasure for the rest of us. Thank you so much from all of us. 

Churchill (Steve Alden)  - Totally knackered!! But is he still bobbing his head ?  OH YES!!!!

 Photos here