Running 13 The Hard Way

1 09 2016


When a friend asked if if I was up for doing a half marathon on the South Downs at the end of August, I instantly agreed, quickly registered and then forgot all about it. Running on the South Downs, for me, is pure pleasure so it didn’t take much persuading. What I had failed to notice was that I would still be on holiday in Cornwall the day before, leaving me almost no chance of getting to the 9am start in Clayton, West Sussex.

A silly idea entered my head. We were booked onto the overnight Megabus from Penzance to London , arriving Victoria Coach station at 7.30am. If I could get a train before 8am, I might just make the start.

The coach arrived to pick us up half an hour late and by the time we reached Plymouth, the driver apologised to us with “we’re running an hour late”. I was on the verge of messaging my friend to say I wouldn’t make it but deep down I was hoping that maybe the coach could make up time. Miraculously, as the Sun was rising over London and to applause from the passengers, the driver announced that he had managed to pick up time. We’d be arriving just 17 minutes late! He even apologised but added, “I’ve done my best”! Brilliant.

I can’t say it was the best warm up I’ve ever done but I managed to get to the start , 25 minutes late and start the run. This is where the name of the run starts to have meaning.

The first kilometre starts from Underhill Lane and is a steep ascent to the South Downs Way climbing about 140m. From there it is a beautiful run along the SDW, past Ditchling Beacon and on to Housedean Farm at the halfway point. Coming back is gruelling with the less steep but longer climb back onto high ground. I ran with my friend Paul and both of us found it a struggle in places, especially in the heat but the pain was more than compensated for by fantastic views to the North and some excellent half way sugary nibbles, including Jaffa cakes, water melon and cupfulls of coke.


Some great photos of the event can be seen here.

As a running experience I can’t ask for a better location. The organisation and friendly atmosphere made it really fun – I’d do it again next year but I hear there’s talk of 30 the Hard way! Maybe.

13 The Hard Way was organised by Sussex Trail Events


Get into running Friday 13th November

10 11 2015

Running eveningThere’s a fantastic running community in Brighton & Hove that caters for all abilities, including first timers. We are a group of running enthusiasts who want to share some of the great benefits that running can bring. For many, it’s not just physical health but also the positive impact on mental health and well being. There really is something for everyone.

Did you know, for example, that every Saturday at 9am, approximately 1000 people aged from 8 to 80, run a 5km parkrun in Brighton and Hove?

We have a number of speakers :
Lisa Smith-Wallace, Club Captain for Brighton & Hove Women’s Running Club (B&HWRC) will explain how first timers are encouraged and supported. Brigitte Groves has led groups of runners training for their first attempt at the Brighton marathon. Brigitte was also a founder member of B&HWRC.
Paul Zara started running as a complete beginner about 6 years ago when someone persuaded him to try parkrun in Hove park. Paul is now one of a rare group who has run in each one of the Brighton marathons. Paul, will be talking about how running gives you a different perspective of the city.
Kevin Betts took on the challenge of running 52 marathons in one year and survived to tell the tale. Kevin is a regular at Hove park parkrun where he completes the 5km course pushing a buggy.
Nick Rivett from NickRivettSports will be explaining Gait Analysis in which running efficiency can be analysed as you run on a machine.

For my part, I started running with Paul Zara and have now taken part in many 5k , 10k, half and full marathons. I particularly enjoy running on the South Downs. I have been volunteer coordinator at Hove park parkrun for the last 3 years

Hope to see you in the hall next Friday.
Pete Golton

The slightly longer Brighton Half Marathon

21 02 2012


Just setting off along Madeira Drive, proudly wearing my Parkrun 100 shirt.

Yesterday’s Brighton half marathon was my first for 25 years. The only other one I’ve done is the Portsmouth Half which I seem to remember doing in a sprightly 1hr 36 mins.

My mate Paul who was also running yesterday, took us down to the start on his Vespa. We’ve done this before for the Phoenix 10k but yesterday morning was so cold that we were frozen as we scooted to the start with 7 mins to go. Not the best warm I’ve ever done but I soon thawed out and loved the whole run. Brilliant crowds and hardly any wind along the seafront.  I got to the end in 1:47, cheerfully unaware that
there had been a problem with the course.

Today, I’ve found out that my chip time has been adjusted to 1:44:27, down from 1:47:01 . Yay, a PB! Apparently, a “misplaced turnaround” led to the course being 500m too long.  This made the total distance 13.42 miles.  Is that a world record for an athletics event? Hats off to the organisers for owning up to this and adjusting our times so quickly. Maybe, if this had happened 10 years ago, there wouldn’t have been so many runners with GPS watches to point out the error. The Facebook page on Brighton Half  Marathon is full of messages from Garmin owners!

Well I have to say I’m pretty chuffed  with 1:44 and the extra distance just means I’ve done a bit more training towards the marathon in April.  I’ll definitely do the half marathon again next year.

As for the “human error” that led to the misplaced cones, we’ve all done it and it didn’t spoil a brilliant day. Thanks to all of the volunteers and cheering public who made it such a fun event.

Two Jackals

18 02 2012

Update: Two Jackals at Concorde 2, last night.

Way back in 1985, as a student at Portsmouth Polytechnic, I would regularly see two live bands a week at the student union. Tickets were  cheap so nobody minded taking a chance on bands we’d hardly heard of.  Jason and the Scorchers stands out as one of the highlights. For a few years after I’d left Portsmouth, a mate of mine and I would meet up at Victoria station late on a Saturday afternoon and pour over Time Out magazine to pick a pub at random for live music – anything from Irish folk music in North London to Wilko Johnson at the Cricketers near Kennington Oval.

The last year has seen a modest revival in seeing live bands after years of neglect! Reading Festival last year was a brilliant day out – although at my age, a one day pass is quite enough thanks.  It’s the first festival I’ve been to since Cropredy in the 90s.  In November last year I saw The Fall play at Concorde 2 in Brighton.  Brilliant  and  Mark E Smith was on stage for far longer than any of us dared to imagine.  Coming up soon are Bombay Bicycle Club and Rufus Wainwright. Can’t wait for those.

Even more highly anticipated though is tonight’s gig at Concorde 2.   Supporting The Big Pink are Two Jackals.   I saw them play at The Green Door Store over the Christmas period and they were amazing.  I won’t begin to try and describe their music but apparently this  equation does a good job:  Two Jackals = Foals + The National + Joy Division + God Is An Astronaut.  Looking forward to it.

Should be the perfect prep for tomorrow’s Brighton half marathon at 9am.


12 02 2012

Pretending to look warm on the Sussex Downs. Photo Paul Zara

One week to go before the Brighton Half Marathon so @paulzara and I  headed up to Devil’s Dyke this morning for a 16km circuit.  Absolutely freezing!

Brighton has virtually no snow now but there’s plenty up on the Downs and it is beautiful up there – as long as you keep moving! Got to Devil’s Dyke and came across a group paragliding. That’s not something I’ll be doing anytime soon but love watching it. Not sure I’d have the nerve to launch myself into the gloom.

Paragliding off Devil's Dyke this morning.

I’ve put myself down as volunteer coordinator at Brighton Parkrun  for the last couple of weeks and so far so good.  Loads of people have come forward to help and all nice 🙂  All of the jobs are easy but yesterday the temperature was below freezing and my handwriting got slower and slower. There must be a way to write and keep fingers warm at the same time. Any suggestions?

After the event, we sat in Hove Park Cafe, entering all the results into the laptop. This is normally a technical challenge that requires three of us to get right but things are definitely getting easier with the new software. All results were uploaded by 11am – a record!

The cafe always has great music playing ( the queues are quite long so it helps 🙂 ) most of which I’ve never heard before so I’ve started Shazamming it.   Really like this Cay’s Crays by Fat Freddy’s Drop

While I was running this morning, my son Henry was competing for Sussex (High Jump) in the regional athletics finals at Burgess Hill. Good luck Henry 🙂

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