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


Bevendean Down parkrun

24 01 2016

This morning’s trial parkrun at Bevendean Down, Brighton,  was an uplifting experience despite the  foggy conditions.  Brighton is lucky enough to have 3 parkruns already with around 1000 runners starting out each Saturday morning. We are, of course,  the  #CityOfRunners 🙂 Now with the opening of Bevendean Down we have a 4th course that is unique in being entirely off-road and a bit more challenging than the others. In fact, I got a flash back to x-country runs from my school days as my trail shoes squelched in the mud!

Going for a PB? Don’t! My run today was 25 mins or so – at least 3 minutes longer than my normal tarmac performance at Hove park but I came away totally exhilarated after running on downland that is within the South Downs National Park. It’s going to be even more spectacular when the weather improves.

bevendean down parkrun

It’s a two lap course with just enough gradient to make it a challenge. I loved the gentle downhill section which must be around 500m or more in length. A chance to get your breath back!

After the run, Paul and I  headed off for our traditional post run coffee, this time at The Bevy pub. As I entered the front door, I was greeted with “Tea or coffee?”  The Bevy, Brighton’s only community owned estate pub,  is going to open for the regular 9am parkrun, starting on 6th February. I’ll definitely be back.


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

Rottingdean to Woodingdean via Castle Hill

6 09 2015

rottingdean10kWith a week to go before the Firle half marathon, an all off-road run on the Downs, I picked a route heading North from Rottingdean towards the South Downs Way. Rottingdean is on the route of the 27 bus which also happens to run past the end of my road. So £2.40 later I got off the bus and started the run at the beginning of The Twittern – a narrow path that quickly leads onto unmade tracks: Whiteway Lane then Westmeston Avenue. Turn right onto Blazehill Road for a short section and then it’s all paths and bridleways from there on.  I’d already studied the map  and had a rough idea to meet the South Downs Way and from there make my way round Newmarket Hill, onto Castle Hill and then finish at Woodingdean.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve ever done in Brighton. The scenery is breathtaking and straight out of an Eric Ravilious water colour, like this one called Chalk paths.

Just after Castle Hill is a TV transmitter and from there you can look across the whole of Brighton. The Isle of Wight was clearly visible. The light was fading by the time I’d reached Woodingdean so I headed back into Brighton down Bear Road. Next time I’ll start earlier and see if I can make it a circular run by continuing onto Ovingdean and along the cliff top to Rottingdean. 27 bus back home. Perfect.


24 01 2010

Much as I enjoy runing a football team, there’s one thing that’s always on the back of my mind throughout the week – will we get a referee? This year, I’ve had to ref three games because the official referee has been moved to another  ‘more important’  match at the last minute.  I suppose it’s because there’s a shortage of qualified refs and when you hear of the abuse that some of them get, it’s maybe not so surprising.  As a way to earn some money, it’s not a bad rate – £20 per match give or take – and we’ve had some good teenage lads taking charge of our games.

Today, just 25 minutes before the start of the match, I got a call to say our referee was injured. Panic! No whistle and I’d left my stopwatch at home. Just managed to get home and back with 5 mins to spare. Not the best preparation for a game but at least we went on to win – nothing to do with me of course! That keeps our U14s team in 3rd place in division 4 of the Sussex Sunday Youth Football League

By the end of the game, I must have done the 5 miles that I was going to run today so didn’t go out for a ‘proper’ run. Rest day tomorrow!

Today’s target: 5 miles : well, I did 5 miles in a bit of a start stop fashion!

No star party

20 01 2010

Since last September, Sussex University has been holding star parties for local schools on the roof of the Physics and Astronomy building. Last night, I was meant to be taking some of my students but, as is often the case with star gazing, you are totally dependent on good weather. Although there was a brief clear spell during the afternoon, it was clouding over by 6pm and the moon was just visible through the gloom.  Ah well, there will be plenty of clear skies to come.

I’ve been interested in Astronomy for as long as I can remember but only splashed out on a telescope a few years ago –  a 6inch Newtonian reflector to be precise! Although Brighton skies are not really that good for seeing the faintest objects,  the planets, including Jupiter and Saturn are really easy to see.

Tonight the weather was wetter and colder that last night but I hardly noticed after a few minutes. The interval training was quite tough – I haven’t done that for some time now so it took a bit longer to recover.  Now feeling very tired – must start going to bed earlier….and eat more.

Today’s target: Intervals

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