A group of runners on a running track

HJ Newsletter December – February

The December 2023 – February 2024 newsletter is now ready. You’d think we would have been a little less busy over the Christmas period, but as we enter our 40th anniversary celebratory year there’s no chance of anything quiet happening!

Petting on a Good Outcome

As winter starts its long departure, Christmas already feels like a very long time ago. Or so you would think. I’ve literally just put someone’s recently worn Christmas socks in the wash. You’d think this would be no big deal, but harking back to Christmas when it’s the middle of February feels like trying to reminisce about the good old days of playing with BigTrak as a 5-year old in 1982, when everyone else had already moved on to those Tomytronic hand-held machines.

Anyway, moving on to 2024 and I’m always intrigued to see how many runners there are who run with dogs. Now, my daughters are on at me regularly about wanting to get a dog. Not just any dog, but specifically a sausage dog. I attempted to appease them a few years ago with Guinea Pigs (aptly named Max and Stuart), but of course you can’t really take them out for a jog up at Roosthole. I’m not actually sure you can run with a sausage dog either given their little legs move so fast but without covering much distance, taking them approximately 25 minutes to make it from the living room to the kitchen.

I know several of our members have dogs that they run with, albeit initial confusion can arise with the various names they have been called. For example, Anna McLauchlan runs with a dog called Gin, which is confusing if only because when her Strava suggests ‘Plod with Gin’ the immediate reaction is that she’s had a bad day at the office, and she’s curled up on a street corner, swigging straight from a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. Interestingly, Anna told me her 10K PB had been ‘dog assisted’, set when Gin had pulled her along like a pacer.

Now, I’m sure they probably help when you’re going through a bit of a rough pooch (sorry), but whenever I’ve run with a dog close by, I find they try and trip me up. In fact, they seem quite happy when other runners are nearby, but as soon as I come close there seems to be a deliberate move to cross into my path, a little look round, almost a dog-style chuckle at my expense as I am forced to switch from side-to-side, with our canine friends alternating at the same time. I’ll stick with the Guinea Pigs for now.

Anyway, here we are. Our 40th year as a club and what a year we anticipate it to be. There’s a section included about the various events taking place this year. It’ll be a busy one.

Let’s bring it on!

Unsung Heroes

The unsung hero for this edition of the newsletter is Kath Barnes.

Kath helped out at the recent annual awards evening, and regularly puts herself forward as a volunteer.

Also, she has a very kind heart. This was never more evident than when she provided Matt Horne with a water bottle which incorporated his recent ‘stick man’ design.

Thank you, Kath, for your help and for your kind nature.

A gold water bottle with a stick man drawn on it.
Picture of Matt Horne’s water bottle (created by Kath Barnes)

Races, Runs and Events

Now, as it has been the Christmas period, you’d maybe expect us to have put our feet up, cracked open the bubbly and watched Back to the Future (part one) for the 200th time. Well, as ever with us sumptuous HJ’ers you’d be wrong.

Lanzarote Half Marathon and Marathon – 1st December

A few HJ’ers attempted to avoid the wintery climate by running the Lanzarote Half Marathon/Marathon.  I attempted to obtain some of the finishing times by accessing the official website, but I’m not overly fluent in Spanish and so I’ll just say well done to everyone who took part in this event.

Apparently, there was lots of free food at the end of the race too, and it was good to know in the mad rush for refreshments that nobody ‘Spained’ their ankle in the process.

A group of runners
A group of runners sitting round a table in a restaurant
Happy HJ’ers in Lanzarote

Montane Cheviot Goat Race (Ultra) – 1st December

Talking of canine lovers, one of those is Vic Baker who continued her theme of only running in races which are of both distance and elevation by completing the 60-mile course in freezing conditions. A temperature of minus 5 ‘welcomed’ the runners at the start, and with a lot of the course covered in heavy snow it was certainly a case of competitors not wanting to get their slopes up.

Vic completed the course in just over 20 hours and was 9th female finisher overall.

The race itself starts and finishes in the village of Ingram, Northumberland and covers the wild hills of the surrounding area, including a lung-busting 12,139 ft ascent with the summit at 2,674 feet…there’s not likely to be much ‘Winternet’ access at that height.

However, it was certainly a ‘peak’ performance so well done, Vic.

British Masters 5k – 3rd December

Some speedy Horsham Joggers took part in the British Masters on 3rd December, with some terrific results.

Val Purnell was 8th in the women’s over-60 category in 24.39, and in the men’s event Dean Angell (6th m60 in 18.42), Bryan Camfield (11th m55 in 18.44) and Pete O’Connell (11th m60 in 20.00) produced super performances.

Run the Seasons (event 2) – 9th December

A total of 117 runners took part in the 2nd Run the Seasons event on 9th December. Once more our esteemed hj’ers turned up and did a cracking job.

Natalie Wettler (still refusing to run as a hj’er at these events!) was 3rd overall and 1st female in a staggering 37.06, Lee Walker continued his return to running form by coming 31st in 45.13, and Samantha Marshall was 49th in an excellent 49.28.

Well done all.

West Sussex Fun Run League (WSFRL) – Hangover 5 (1st January 2024)

Over the past 12 months, perhaps nothing has got the juices flowing like the West Sussex Fun Run League.

Without re-iterating the obvious we won the title in 2023, and whilst the local council denied us an open-top bus parade around Horsham (don’t worry, we didn’t actually apply), we are aiming to perform well again in 2024.

So, it should be no surprise that we were very well represented in the first race of the year. To pick a few notable finishers, Matt Mason was 6th, Simon Perkins 12th, and Anna McLauchlan was first hj female home.

Clearly the organisers of the Hangover 5 had too much to drink as the results of the race took the best part of January to be finalised. In fact, there are probably people waiting for hip operations who have no doubt been through the entire referral, wait time, operation and recovery process faster than these results were announced, but they got there in the end.

Winter Spine Challenger North Race – Multi-day Event

Huge congratulations go to Mark Gibson in completing this race.

This is a non-stop, 160 mile race along the Pennine Way. In extremely cold conditions, Mark ran this as a potential swan song as far as his multi-day event racing is concerned. Personally, I think he’s such a good runner he’d be quackers to give them up.

A person wrapped up in winter clothing with only part of their face showing
It’s a little cold outside! Mark nicely wrapped up during his epic challenge.

Sussex Masters Cross Country – 20th January

Ian Dickinson and Matt Whyman ran the Sussex Masters Cross Country on 20th January, held at Coombes Farm. It’s always hard to run in such open conditions at any time of the year let alone during the middle of winter, so well done to both.

Hyrox – Manchester (27th January)

Paul Haggerstone showed that his recent track work has been paying off by coming 1st in his age category at the Hyrox race in Manchester.

In fact, Paul and 4 others have been regularly turning up at track to train for Hyrox and have found the interval work on a Thursday evening hugely useful.

Congratulations to Paul.

A man standing on a winners podium holding a banner
No Whey! Paul celebrating after the recent Hyrox race.

Murcia 10k – 4th February

In comparison to some of the other runs taking place in the harsh British winter, Penny Sanders completed the Murcia 10k. This was run under clear blue skies, with free beer and a free massage too after the race.

We all know Penny – she usually sends round the weekly parkrun update, which is always well received. She even managed to submit the parkrun results whilst she was away doing her race…..perhaps aware we were pleading ‘Murcia’ to get her to do this for us.

A woman holding a glass of beer
Penny Sanders in Murcia.

Dark Star Marathon – 4th February

Four HJ’ers completed the Dark Star Marathon on 4th February. 

Alan Pettitt, Brian Frost, Chris Yeomans and Matt Whyman completed the awkward course in decent  conditions, the race running from Shoreham to West Grinstead and back, and actually measures a little long (28.2 miles instead of 26.2 miles).

This didn’t put them off as each came home in under 5 hours, Matt leading the way in 4 hours 20 minutes.

Chichester 10k – 4th February

A large contingent of around 20 hj’ers turned up to this event, with a stack of PBs set during decent conditions.

Husband and wife Brian and Jo left no Stone unturned in their household as both of them set PBs.

The roll call of hj finishers were: Trevor Barrett (38.12), Malcolm Footer (40.11), Melissa Galea (41.45), Brian Stone (42.02), Matt Cooper (44.56), Rob Shapland (46.06), Christopher Lee (47.01), Jo Stone (47.59), Pete O’Connell (49.34), Kate Short (50.41), Tom Vanhinsbergh (52.24), Julia Johnson (56.17), Nathan Atkins-Brooks (56.02), Peter Atkins (56.54), Julie Gallagher (58.09), Rachel Denton (1.02.00), Claire Gray (1.02.31), Karen Wigmore (1.04.34), Jane Footer (1.12.01), Mick Duplock (1.16.43).

Natalie Wettler finished in 41.14, but as she ‘accidentally’ entered under Horsham Amphibians again I’ve removed her from the official list above!

Four people smiling and looking at the camera
A group of smiling HJ’ers at Chichester.

Marathon Talk by Tanya Boardman (Holbrook Club) – 7th February

This was a very enjoyable talk given by club member Tanya Boardman, who discussed her experiences of running marathons to a group of HJer’s at the Holbrook Club.

Tanya gave hints and tips using her extensive knowledge of running marathons and from being an England Athletics coach, and at the end of the session a number of HJ’ers discussed their preparations (or fears!) ahead of the Marathon races coming up this year.

West Sussex Fun Run League – Run Your Heart Out (Crawley) – 11th February

Over 60 HJ’ers turned out for this local event, the second race of the WSFRL for 2024.

At the time of typing official results are unavailable (although let’s hope they are posted faster than the Hangover 5 ones!).

The third of these races takes place on 24th March 2024 – see calendar at the end of the newsletter (and here).

A group of runners on a running track
A large representation of HJ’ers at Run Your Heart Out.

Runthrough 10k – QE Olympic Park – 14th February

Kat Owens produced a terrific performance to win the ladies race with a 10k time of 39.38 (official time 40.08 as the race measured about 150m long).

Against a strong field, Kat took some of her recent track work into race conditions and came home with the Gold Medal. Well done, Kat!

This also set off some discussion about female sub-40 minute 10k runners at the club. There have not been very many in recent years, but with a plethora of female members now representing the club we may see the number of sub-40 10k times start to increase.

A woman on a winners podium
Kat with her Gold Medal.

Roller Disco Evening – 16th February

Interestingly there is a sign up to say ‘I Skate Because Running Sucks’. This is clearly not the case as a  group of hjer’s enjoyed one of this year’s first social events by attending an evening of Roller Disco at the Rec in Horsham Park.

Roller Disco was hugely popular in the early 1980s and seems to be making a strong comeback now. The evening was enjoyed by all. I am wondering whether another early 1980s fad – break dancing – may also be making a comeback and if so, Sandrine Yeates will no doubt be able to take this forward given her attempt at it during the Roller Disco!

Upright HJ’ers at the Roller Disco.

40th Anniversary News and Forthcoming Events!

There’s an array of events planned this year, to celebrate our 40th anniversary including:-

  • Roller Disco (now taken place but don’t rule out another!)
  • Brewery and social evenings out
  • Various talks from our members
  • Camping at the rugby club
  • 80s disco
  • TG Lage visit
  • Parkrun 40th special
  • Alf Shrubb memorial race
  • Christmas Dinner
  • Horsham Round being the 40th anniversary ‘day’ celebration

Please keep your eyes peeled on HJ Runs for further news on these events. It’s shaping up to be our busiest but best year as a club. Let’s make our 40th anniversary year something special!

London Marathon Club Places

The draw for the two London Marathon club ballot places was eagerly anticipated by those hoping for a slice of luck. And it was congratulations to Baz Panchal and Tony Hogben who won the respective ballots. Allegedly Baz is not running in his panda outfit for this one.

Marathon Training Sessions

Following on from the above, the Sunday morning marathon training sessions have started with large numbers of HJ’ers turning up to run the respective routes set each week. Remember, you don’t have to be running in a marathon to take part in these sessions. They are extremely good for building your endurance, with many of them taking place on the undulating but peaceful roads which surround our town.

Other Events

Tuesday Night Club Runs

Please continue to take care in the evenings during your runs at this time of year. Head or body torches/lights and bright running gear is a must and please ensure you stay within your group and make the relevant leader aware if you are struggling. If you do happen to trip over, please alert your group leader so they can ensure you are okay to carry on.

Lighter evenings are coming!

Run and Talk Tuesdays

Once a month, a Run and Talk Tuesday takes place, whereby after the Tuesday night session people can gather in the Bridge café for a chat and a catch-up to talk about things either running or non-running related. Please keep your eyes peeled on HJ Runs and the calendar for future events.

Track – Thursday Nights – 6.30pm

Thursday’s nights at the track continue with their popularity, and with a few new coached sessions also throwing variety into the mix.

Just a reminder that its £2 to pay by card (or via your phone if you are savvy enough) – and please arrive at 6.15pm to pay so that everyone (including the volunteers) can be ready to start on the half-hour.

Thursday Night Non-Track Sessions – 6.30pm

The Thursday night non-track events hosted by Claire Butler and Karen England continue to prove a resounding success.

The same applies to Andy Robins, who has also been taking groups out on a Thursday evening.

These sessions are great fun – often a mix of hill-work, fartlek training, interval work and conditioning depending on the week. Again, keep your eyes on the HJ Runs page for upcoming sessions.

Other News and Dates

Vote for VOY and JOY

An email has been sent for you to cast your vote for Volunteer of the Year and Jogger of the Year for 2023. The award will be presented at the AGM in April 2024.

SportsShoes Discount Code

Don’t forget you can use the exclusive HJ SportsShoes code which is posted in the HJ Runs FB private group each month to get a discount on your orders and delivery.

Membership Renewals

Membership renewals are not far away, please look out for your renewal email which should come out to you in early March 2024.

Dates for the Diary (a few clashes this year)

  • 25th February – Brighton Half
  • 3rd March – WSFRL Steyning Stinger
  • 17th March – Balcombe Bull Run
  • 17th March – Leith Hill Half
  • 17th March – Surrey Half
  • 20th March – Brolly Brewing social evening
  • 24th March – Mel’s Milers 10k
  • 24th March – Sussex Grand Prix Hastings Half
  • 24th March – WSFRL Fittleworth 5

As ever, please keep your eye on the calendar on the Joggers website for any additions/updates to the above, and of course our Facebook page too.

Have a great couple of months and, as ever, be lucky.