HJ Newsletter July – August

It has been a couple of months since the last newsletter, so much has happened, and I’ve been on holiday too hence the delay. The good news is I won’t tell you about my holiday, however I will tell you as much as I can about the events, races, and achievements of the runners at our unique and amazing club.

The Pain and the Glory

One thing nearly everyone at Horsham Joggers can identify with is that we have a drive and a determination to be a better runner, often for various reasons and regardless of experience, age, or injury situation. A family member remarked the following to me recently, “You seem obsessed with running. You take it too seriously and it’s all you seem to do”.

Now, I was little perturbed by this. In fact, had I not been listening to a Steve Ovett podcast about why he collapsed at the 1984 LA Olympics at the time, I might well have taken this so-called relative’s comment seriously.

I flicked off the podcast, and reluctantly also paused the YouTube video I had been watching at the same time, which just so happened to be the individual qualifying heats of the 100m from the 1988 Seoul Olympics (I’d made it to heat 5). Analysing my position – which in my mind was about 40 metres into that particular sprint – and wondered if perhaps my relative had a point.

But I’m not sure they do.

Running is integral to all of us at the club. It’s something we do independently yet in groups, is so personal to each of us yet at the same time we are also very happy for others who achieve. And ‘others’ might include fellow HJ’ers, maybe friends who run but who have not yet (a little suspiciously) joined our wonderful club, or indeed it could be cheering on the world’s top athletes who are performing in front of thousands on the world stage.

It pulls on the heart strings when seeing a world class performer return from injury to achieve glory (think Kelly Holmes, 2004), or watching an equally impressive athlete suddenly leap in agony with a torn hamstring during the most important race of their life (think Derek Redmond, 1992) and this could just as easily be one of us at the club.

It could be one of us coming back from a long-term injury (think Keith Valentine) or running fast again after starting a family (think Becky Rankin or Theresa Ward), or simply just running well having thought at one point you may never have the chance to do so again (think many of us). It’s very hard at the depths of injury to remain positive but it is vital we do. There is always a way back.

We have endless examples within our own club, but the point is the emotions of a runner can be the same whether you’re at the Olympics representing Team GB, or competing a West Sussex Fun Run League race representing the HJ’ers to gain us an all-important club point.

So, I’ll ignore my relative’s comments. Instead, I’ll move on to watching the remaining heats of the 100m Seoul Olympics. I’ll see if I can replicate those performances at the Broadbridge Heath track on a Thursday night (albeit a few seconds slower and without anabolic steroids, think Ben Johnson). And I’ll take doing this as seriously as I want to, whilst I’m injury-free and most importantly because I currently can. And I hope all of us at HJ’ers can do the same when we’re in the same place.

Get Well Soon

Wishing a speedy recovery to a few HJ’ers who have undertaken some form of surgery lately, Gavin Philps being one and who has made a terrific return to running already.

Additionally, club legend Steve Wilson underwent a triple heart bypass operation in late June. It was a delight to see Steve back walking at a Thursday night track session last week, as ever keen to return.

Also, wishing anyone with an injury a swift return. Committee member and regular runner at most events Marcus Leach has recently been injured and I know he has found reaching out to HJ Runs very helpful for advice, as our members often have encountered similar injuries in the past.

Stay positive all.

Unsung Heroes

The unsung hero for this edition of the newsletter is Geoff Parker

Geoff has been a key organiser of the Horsham 10k for a long time, and this year we received some fantastic feedback, not least from the race adjudicator who gave us a glowing analysis in the Run Britain Race Report.

Without the efforts of individuals like Geoff races like this would not be so successful Thank you for all your hard work, Geoff.

Diane Berry presenting Honorary Member certificate to Geoff Parker
Diane Berry presenting Honorary Member certificate to Geoff Parker

Mick Duplock’s 80th birthday

Mick completed the final set of his 20 laps at the Broadbridge Heath track session on 20th July, and two days later celebrated his 80th birthday to rapturous applause at parkrun. I think most of us are in awe of Mick’s steely determination to complete the 80 laps of the track in total, and also the other races and events he takes part in over the course of a year.

A big thank you must go to Paul Aylett, Julia Johnson and Crispin Scott (and others) who regularly assist Mick at events. Happy Birthday, Mick!

A group of runners on a track
Mick Duplock with Horsham Joggers at one of his track sessions

Races and Runs

I had anticipated a quieter couple of months on the racing front. And how wrong I was! There were some terrific races and runs across the period and I’ve tried to capture as many as I can, but as ever we do so many it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all, and at times I will accidentally miss a few out, talking of which…

Wisborough Green 5k (revisited)

I included the results from the Wisborough Green 10k last time out, however I neglected to mention the 5k race which had some notable results by a few HJ’ers. Our very own Tom MacDonald actually won the overall 5k race in a terrific time of 18.02, and Jo Tomlinson was first lady (23.06) just ahead of Miranda Huisman (23.16).

Tom must have been angry with me for missing him out of the newsletter last time around, because less than a fortnight after Wisborough Green he decided to run the ‘Chamonix Vertical Kilometer’, which is pretty much exactly as it says and is part of the Marathon du Mont Blanc weekend. Tom did the 1000m ‘vertical’ elevation gain run, and a total of 4.05km, in less than an hour!

A male runner with a mountain backdrop
Tom MacDonald

Madehurst 10k – 18th June

A number of HJ’ers competed in the hilly Madehurst 10k on a hot and sticky morning, including (but not limited to) Clive Walker, Elisabeth Sessions, Ian Hines and Jane Adams.

A group of runners
At the Madehurst 10k

Naked Run 5k – Horsham Park 20th June

A run of a different kind took place on 20th June as a whopping 84 HJ’ers took part in a 5k race without any timing equipment around Horsham Park. Each runner had to ‘estimate’ their own finishing time and the closest to their own time won the event.

Congratulations therefore go to Stuart Marks who was just 1 second off his predicted time, with Tito Sacchi and Mark Ashby close behind being just 3 seconds off their predicted times. Interestingly of the eighty-four HJ’ers 63 were faster than their own predicted finishing times, perhaps alluding to the fact we generally underestimate ourselves before a run.

Duncan Craig from Runners World was a special guest at this event, and he took time to chat to a few HJ’ers before and after the event. He did remark that he enjoyed the event so much he might return next year if we do the same again. He was also surely relieved that nobody did actually turn up naked to the event, otherwise the article in Runners World may well have taken a very different angle.

A group of runners
A big turnout for the “Naked” run

Race to the Stones 100k – 8th July

Yes, you read that correctly. 100k was the attempt successfully made by 3 HJ’ers, namely Linzi Williams, Alan Pettitt and Brian Frost along the Ridgeway from Lewknor in Oxfordshire to the Stones at Avebury in Wiltshire with a section along the Thames.

A challenging route with extremely mixed weather which occasionally turned a little thunderous. This was a terrific effort by all three, and particularly Alan Pettitt who had to pull out of a previous 100k three weeks beforehand having ‘only’ completed 70k of that particular race.

West Sussex Fun Run League

There have been a number of WSFRL races over the past couple of months, beautifully orchestrated by Julie Jochimsen. There was the Downland Dash on 24th June, the Roundhill Romp at Steyning on 5th July, the Hove Hornets Stinger on 9th July, the Henfield Seven Stiles on 23rd July, and the Worthing Striders Highdown Hike on 2nd August.

Each HJ’er who enters helps the team to gain points by competing in these events, and these points are tallied to each club’s score and overall league position in the WSFRL.

There were some quirks and arguments along the way during these 5 recent WSFRL races. The debate continues regarding which of these is the toughest course, is it the Roundhill Romp (according to Emma Walters) or the Hove Stinger (according to Lee Walker)?

Not only that, but the Henfield ‘Seven Stiles’ clearly doesn’t have seven stiles any longer, which is a bit confusing for anyone running the race counting stiles along the way, and then finding themselves at the finish line having only gone over four. And before those runners unnecessarily report themselves to the race director for skipping part of the course and worry about facing a lifetime ban, the name of a place (or event) may not actually be replicated in reality. For example, Sevenoaks in Kent should now theoretically be renamed Oneoak, after six of the famous oak trees came down during the Hurricane of October ’87. And the less said about where the name of the ‘Roundhill Romp’ came from the better!

Anyway, much like the storm of ’87 us fantastic HJ’ers once again have blown away the opposition and we remain top of the league after these events, with the next one at Tilgate on 3rd September. Keep up the good work!

Bewl 15 mile race – 2nd July (Sussex Grand Prix event)

A hardy group of HJ’ers turned up to run the 15 mile Bewl race on 2nd July. This race takes you around the Bewl Water reservoir and is a perfect event for runners looking to push themselves. Well done to everyone who took part including Brian Frost, Alan Pettitt, Rebecca Ramsey, Jo Stone, Emma Walters and Mark Newman. Fairly sure there were a couple of other HJ’ers who took part (Tim Hampson for one as he’s in the photo and uploaded it to Strava!) however the official results neglected to show these individuals as HJ’ers.

A group of runners
At the Bewl race

Goodwood 10k – 2nd July

Susan Wilcox was delighted to be randomly picked out of the hat by Florian Yeates back in April, as part of the free entry prize draw for Goodwood. She elected to run in the 10k and ran a terrific time of 1 hr 7 mins and 29 seconds. Hadley O’Dwyer was also picked out of the hat for the freebie back in April, and stormed through in 41.32.

Margaret Wadman and Claire Gray had to actually pay to enter the race, but that didn’t stop them both running an excellent 48.22 and 1 hr 7 mins and 45 seconds respectively.

Susan Wilcox
Susan Wilcox

Tuesday Night Runs

The Tuesday night runs continue to be as popular as ever. With a range of running groups to suit all paces these chatty group runs are extremely popular every week, so much so that even the local non-running Horsham community have requested our help at times during the hour-long runs we make. Ian Hines’ 12-minute mile group on 4th July went above the call of duty by assisting a broken-down car which was blocking the road.

No doubt they were ‘exhausted’ by the end of it.

A group of runners pushing a car
I didn’t sign up for this!

Roosthole Time Trial – Events 3 and 4 (11th July and 8th August)

The final two time trials took place up at Roosthole and the overall results are in.

The best improvement in time overall was made by Caroline Bransden, who improved by 4 minutes 38 seconds, closely followed home by Robert Swan who improved his time by 4 minutes 18 seconds.

Matt Horne was next best improved and his tremendous year of running continued by setting some PBs along the way, improving his time by 3 minutes 36 seconds. Behind him was Steve Hook who has been an ever-present and improved his time from 40.46 down to 37.23 (an improvement of 3 minutes 23 seconds overall). Steve has shown tremendous commitment, enthusiasm, and persistence at each time trial despite being at the back each time.

Remember you don’t need to have participated in all (or any) of previous time trials to take part. You can just rock up on the night and run the 5k (even if you haven’t run a time trial before) and the best part about it is the atmosphere and general camaraderie that this event has. It’s all about personal improvement. However, you will need to wait until 2024 for the next one!

Track Sessions

The Thursday night track sessions (meet at The Bridge track at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start, cost £2 by card) continue to increase in numbers. And word about our evening sessions has obviously spread to the wider Athletics community, as on 13th July we were joined by two top British discus throwers by the names of Jade Lally and Kirstie Law.

Jade won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and represented GB at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the same year she set her PB with a throw of 65.10m, whereas Kirstie beat Jade at the 2020 British Athletics championships.

It was impressive to see both repeatedly launch the discus to massive distances, however no doubt they will have been equally impressed watching us HJ’ers going round the track and doing Jane/Lawrence’s sessions. I neglected to ask them if they had paid the £2 entry though (so they can pay £4 next time they turn up!).

Summer Handicap – 18th July

An excellent turnout of 73 HJ’ers ran the Summer Handicap on 18th July. This event is one of the best represented on the annual club calendar, and the 2023 version saw Viv Underhill (Group B) take 1st place. Coming home in 2nd place was Chris Moore just ahead of the 3rd placed Neil Barnes.

I think everyone who attended will say the event was a success, and congratulations goes to Viv on her victory.

A female runner
Viv Underhill at the Handicap race

Wakehurst Willow 5 miler – 19th July

The awkward and hilly 5 miler at Wakehurst saw the HJ’ers team well represented with 26 of us amongst a total field of nearly 400 runners. The actual course record was smashed by 90 seconds (unfortunately not by a HJ’er) but there were some notable HJ’er finishers.

Our top 3 men home were Matt Mason (31.28), Tom Robertson (34.46), and yours truly Simon Holmes (34.58, once I’d learnt how to tie my shoelaces).

The top 3 women home, none of whom had any issues with their shoelaces, were Lucinda Potten (39.19), Jill Page (47.17), and Rachel Thomas (47.36).

Other notable HJ’er finishers were Rob Shapland (35.36), Leo Maclachlan (35.45), Christina Harrison (49.56), Laura Holmes – in her first race for over a year – (52.24), Margreet Potter (52.44), Yuko Casey (53.11), Peter Helliwell (54.04), Ian Hines (66.38) and Rachel Detnon (69.21).

A group of runners under an inflatable arch
Joggers at the Wakehurst Willow

Midnight Marathon – 29th July

This run took place along the South Downs Way and the Queen Elizabeth Park and was completed by Nicola Smith and Helen Woods.

Both ran this in 6 hours 9 minutes and 55 seconds. Sheer admiration goes to anyone who runs a marathon during the night time, and the medal is pretty funky too!

Harting 10 Miler – 6th August

Seven HJ’ers ran the Harting 10 miler, which is a scenic multi-terrain race in South Harting (Petersfield) organised by Liss Runners.

The team did superbly, running as follows:-

Brian Frost (1 hr 24), Alan Pettitt (1 hr 27), Paul Chantler (1 hr 27), Rebecca Ramsey (1 hr 29), Ian Wilcox (1 hr 35), Richard Cherriman (1 hr 37), Robert Jochimsen (1 hr 42).

A group of runners
Joggers at the Harting 10 race

King Alfred’s Way challenge – 11th August

My opener to the newsletter talked about commitment to running, and sometimes there is heartache along the way, but that the key is ultimately you come back stronger from a disappointment.

Mark Gibson set out to run 350km at the King Alfred’s Way challenge on 11th August. Mark ‘only’ managed 88 miles (141 km) but pulled out once he realised his ultimate goal of completing the course in under 85 hours was unachievable. A mixture of the conditions and just not feeling right meant Mark did the correct thing and stopped his run. He will come back stronger again no doubt.

Other News and dates

Vote for VOY and JOY

Please get your votes in for Volunteer of the Year and Jogger of the Year. You can submit your own nominations by emailing the Committee (or individual Committee member) with the Horsham Jogger you wish to see nominated.

Horsham Round – 28th August (Bank Holiday Monday)

Some teams are already being put together for the forthcoming Horsham Round, which takes place on the Bank Holiday Monday at the end of August. Roger Johnson is kindly co-ordinating this event again.

There has already been a little assistance from Rob Jochimsen who has been busy trimming the hedges and verges along part of the course. If anyone has a very large hedge which needs pruning, Rob is your man…although if you are in his team for the Horsham Round you may want to make sure he doesn’t take you on the wrong ‘route’.

A hedge next to a road
Well done Rob!

SportsShoes code

Don’t forget you can use the Sportsshoes code as put up in the FB private forum each month for discount on your orders and delivery. Remember though that these codes are for exclusive use by Horsham Joggers only and are not for sharing!

Tuesday Night Runs

The Tuesday night club runs from the Bridge continue to be extremely popular. However, please keep your eyes peeled to the FB page and the calendar for any changes to the meeting place, and also remember that club events which are held on a Tuesday night usually take precedence.

Thursday Night Track

The track sessions (£2 a session) take place every Thursday night at The Bridge (arrive 6.15 to pay for a 6.30 start) with both the coached and main track sessions increasing in numbers. Also, check on the FB page for any other runs/events taking place on a Thursday evening (such Claire Butler’s Games in the Park, etc).

5k to 10k ‘Keep on Running’ course

These sessions began on Tuesday 20th June and have been a roaring success so far. Thanks to all the helpers making this so popular.

Barns Green Half Marathon Training

Sunday morning runs started on 2nd July and have been very well attended, at times well over 30 runners have turned up to these. The runs have moved to 8am start (meeting at 7.45am at the Bridge) and are suitable for anyone training for a Half Marathon (doesn’t have to be Barns Green!).

Dates of Other Races/Events

  • 20th August – Henfield Half
  • 28th August – Horsham Round (see above)
  • 2nd September – Tribe and Maverick Run Free Half Marathon or 10k
  • 3rd September – WSFRL at Tilgate (Saints and Sinners)
  • 10th September – Littlehampton 10k
  • 17th September  – Outrun Cancer, Patching 5k/10k
  • 17th September – Run Reigate Half/10k/5k
  • 17th September – Sussex Grand Prix at Hellingly
  • 24th September – Barns Green Half/10k/5k

Please keep your eye on the calendar on the main website for any additions/updates to the above.

Thanks everyone, see you next time.

Simon Holmes