HJ Newsletter May 2023

HJ Newsletter! The good news is the latest version of our newsletter is here and ready for your consumption. Given the number of races, runs and events since the last one it has been quite a beast to pull together, but here goes…

Opening Round

As I sit here now penning the HJ member newsletter, I find myself retrospectively analysing a somewhat bizarre few months and the period from late October to the end of March in particular.

During those oft-icy cold winter months I found myself in an unusually erratic place. The normally outgoing, positive and confident self had been partly overtaken by what, looking back, appears to have been Mr Hyde on a particularly bad day. My behaviour at times over those months was at best inconsistent, and at other moments verging on the seemingly pathetic. I was a little lost.

However, through those ‘dark’ winter times there was a consistent medium which helped clear the head from time to time and ensured sanity would eventually prevail. Running. And running with this wonderful club should never, ever be taken for granted. People say running saves them and there is no question this is true. The uplifting feeling at the end of a run when, however tired we may feel, when the endorphins and endocannabinoids kick in is a sensation like no other. So many of us have unique and very differing reasons to run, but it’s the shared inner spirit which can be lifted thanks to our common goal.

For myself, I was in-part saved by my HJ’er friends David and Sally Malins, with whom I shared a taxi home after the social evening in mid-March. As we parted company on Rusper Road they steered me in the right direction, not only home but also mentally too. I’ll be forever grateful to them for that. Within a fortnight I was back to my old self, and my running took a lift too. I set PBs across a number of races, feeling freed from the chains of winter and my own self-pity. Their kindness was needed more than I realised. And I think that’s the key. Be kind. Always.

Horsham Jogger of the Year awards and AGM 21st April

A number of prestigious awards were handed out at a well-attended AGM which was held at Horsham Sports Club on Friday 21st April.

As ever the AGM was hosted by the Committee, and Ian Dickinson was named Horsham Jogger of the Year, as voted for by members of the club. I think everyone agrees this was a very well-deserved award for Ian, who has been a key feature in both volunteering and participating across several events over the course of the year, including being an ever-present at the WSFRL . A true role model for any runner.

Fiona Clifton won Volunteer of the Year, appropriately timed given her wonderful 14 years’ service as a coach for the club. Thank you, Fiona. Your sessions will be sorely missed by so many.

Luke Minogue won the first ever Eileen Quinton award. The award is appropriately a huge shield given Eileen was such a huge presence at the club (a World Marathon Champion too), and she was inspirational to so many Horsham Joggers over the years. For any newer members to our club, feel free to ask about Eileen as her memory lives on in the minds of so many of us.

Talking of the Committee, the work this group have done over the years and will continue to do (voluntarily) cannot be underestimated and often goes under the radar together with the fantastic, phenomenal volumes of other volunteers we have throughout the club. Many events which take place would simply not exist without the extraordinary amount of hard work which takes place behind the scenes. We are a club of circa 600 members now, so this is no mean feat.

Races and Runs

Talking of events let us move on and see what’s been happening with races. As ever there has been a humungous amount of running taking place. There are simply too many races and individual stories since late March to cover in this one newsletter, but here’s a selection:-

Cranleigh 14/21 – 26th March

A number of HJ’ers took on this testing event. Gary Tomlinson won the 21-mile race by a whopping 7 minutes to claim victory. Relative newcomer to the club but a regular on the Sunday and Tuesday runs Polly Henderson took a terrific 7th place in the female race, and there are special shout outs to Brian Frost who ran the fastest lap in his age category, and to Penny Barron who ran the third fastest lap in her age category.

Mel’s Milers 10k – 26th March

More than 80 of us turned out for the annual Mel’s Miler 10k race. Extremely muddy and wet conditions made the course somewhat trickier to navigate than usual, but the event was still a success (apart from the lack of medals on the day for anyone who finished over 60 minutes that is). Malcolm Footer didn’t quite live up to his name, as he slid over on one of the opening turns during the race, but fortunately didn’t injure himself ahead of his Marathon the following week. There was also some HJ medal joy too with Tom MacDonald 3rd overall, Simon Holmes and Pete O’Connell winning trophies for heading up their respective age categories. Rosie Inman was first Horsham Jogger female home, just dipping under the magic 45-minute barrier.

Horsham Joggers at the Mel's Milers 10k
Horsham Joggers at the Mel’s Milers 10k

Brighton Marathon – 2nd April

We were also very well represented (both running and volunteering) at the Brighton Marathon at the start of April. A number of our team were taking part in their first ever marathons, and some have credited the winter Sunday morning club training runs for giving them both the confidence and also the ability to complete the 26.2 mile course. A special shout out to Baz Panchal for completing the course in a Panda outfit. Baz raised a lot of money for a terrific cause (WWF-UK), although I don’t recall him ever training in his Panda outfit on the Sunday morning runs earlier in the year!

Baz Panchal wearing a panda outfit
Baz Panchal and panda outfit

London Landmarks Half Marathon – 2nd April

Four of us took part in the London Landmarks Half marathon, along with approximately 23,000 other runners from across the UK. Cool conditions, together with a random appearance by the legendary GB athlete and kudos commentator Steve Cram halfway along the course, helped Matthew Horne (1 hr 58), Steph Charman (2 hrs 17), Chris Moore (1 hr 36) and Simon Holmes (1 hr 27) all set PBs on the day.

Sussex Relays – 8th April

The Sussex Athletics Championships Road Relays took place on 8th April in Brighton. As usual, Pete O’Connell steered the ship on the day with both mens and womens ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams competing in the relay course down in Brighton. Notable mentions from the day are Simon Perkins 1st m50, Dean Angell 3rd m60 (1 second ahead of Pete O’Connell), and the gold medal went to the HJ over 60s team of Dean, Pete and Steve Wigmore. Another notable mention is the tremendous run by new club member and track regular Kat Owens running a fantastic 12.10 for the women’s team.

Boston Marathon – 17th April

A couple of us made the trip including Polly Henderson (3 hrs 7) and Maria Gabriel (3 hrs 51). Some of you will be aware that Graeme Hull recently moved to this beautiful city and we all enjoy his regular updates on the HJ Runs Facebook group page.

Polly and Maria with medals
Polly and Maria with their medals

London Marathon – 23rd April

The usual HJ army of volunteers attended the London Marathon on 23rd April, wonderfully organised by the effervescent Phil Liberman and Claire Miller. There was a very good HJ turnout of runners too and some exceptional runs and PBs were set.

However, the real heroes of the day are those who ran the race having overcome personal illness and tragedy.

Special mentions must therefore go to anyone who ran the race as a direct result of personal suffering. Tariq Jahangir ran the Marathon to raise funds for the vitally important CRY charity, and of course Lou Johnson (who has run for the club for a number of years now) who ran the Marathon for MacMillan Cancer Support having successfully recovered from cancer herself.

There will be other stories amongst the HJ’er ranks and it is simply inspiring to see people turning negative events in their lives into positives.

Everyone watching the Marathon gave great vocal support and we had terrific fun trying to spot the HJ’ers amongst the hordes of runners.

Tariq Jahangir at the London Marathon
Tariq Jahangir at the London Marathon

Dubrovnik Half – 30th April

A handful of our troops braved the trip to Dubrovnik. The success of last year’s visit was followed up by a return to this majestic city once again albeit with a few new faces making the trip this time around. The weather for the Half Marathon was very warm, and the famously steep hill at the end of the course again proved a tough one to overcome, which of course the HJ team managed with aplomb.

Three Forts Challenge (30th April)

Rob Crocker came 3rd overall in the 5-miler race. A very well-placed effort after picking up an injury and changing his race plans the week before.

Haywards Heath 10 Mile – 30th April

As ever, the club was very well represented at the Haywards Heath 10 miler. The Horsham Joggers ladies won the team prize. A fantastic achievement especially given the large turnout of other clubs on the day and again shows the phenomenal strength of runners we have at our club.

HJ Ladies at the Haywards Heath 10 mile race
HJ Ladies at the Haywards Heath 10 mile race

Spinnaker Tower ‘run’ – 28th April

A slightly unusual event took place thanks to the ever-rapid feet tapping of Sarah Frost, who along with a couple of other HJ’ers took on the challenge of a vertical running race up the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. Unsurprisingly, Sarah was first female home in 3 mins 23 seconds.

Incredibly, the overall winner of the event had travelled from Malaysia specifically to attend this and climbed the 560 stairs in just over 2 minutes!

‘Runfest’ Worthing Half Marathon and 10k – 30th April

The usual barrage of us descended on Worthing for the RunFest 10k and Half Marathon. Once again there were some fabulous runs, including but not limited to Andi Marfleet (1 hr 25), Elisabeth Sessions (2 hrs 31), Barnaby Smith (2 hrs 40), and Malcolm Footer (41.21) and Jane Adams (1 hr 17) over the 10k.

The main Worthing 10k race is due to take place on 4th June.

Run to the Sea 50k – 6th May

Horsham Joggers were first home in the team competition of the 50k ‘Run to the Sea’, which started from Christs Hospital on the Downs Link and ended on the seafront in Brighton. This run was all the more impressive given the awful weather conditions the team had to put up with during the event, but it didn’t stop our team of Anna McLauchlan, Paul Davis, Michael Dargue, Tim Hampson, Brian Frost and Alan Pettitt romping home ahead of our rivals.

Other News

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. The discount now also includes the Brooks range too. Remember though these codes are for exclusive use by Horsham Joggers and are not for sharing!

Membership renewal and numbers

We now have approximately 600 club members. There has been a staggering increase in membership numbers over the past three or four years which once again shows how important our club is to the local Horsham community.

Parkrun returns to Horsham Park

Contrary to Paul Aylett deceiving a few park runners on 1st April by claiming the run was back in Horsham Park (apparently some people did actually turn up in the park that day), parkrun has now officially returned to its spiritual home on 6th May after its longest winter spell in Southwater on record. As ever, you will find many Horsham Joggers often helping with the set up and marshalling of this vital weekly run.

Coming up

Some of the other items and races of note coming up are:

Horsham 10K –  14th May

Please spread the word as at the time of typing there are still 175 places available for this challenging but ultimately fun 10k race, which starts at 11am. And of course you are helping the club raise funds too, as well as winning a medal! There is also a juniors race which starts at 10.15am. With a number of Horsham Joggers volunteering it also means you should receive rapturous cheering and applause as you go round the course too.

Club Time Trial 5k

The first of the Roosthole time trial runs takes place on Tuesday 9th May. This is now the set location for this event after the success of last year. Those of us that remember the old and hilly double loops of the Itchingfield time trial will be secretly pleased the new location has once again taken preference. It is of course more favourable to risk being run over by a push-bike opposed to a car, and most of us who ran Itchingfield will recount a few hairy moments with motor vehicles in the latter years of this event.

Naked Run – postponed until 20th June

The Naked Run in Horsham Park was postponed from April to June due to the deluge of rainfall which battered the Park over the spring months. Remember, you do wear clothes to this event just no timing devices please!

Other Race Dates

  • 21st May – Run Gatwick 10k
  • 24th May – WSFRL Chichester Trundle View
  • 4th June – Worthing 10k
  • 7th June – WSFRL Arunners Beach Run
  • 11th June – Wisborough Green 10k
  • 18th June – Madehurst 10k
  • 24th June – WSFRL Downland Dash

Tuesday night runs

The Tuesday night club runs from the Bridge continue to be a success. So much thanks as ever must go to the group run leaders and particularly to those who have had to step up due to absences over the past few months.

Remember: in the summer months, on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, we start from Horsham Park rather than the Bridge. The Naked Run and the Summer Handicap will also start from the Park.

Thursday night Track

The track sessions (£2 a session) continue to be a roaring success, with both the coached and main track sessions very well represented (at least when it wasn’t tipping down with rain). Unfortunately, the track is due to be closed on 11th and 18th May though please check the FB page for potential alternative runs taking place on these dates. At the time of typing the Tube next to the track is still due to be open on 11th May.

5k to 10k sessions

The clambering calls for 5k to 10k training sessions has been heeded and a lot of hard work behind the scenes has been taking place to get these organised. Further details regarding these sessions will follow in due course but more details are on our website under Keep On Running.

Social Events

Further social events are in the pipeline for later in the year, including a New Forest Park Run and Camping weekend over the weekend of 14-16 July.  Please check the FB page for further details regarding this.

Other dates for social events will follow so please keep an eye on social media and the Facebook page for these.

That’s all for now folks, have a good early summer and let’s hope the sun shines a little more than it has in recent months. Be lucky one and all.