RIVER ARUN MARATHON

 

This will be the fourth edition of the River Arun Marathon from Sussex Trail events and my third attempt. 2015 was my best time but my worst experience with suffering heatstroke and sickness...

I am hoping this time will not be a repeat performance of that year and much more pleasant. Training has not been so great over winter/spring so to have some mieage out on the trails is always a bonus even if my time is not to be the best?!..

The race number 

 
Runners waiting at the start. Littlehampton Marina

 
Approaching Arundel. Mile 5

Just passing through Arundel. Mile 7


The wobbly Bridge. Mile 9

Approaching the halfway point along South Downs Way


Greetings from the Ultra Bandits at the halfway aid station. Mile 13.6

 
Refill at the halfway 

 
South Downs Way to Amberley. Mile 16

Heading back downhill to Amberley. Munching Cows 

 
Big clouds and lots of greens at North Stoke on the return leg 


 
Back to Arundel at Mile 20

 
Photo courtesy of Nuala Smith

 
Another river medal to add to the set

 
Shawn finished 

 
Stats and route. No PB this year but 13 minutes slower than my best is not too bad..

 
Sadly as the cafe has closed it was local beer for the finish with the medal 

SOUTH DOWNS WAY 50


393 runners arrive to start the 5th edition, South Downs Way race today 

This will be my second attempt of this popular Centurion event. In 2015 I managed a six place finish in 7hr 18min. 

The conditions look to be much warmer with no cloud cover this year. After a lighter winter of training, work and family to juggle with I will be more than happy with a strong, safe finish and to use today as a training aid...


 

Race Bib

This year runners can attend race registration and kit check the night before the start. Myself, and good friends Steve and John decide this will be much easier than waiting in line before the race starts. 

We get to catch up with the Centurion Team, wonderful Nicci Griffin and Race Director James Elson. 

Kit check and number collection is quick and smooth. 

After a good nights rest, better than I usually get before an ultra event. I have a small measure of bulletproof coffee and half an avocado for breakfast. 

I catch a lift in the morning with Steve and Tina to Worthing, collecting Jay (Sussex Trail Events) along the way as he will be sweeping the first leg to Saddlescombe today. 

 
Ultra Running Friends Sharon, Myself, Steve, John, Trevor and June 

It is good to catch up with all the ultra runners from near and far. Mark and June are running their first 50 Miler today and Lee has yet to experience the SDW50.


 
Starting zone with Lee, John, June, Mark, Steve and Trefor

As usual the social catch up flies past and we listen in for the race briefing with just five minutes until we start. 

It is cool and misty out but clear skies and looks to be warming up very quickly today. I have P20 sunscreen on and plan on wearing my cap all day! 

 
Race brief before the 09:00 start 

At 9:00 sharp we head off down the field and follow the track that leads up past the golf course, to the South Downs Way which is just over a mile uphill. 

I can see where the mist has shrouded the downs overnight, but the bright and warm sun is lifting the temperature quickly. 

Once at Chanctonbury and keeping a steady pace on the inclines I can already feel myself warming up. 

Tough Climbs and heat already. Mile 4

Just four miles in and the sun is already shining hot and guinching my thirst.

Chanctonbury Mist. Mile 7

 
 Bostal Hill. Mist has lifted by Mile 10

Once down the hill and into Botolphs, a short section along the River Adur and into the first aid station by the A24. 

I refill my water bottle and have a few cherry tomatoes that I eat while crossing the road. 

Power hiking the steep track up towards Trueleigh Hill, passing cheering supporters and walkers on the way. 

I am feeling good and strong so far, but aware the sun is heating up my body temperature quickly, so keep myslef hydrated, drinking to thirst.


 
Making my way through Saddlescombe

 
Hugs from Mark Dean at Saddlescombe 

 
Saddlescombe Mile 18

 
Looking over to Lewes Downs. Mile 28

I start to feel fatigued and overheated now. The sun is really warming up and making me feel off and sick. 

I keep hydrated and try to graze at the aid stations but falsing myself to eat isn't easy!

 
Famous Yellow Brick Road. Mile 30

Once at Southease I am in better spirits and have started to pick up some pace the last few miles. 

A crowd of support greets me as I arrive. 

I refill, dilute some coke,  munch on some cheese and tomato. Some friendly hugs from lovely Rachael, who is crewing here, then I make my way over the bridge and the steep climb up to Bow Peep...

Pictures taken by Ultra Shawn  

At Bow Peep I am greeted by friends and support which is a much needed boost since the heat and fatigue has slowed my pace considerably... 

I pinch some chocolate coffee beans which actually gives me a boost and the encouragement has worked my spirits up.

 
Meeting Friends at Firle Beacon. Mile 38

Once down the stoned track into Alfriston I am feeling perked up and better on my feet, I have managed to cool my body down with plenty of fluids and an SCap tablet. 

Another warm welcome at the next aid station and help refilling my bottles. I catch up with Graham here, briefly before I focus on the steep climb out to Jevington!

 
Climb to Jevington and enjoying the rolling greens 

 
Climbing to Jevington. Mile 44

I power hike all the way up towards Jevengton and try to pick up some pace on the flat and downhill sections. 

I have enough water to see me to the finish so no need to stop at the last aid station by the Church. 

I remember the long mile climb back up to the trig point before Eastbourne so want to March on and finish now...

Thankful to eventually reach Eastbourne

I play cat and mouse with three other runners who, like me are determined to finish strong and keep a strong steady pace all the way. 

The last few miles to me are always the hardest. Long flat road and no sign of an end...

What feels forever finally becomes the sports track and a lap around until reaching the finish line! 

Just a little lev for the day...

 
 Nice new bling!

 
Finishing in 28th Place overall 

I finish up in the top 30 today and an hour longer than my first attempt in 2015. 

I am happy for a strong result and finish after a tough year of work, family and life commitments. 

My training has been much lighter over winter so to finish today so well and without any issues of injury is a result welcomed and great of base for the next two bigger events...


UltraLuke

THE MOYLEMAN MARATHON


The Moyleman Marathon takes on the South Downs and Lewes Downs in a tough Trail route with steep elevation changes, that has grown popularity with locals and runners from all over the UK. 

The Marathon started in memory of Chris Moyleman who was a keen off road runner to the South Downs. 

254 runners join the third official Moyleman Marathon today in total, including 48 relay teams. 

I was lucky to have sampled this route by invitation in 2014 but have only just been able to attend the official event this year.

Race Number Today 

 
Running Friends: Mark, Mark, Nick, John, Sunday, Myself and Steve

 
Race Briefing at Wallands School Lewes

 
The Start with Paul Sargent leading the way 

 
Heading to Black Cap during the first few miles

 
South Downs Way. Heading towards Castle Hill at Mile 8

Thumbs Up and feeling good

 
South Downs Way. Mile 10 looking over to Lewes Downs 

 
South Downs Way. The Yellow Brick Road towards Southease

 
Southease Checkpoint. Halfway Point 

 
Lewes Downs Mile 24

 
Lewes High Street and close to the finish

 
Map and Stats


Finishers Ale at Harvey's Yard

 
 Sunday enjoying another trail marathon
 
25th overall from 158 finishers