Post Race Report :: Brighton Marathon by Becca Ashby :: 2017

I hadn’t planned to do Brighton Marathon for the second time, but I won this place courtesy of the ‘raffle’ at the ATC awards night.

I completed the course in 5hrs and 30 mins which is a PB for me! Pretty pleased with that considering it appeared to be the hottest day of the year, I stopped at every water station (apart from the 2 that ran out of water!) and stopped for a wee 4 times!

My training was pretty lapse sadly. I had over trained for a marathon a couple of years ago and ended up hating running and getting injured, so kind of went completely the other way this time!

My ‘training plan’ consisted of a 10 mile run, a 14.5 mile run and a 22 mile run! Not sure this low level of activity is recommended but hey shows anything is possible if you are stubborn and put your mind to it! lol

Probably could have gone a tad faster as well but I got lazy in middle and walked a lot more than I needed to! (Plus I enjoy chatting to people too much as I go around!!)

The last 6 miles flew by and I finished pretty strong! Enjoyed it so much that i’ve already entered for next year! Might even join my ATC team mates for some training sessions this time! 😉

Post Race Report :: Cranbrook Triathlon by Cullum Parker :: June 2017

Super Sprint Tri No 2 of 2017

So it was my second Tri, slightly longer distances this time 450m pool swim, 22km ride and 5km trail run in the woods (with hills!!). Overall times, well only professional/serious triathletes worry about those; I’m more interested in T-shirts and medals!

Quite a few ATC members took part in this Tri based in rural Kent.

They say life is about the journey and learning as you go along. So what lessons did I learn form this Tri (and apply from the first)?  Well here’s a few…

Lesson one: Gravelled/hardstanding transition areas hurt feet. A lot.  Remember to pack spare sandals/flip flops/trainers.

Lesson two: Be grateful when the ATCer in front (you know who you are Peter Heckel) is so zoomy in the pool you have a free run for you own version of freestyle x breast stroke x doggy paddle, and the zoomy ATCer behind (you know who you are Sarah Spencer) gets delayed with a missing timing chip so you have nobody behind you for a lane or two – though to be fair they quickly caught up!

Lesson three: Enjoy staggered starting positions. There is no way of knowing where you came in the ‘race’ when you all start at different times (like Hythe Bay). I like this set up!

Lesson four: Do not take as long as your last tri in transition. Having a family member or friend giving you a pensive/stern stare surprisingly reduces time spent in transition!

Lesson five: Always stop at a ‘Stop’ sign. I don’t care if it adds 20 seconds to my cycle ride. I want to complete and get home safely. Not worth the disqualification, or worse.

Lesson six: Save time on the bike ride by not saying hello to fellow supporting ATCers riding to Cranbrook. 🙂 But to be fair that gave me an extra boost! And never mind I’m only completing not competing, I’d rather be friendly when Tri-ing in ATC club colours 🙂

Lesson seven: Running. Probably best to do some actual running before the event…

Lesson eight: Never underestimate the secret weapon of triathletes. This takes the form of supporters.  Support was focused to the transition/finish areas and the extra boost this provides is immeasurable. And don’t forget those who race with you and the race marshals can also be a source of this strength. The extra ommpf having a fellow triathlete giving you encouragement is but another reason why triathlons are so great.

Lesson nine: Make sure you have family or friends to take group photo at the end – see pic!

Lesson ten: Try to remember lessons for next Tri. Especially lesson seven and eleven.

Lesson eleven: Have fun!

Lesson twelve: Go home and start looking for your next event/adventure 🙂

Here endeth the lessons.

Post Race Report :: Hythe Bay Tri by Cullum Parker :: May 2017

This was my first dip into the ‘tri’ scene, and what fun it was!

Somewhat irrationally I decided in early 2017 to sign up for a super Sprint Tri (250m pool swim, 16km and 5km run); no idea what came over me.  But as is often the case with triathletes, it is best to sign up first and ask questions later!

So in time honoured fashion I signed up with no idea what to expect except having to cycle in wet clothes.

Luckily help was at hand with the various members of Ashford Tri Club.  Not only did they run an ‘intro to tri’ session before the event, but I must say that it is one of the best Super Tri I have taken part in. Luckily the weather helped; sunny with light winds. But more than that, the Tri had what I would call a family-friendly feel to it. No showing off or feeling that you didn’t fit in.  People of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and from all over; there to take part in the best sport I know!

It was well-organised, with ATC’ers, family, friends and members of the public cheering you on. It is hard to express how important such support is when you are trying to complete your first proper 5km ‘run’ ever.

Thankfully a friendly answer to where I layout my transition gear from Alex Keenan, a stern but comprehensive talk from Julia Abbott at the swim (you know I’m only joking it was quite rightly important and you delivered it excellently), friendly ‘come ons’ from Adey Porter, Garry (I’m the Chairman don’t you know) Curley, and Paul Barron on the bike leg, and a Jelly Baby from Claire Brooker for the final leg, to name but a few (sorry those I have left out), and the cheering support along the way all helped me.

Indeed, such was the support that not only did I sign up for further Tri’s in 2017, but I joined ATC. The support, coaching, guidance from all members, whether coach, committee member, or plain ‘ole ATCer is phenomenal 🙂

And back to the main bit, if you’re thinking about giving a Tri a go, there are few introductions better than Hythe Bay – roll on 2018!  (Oh and a pretty decent medal too)

Post Race Report :: by Cullum Parker :: August 2017

Its the taking part that counts: that’s what I told myself for my first Sprint Distance Triathlon – that’s 750m (first open water swim too), 20km bike and a 5km run.

Swim was hard, I felt a bit wobbly getting out of the water and onto terra firma. Bike ride was pretty good; except for skidding on the descent from Peter’s Bridge owing to a quickly appearing van.  But recovered, straightened up and flew right.

The run? Well that was almost a disaster, the Achilles or something in that area, twinged after the first 100 metres, so was more a ‘jalk’ than run. But I got over the finish line and importantly the medal – what more could you want?

Lots to learn, improve, focus and succeed on next time. But without tri-ing we’ll never know if we can succeed!

Marathon du Medoc :: Mandy Cooper :: 10th Sept 2016

Back in September a few of us travelled by train to the city of Bordeaux in France to take part in the highly acclaimed 32 nd Marathon du Medoc. We were staying at a hotel in the City centre, but the marathon starts and finishes in the little town of Pauillac in the heart of the Medoc region on the right bank of La Gironde. Travel to and from the marathon and expo (for bib collection the day before) was organised by a local company Tutti Quanti.

The marathon is famed for its love of wine! The 26.2 miles actually takes you through some 21 vineyards, where the aid stations are stocked with wine, water and various food items. An unwritten rule of the marathon, also, is that participants are encouraged to dress up – this year’s theme being tales and legends.

So, the day of the marathon dawned and the hotel provided its usual buffet breakfast at 5:30, as most of the guests were actually taking part in the marathon. Most of the guests were either British, Australian or Chinese. A rather surreal sight in the breakfast room with the colourful costumes and outfits being worn by marathon runners as they tucked in to bacon, eggs, coffee. And cake (OK, just cake for me then?).

At 6:15 we boarded the coach and headed for Pauilac, Dave dressed as St George, Vic and friends wearing their “carry me” outfits and me dressed as Ziggy Stardust (despite the purple make up being “waterproof” it was already getting hot, at 25 degrees, so I did wonder if it would last even until the race started). We made our way to the start line in the centre of the town, surrounded by just about everyone in fancy dress – Cinderellas, wizards and witches, Dorothies, Flintstones, even Jesus! Gathering at the start line I thought the lady next to me was dressed as Pippa Midddleton. Then realised that actually it was Pippa Middleton, with her boyfriend dressed as French footballer Zidan (there were quite a few Zidans). Some of the costumes were amazing, there were chariots and floats and to be honest I forgot that we were about to run a marathon as I thought we were in the middle of a carnival! But suddenly the race started and we trotted over the start line some 15 minutes later.

The race took us through the town, and the first “aid station” appeared a few meters up the road, but due to the bottle neck at this point we had to miss this one. The plan was to get the first half completed and then make the most of the aid stations, as there was a strict time limit of 6 ½ hours to complete. But, I’m hopeless at sticking to a plan, and we were stuck in enjoying the aid stations by mile 2. At most of the chateaux the wine was given out in plastic cups, and there were only a few mouthfuls in each cup, but some vineyards had several different types of wine (all red) and it seemed rude to not to try a few. Some of the vineyards had live bands playing, too, so there was a bit of dancing to be had. Dave and I managed to do the first half in well under 3 hours, which was pretty good going, with the heat, the wine and the dancing.

Vic and the boys were way ahead at this point. From about 32km the food at the aid stations became a bit more adventurous than the cheese biscuits, fruit and cake that had previously been offered. There were barbequed burgers, meat platters, oysters to name a few. Then, 1 km from the finish when you were just about to flake out with the heat, they were handing out ice creams!


We managed to cross the finish line in 6:25 (with a chip time of 6:12). Very well timed to get our medals, souvenir rucksack, bottle of Cru in a souvenir box and a rose for the ladies! Just over the finish line there was a huge tent with yet more wine, and beer, as much as you could drink for all marathon finishers. We then hobbled back to our coach to get transported back to Bordeaux, where we were joined by a group of Aussies from the hotel and we finished a fantastic day in style! (“Lets go Daaaancing”!)

Battle of The Somme :: Ruth Goddard :: 18th November 2016

ruthgoddard01On Friday the 18th of November I took part in The Battle of The Somme Challenge at Samphire Hoe.

6 hours to complete as many 3.8 mile loops.

This year marks the 100th year anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles in history, of which there were over 57 thousand casualties. The first day being on the 1st of July and the last on the 18th of November. We were reminded about this at the race briefing as some of the runners had completed the same challenge on the 1/7/16 and the time between, men had fought bravely for their country.

We all stood on the slope that leads out from the visitor centre at the nature reserve and listened to The Last Post and paid our respects. I was shaking due to the cold and I reminded myself of those heroic souls. I also looked up and saw Julie and Mandy in front of me amongst other faces from my running family.

The race began with the blowing of a trench whistle and we were off.

I toddled up the hill and was faced with an issue immediately. COWS. Now they all got a fright too and started cantering all over the place as multicoloured / fluorescent runners were closing in on them. I felt like cantering in the opposite direction and getting out of there!

I spent the first lap with Louise, who I know from Ashford Run England. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and we caught up on general chit chat as I de-layered. I looked up and hoped for a bit of cloud as I prefer it cooler. There was no wind so a lovely sunny start.

After the 1st lap I had some pigs in blankets pringles and went off for the second lap. This was an out and back and the wind started to pick up on my way back in.

By the third, the clouds were looming and I could no longer see Dungeness Power Station. I also saw lightning over France. For the following three laps it was a case of covering up as much as possible so only my eyes could be seen as we were treated to stabby rain in one direction and in the other, a cold wind on the back of my neck. Like I said earlier though, no complaining and my aim was to stay cheerful and smiley.

There were lots of high fives and the cows didn’t attack me so that made me enjoy it even more. I had a cup of tea on the way round on my penultimate lap and that was lovely jubbly. I enjoyed my last lap as the sun came out and I sang and felt proud of myself and everyone else that stuck it out in the rubbish weather.

Marathon distance done and dusted.

Chilham Castle 5km, 10km and Duathlons :: Sunday 16th Oct 2016

swabbotts-chilhamOh my, what a wet day, but it was the muddy underfoot that made this race what it was. Trail run I was told but no, cross country which the occasional swim in the mud. I would say this has to be one of the most fun races I’ve ever done but I reckon it was running with Dora that made it was it was. The first race I’ve had solely with participants running with dogs. What could be better?

Joey Chasseaud took part in the standard 10km. Team Swabbott were out in tow of their canine team mates.

Ruth Merry and Iggy also took part in the Cani-X, “Wearing his medal with pride after his first 5km race. He stopped at every puddle and tried to make friends with quite a few dogs regardless of how much of a trip hazard that made him. Then he felt we had run enough by 4km and walked the rest. He was also perplexed by the duathletes who kept running behind him and would stop to watch them approach and then overtake us. I don’t think he’s very competitive.”

Event information can be found here



Amanda Magnabosco :: Winnie the Pooh Wander :: 15th October 2016


Two members of ATC took on the *Winnie the Pooh Wander* running challenge at Ashdown Forest, East Sussex – better known as the Hundred Acre Wood.

This race was a 6 hour, time over distance, trail running event on the hills, valleys and heathland.

Mandy Swinerd and Amanda Bashford set off early on Saturday morning to take on the figure of eight course, which offered views of many scenes from the Winnie the Pooh stories as well as some unexpected ‘undulations.’amandamagnabosco

The first loop of the figure of eight was well balanced with a downhill drag into a cluster of trees before breaking into an equally sharp uphill through an exposed field and then meandering around the edge of the main clump of trees. This half of the trail offered beautiful views over the Weald and returned to the main checkpoint before turning runners onto the back half of the course which was soft underfoot and gently rolling save a steady hill to the aid station.

For this race, the aid station was full of a variety of sweet and salty offerings with the added treat of honey-drizzled flapjacks in keeping with the Winnie the Pooh theme. Mandy completed 10 miles and is definitely going back for more next year. Amanda had a fun day on the trails and completed 32 miles, finishing 2nd Lady overall. She would absolutely run this course again.

Ashburnham Place – Standard Tri 2016

Race Report by Ian Dunning (Caution, contains expletives)

“Nothing standard about a standard”

Before I start… On a serious note… We learnt 2 very valuable lessons today

Firstly… There is no price on your health and at times the toughest decision is to listen to your body saying ‘no, enough is enough’ and stop (unless your name is Brownlee)

Secondly, the importance of doing jack shit the day before your race 🙂

Well it wouldn’t be a race day without some sort of commentary from me now would it?!

Can’t use the word ‘blog’ as Pete has nicked that to write about himself and himself only… #sorryaboutthatpete 🙂

Up and out at stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning to register between 0630-0800 to a place of worship and religion… Well it is a Sunday afterall…

Triathlon has become my new religion and I was praying for a sudden drop in water temp so it was a wet suit swim

As I arrived at Ashburnham Christian Trust. (Sussex Triathlon race venue) I started to notice those yellow arrow signs… You know the ones… They show us the way?

But all these signs were pointing uphill !!

At registration, the pre race whooper upperer was using words and phrases like ‘I would describe the bike as HEAVY’ ‘It may be 80k but it will feel like 90k’ ‘ Run has hills’ ‘one that steep most will walk it’

Hardly words of encouragement and motivation… Anyway… It is what it is…

With race bag in hand I set off to collect my bike and prepare for transitions and saw some friendly ATC faces.

Alex… Is he an umpire or a referee?

The Swabbotts complete with dogren

A unique group, light in number but high in quality…

3 entrants, 2 support crew and 1 referee/umpire

Surely a day without incident… Hmmmm wait n see

Martin and Robert carefully slipped into into their wet suits… hallelujah… Praise The Lord… It is a wet suit swim and left together off into yonder distance to race briefing by the water

This left Julie and Mandy sitting down and suddenly realising they had 6/7 hours to kill and the reminder this is life now supporting or racing on a Sunday.

Each race started after the previous race swim had finished so I went down to water side “with my wet suit” to cheer on ATC and also to check out swim entry and exit.

Entry was easy… Get in the Water

Exit… Was a single step ladder out of the shallow end

Now for those intelligent ones amongst you, will realise that shallow means different things for us vertically challenged. I wasn’t quite treading water before I got out but it certainly wasn’t far off…

Anyway back to the start, as I approached I saw the volunteer paramedics tucking into their pre race bacon roll. It’s an even longer day for volunteers than competitors and we can’t race without them…

I did say I hope I don’t see you again and I got a ‘I hope we don’t see YOU again’ back… A phrase that would later haunt me…

It will come as no surprise that Mr & Mr entered and left the water together and ran off towards T1 with Mrs & Mrs cheering on the way…

My turn to swim, standard distance and longest race distance yet.

Job done, safely negotiated the step ladder, unzipped wet suit to waist as all good triathletes do and legged it to T1…

I felt surprisingly well and as I ran past Mrs & Mrs I screamed ‘I survived the swim’ punching the air with delight. I know I can bike and I know I can run… Shit me I was actually doing this.

Into T1 and looked at my watch. Had to double check the time… I was 10 mins quicker than I had ‘planned.’ Must be a Garmin glitch 🙁

I was purposely methodical in transition and got out on my bike. Pressed lap and started biking. Time was still 10 mins up…

Must be wrong , can’t be and I doubted myself… Pressed lap again and showed me running whilst I was biking…. F#*k it… IT WAS RIGHT… Arghhhhh.

I somehow managed to set my watch to an individual bike and later an individual run so I could keep an eye on time and pace.

Another lesson… The months and weeks of training really do pay off and dont be surprised if it all comes together 🙂

I finished my race and the first face I saw was the umpire/referee who told me I wasn’t going to tell you how tough it was… Thanks… but I had completed my first standard and there is nothing standard about that.

Off to my support role (after compulsory massage) and asked Mrs & Mrs how Mr & Mr were doing…

Bike done… Together (no drafting I hope)

Running… Together…

4 park runs on a hilly trail together… Tough!!

Rob completed his first circuit and painstakingly looked chilled and relaxed. He even had time to stop and have a chat at drink station, enjoy a refill, mouthful of sweets and off on his way… BUT…

Where the f#*k was Martin…

Nothing… Too long a gap and could sense a worry in Mrs A…

Where the f#*k was Martin…

Then he appeared… Like an advert for ATC… blue through and through… Easily recognisable but taking only little baby steps… #worried

Got to his beloved and lent off barrier, dropped his head and clearly in discomfort.

A loving arm around the shoulder and a gentle rub of the shoulder and it could have been a scene from a romantic tale but sadly Martin was visibly in pain.

Martin gingerly walked into T1 and was interrogated by the umpire/referee ‘Have you finished?’ A little bit harsh from said official as Martin was sobbing real tears as he realised Rob was going to finish before him again 🙂

Martin replied yes and before he could say ‘I have’ said official was down on his knees…

I have heard of mouth to mouth resuscitation in the case of emergency but going down in the public eye was a bit drastic…

Oops… My mistake… ‘I need to remove your chip so you don’t get a PB’ #heartless

And then he called for first aid… Actually Alex did that first but for comedy value I chose to omit that…

Martin was escorted by 2 ladies off to the ambulance and duly looked after…

I reported back to Julie that Martin was being looked after and got changed etc etc…

Walked over to the snack van for post race chips but saw Martin first waving at me from ambulance… Was he ok or was he waving for assistance, a holding of the hand… After all last I saw him he was crying…

I sacrificed my chips and leapt to his need… #worried

Shouldn’t have been, sitting up joking with paramedic Laura holding his finger where she had stabbed him for a blood sample… #dramaqueen…

As I turned to continue my journey to snack van, Mandy appeared holding her wrist… Have you anything for a wasp sting? Only to be treated by the paramedics I had told I didn’t want to see again… (the ones at swim start)

I asked if they treated anyone else today for exhaustion, dehydration, bike crashes or any race related injury… No… Nada…

I then did a quick calculation…

Nearly 40% of attending ATC had to be treated by paramedics.

1 for a wasp sting and 1 for couldn’t be bothered to finish the race (I did check with Martin I could say that)

Confident Rob will finish, I enjoyed my chips (eventually) and left for home.

The drive back took me on the reverse of the bike route and I got to enjoy those hills from the comfort of my car and the contentment I had completed my first standard distance and I can now well and truly tick that box…