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Woodland 5 On the day entries available.

The first race was a huge success (full results here) and we have plenty of spaces for the next two events.

The dates  are:  26th June and  31st July.

entry form here (pdf or doc)

Beachy Head Marathon Report

Three Rusties go to the Seaside (or Beachy Head Marathon Report 2009)


Saturday 24th October


This is a story, based upon actual true events. Any resemblance to living individuals is purely incidental, and probably true (in most part).


For as long as they can remember (about 5 or 6 years) the old rusties had gone to the seaside with their friends. For most this would have meant knotted hankies, paddling, cups of tea and of course fish, chips and bingo. For them though it was slightly different as they belongs to those strange (mad) group og people who actually LIKE to go outside in the wet and cold and RUN. (well they think its running, some people uncharitably call it jogging or walking even, which sometimes is nearer the truth).



I digress, having been around a bit, and done a lot of travelling between them, you would have thought that a trident nuclear missile navigation expert, the southern England mobile engineering specialist and a retired coppa could have easily found their way to brighton. Easy init? M25, A23, A27 and you are there.


(pic of the hill start here)******


Well it started like this. The guidance expert drove (obviously in a Johnny Cash style 69 Trident) and successfully navigated the 300 yards to his first friends house. The other though was more difficult as it involved venturing into darkest Bracknell Forrest (gasp) at 6.15 am along dark and rainy roads. However Steve was wise to the orienteering skills of the Woosehill duo, and as all old soldiers do, constructed a homing beacon to guide them past the Golden Retriever Pub (actually it was his bike light and it worked a treat..Andy didn’t even have to put his glasses on!



The jouney down was quite uneventful (not). The route is easy isn’t it. Between them they had been down that way over 15 times at least. Impossible to get lost surely? Well one of them slept, any way when he awoke, they were off the A23 on the A27 and a bit confused. “That sign shouldn’t be pointing to Brighton, we don’t want to go back that way do we”, so they turned round and went the other way. This exercise was repeated at least twice between a roundabout and Morrisons as our intrepid three tried to figure out where they were. Somewhere amidst the growing panic an old AA map was fished out of the depths of the car, and consulted. Hmm, somehow they had gone WEST, not EAST at Brighton, and were now in WORTHING, not Eastbourne. (Note for futer reference. FOLLOW the signs for LEWES when you leave the A23 at Brighton and make sure you are driving into the sun)


‘What time was it?’ Asked Paul. About 8.15am said Steve. ‘What time does the race start? Said Paul’ 9am croaked Andy. Just as they had always adrenalin fuelled day out trying to get to the start on time. 45 minutes to do 35 miles. Lucky they were in the Trident with its supersonic speeds!


You would have expected some signs of panic and twitching to set in at this stage to all three. No! None of it. Steve calmly pulled out an emergency GPS SatNav out of his bag and helpfully asked “Shall I switch this on, would it help?”. Yes!!!!! was the answer spoken, and the unspoken one might have been more helpful an hour ago! Well this intrepid device showed them how to get ouit of Worthing , past Brighton and to the start at Eastbourne by 9.03. That was cutting it fine, and did not allow time for parking, loo, breakfast, getting changed, warm up, depositing bags etc.


Some may say, to quote Jeremy Clarkson, that with a combined speeding points total of well into double figures, our intrepid three could find the accelerator on the Trident easy. Unfortunately, for all their experience and expensive education (mainly primary it may seem) they could not find the g’go faster ‘ button and preamble in a easterly direction, taking great care to keep to the speed limits. Werent they good  NOT related to Jensen Button then!.

Thus they proceeded, giving way to all the OAPs on the way. Even took a scenic detour. And then shock horror, took a wrong turn even with the sat nav, and the pilot was forced to do an emergency U turn (on a dual carriageway) a la schmacher !!


Eyes glued to the satnav estimated time of arrival. 9.03,... 9.01,... 8.56. They were going to do it! Avoiding the coast route, saved 2 minutes, but caught a slow lorry in Eastbourne and eventually they arrived at 9am to the gentle sound of a whistle in the wind and the patter of little feet swarming up that gentle hill start. (and the rain of course).


Having trained so hard for this event with long weakly runs, including stops for tea, chips and cake it was a bit frustrating, but there was nothing to be done but get on with it.


Steve as chilled out as normal calmed the tension with “it will be a different view running from the back” while Andy ran off down the road in a vain hope of catching the stragglers and Paul rapid changing inside car to save precious minutes.


Actually they decided to stay together, based mainly on the joint need of the loo. Come on, you know what happens at the start of every race...your guts get in the mood and want to play as well  Unfortunately just before they got to the two loos, a female spectator got in one, and she clearly had a problem, taking a long time to resolve, while they patiently hopped around outside waiting for a vacancy .


So eventually at about 9.10 they set off all alone up that big foreboding hill. If you havnt done the race, just enjoy the picture. Its as fun as it looks. Its an awfully lonely place on your own. You can see how big it is!


Well at the top of the hill they re-grouped (got their breath and lungs back into their bodies) and ran after a recovery walk, and started to catch the walkers. Now if you don’t know it, walkers have a particular style at the back.

  1. They walk in big groups

  2. They are all talking

  3. They all carry two pointed walking sticks

  4. The walking sticks point at an angle to the rear. Very useful for discouraging a surprise assault by cavalry, or three old munchy cruncy runners.


Getting past was quite difficult actually as they didn’t expect the old codgers to be there and took up all the width of the path. And there were lots of them. Eventually our heroic three slipped past collecting grazes from the thorn bushes on the way..


One thing our intrepid three did learn about is the negative effect of being with people induces a state of mind that makes it harder to push harder and run a bit more. You know how helpful it is to be with people who are all pushing, you push that little harder, and go faster....well the reverse is true as well.


And the weather got worse : Horizontal rain and gushing winds – Paul heard a fellow runner advise to lay flat if wind worsened. Thats how bad it got. They were completely soaked – nothing is waterproof against BH rain, but they were saved from hypothermia  by the unusually mild temperature of 16 oC



However it didn’t affect one of them. Steven Alyosius Forster, AKA ‘Saudi Hill Man’ entered the village of Alfriston and knowing what was ahead (624 feet of bostal hill) and promptly said “ its a long grind from here, im feeling good” and set off running up the whole thing. Needless to say he was the only one doing this. His yellow vest could be seen by (walking) Andy at the foot of the hill, weaving in and out of the many people walking. For those of you who don’t know this bit, the village is full of enthusiastic spectators who are fantastic in their support and encouragement, then you run up a uphill road that changes into a small path going steeper uphill, made of wet slippery chalk. Its hard work. So that was the last Andy and Paul saw of steve till the end. Off he went “I enjoyed that, the fog made it different than normal”.


Yes, well, the others thought that but without the ‘enjoy’ bit. It was wet, raining, cold, windy and jackets were worn and appreciated!


There is on bit at the village of Litlington (Check Point 3) where the course follows a stream for a bit (flat). It was very muddy, and as you ran along other runners were actually falling over on it infront of you. There were several muddy bottoms on display that day and in fact Paul is reputed to have done a ‘pope paul’ at one point kissing the beachy head mud on hands and knees because of it.



The event is enhanced by the regular appearance of a lone piper. You meet him at the top of the first hill (appearing out of the mist today) then later at the STEPS..he meets you normally half way up, but you can hear his pipes for quite a way beforehand as you descend, knowing the steps are ahead. Unfortunately the rain and cold drove him away before the intrepid three arrived, so they each had to do the steps to the sound of painful grunts and mutterings about how enjoyable steps are. Andy was actually pleased, as he actually found someone slower on the steps them him. Everyone else of course overtook him as normal.


The marshalls are brilliant at this event chatting encouraging and very polite (have you ever been called “sir” before on a race?? They get 10/10 (and they wrote to the organisers to say so).


Each checkpoint has drinks, bananas, mars bars, and later on cakes , tea soup, coffee etc (and of course a few bands to cheer you on).


Yes the weather was the worst for at least 5 years, but the sun did occasionally shine, and occasionally you could get a good view. Yes they did all of the 7 sisters. They are just as steep as every year. Both the up, which is hard, and the down, which is harder as you are breaking all the time with your leg muscles that ache badly the next day.


The real fun bit was trying to work out where they were towards the end on the 7th sister, the mist reduced visibility to about 10 yards with no scenic views this year apart from misty gloom. They couldn’t see the normal reference points (ie the cliff edge or the massive Beachy Head Pub). Marshalls franticly materialised out of the mist, and directed them to an unseen colleague a few yards away to make sure runners didn’t get lost or go over the cliff edge. At one point Andy followed a Scotsman rather than a group of faster runners when navigation was an issue. The Scotsman had HASTINGS written on his back so he assumed (rightly) he knew where he was. The others were going too near the cliff edge (lovers leap bit)...could have been interesting.



And then on to the down hill bit of about a mile to the finish. This is great fun. Fast and easy if you have any legs left. Then you have the pain of that very steep hill at the start, but in reverse. There was even a marshall half way down offering to help them slow down.


Well they made it. The facilities at the end are great. New canteen and dining room. Free meal of baked potato, beans, sausage and then a pudding and hot drinks.


So to the end and a couple of questions

  1. Who was first

  2. Who had to make a pit stop half way round (and there are no leaves on the bushes)

  3. Who didnt grease up his arms and got friction burns.

  4. Who wore a hat all the way round.

  5. Who carried water

  6. Who’s wife coined the phrase “The three rusties”


Last Updated on Sunday, 09 January 2011 23:22

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