Bexhill athletes enjoy busy but successful month

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Bexhill Runners & Triathletes (BRT) have come to the end of an incredibly busy but very successful May.

BRT took a clean sweep on the podium in race one of the Bexhill Seafront 5K Series, with Will Carey first, his twin brother Olly second and Lee Page third.

Several other athletes took part and Sam Brown broke the 20-minute barrier for the first time despite the breezy conditions.

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Two days later, BRT was represented by no less than 24 runners, split into four teams of six, in the Rye Harbour Ekiden Relay.

The depth of talent at the club was on show, with Martyn Reynolds, Dan Marshman and Kieran Hook, plus the three already mentioned, gaining second place in an event made up of six relay legs of varying distance.

BRT’s triathletes were out in force at the East Grinstead Triathlon. Seventeen members entered the sprint triathlon or the ladies’ “Try a Tri” event.

Mandie Henderson and Laura Ward at the Cranbrook Triathlon

Mandie Henderson and Laura Ward at the Cranbrook Triathlon

Paula Chase, an accomplished runner, went out of her comfort zone to complete in her first multi-discipline event and was fourth overall.

Performance of the day perhaps came in the sprint distance from Frances Burnham, who won the over-60 ladies’ category and has been selected to represent Great Britain in her age group. She finished 23rd lady overall in a field of well over 100.

Dan Marshman was first home for the men in 19th place, with David Palmer sneaking in ahead of Ali Marshman by just 16 seconds, due to an incredible cycle ride, covering the hilly 26km course in 46 minutes.

A good number of club members were competing in their first ever triathlon, including Lizzy Rafati, Anna Da Silva and Laura Ward, who have all joined the club within the last 12 months, starting with the couch to 5k programme.

Six triathletes also did the Mayfield Triathlons.

Dan Marshman came home second overall in the standard distance event, again followed by Dave Palmer and Ali Marshman, while Helen Goddard was third lady in the sprint distance and Mark Mitchell 11th male in the same event. Mark’s daughter Izzie won her age group to complete an excellent evening for the club.

Paul Heywood won the club’s Christmas raffle for a place in the London Marathon and did the club proud with a time just outside four hours.

Amanda Tondeur confirmed what a great performer she is by running her first marathon, clearly enjoying the experience and chatting to everyone on the way round.

Kieran Hook ran the Blackpool Marathon in three hours and 43 minutes, while John Brooker completed his first marathon for more than 15 years by running 3:50 at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Will Carey has been the club’s top performer over the last year and again confirmed this with a time of 3:00.12 in his first road marathon at Southampton. Meanwhile, girlfriend Charlotte Elliott, also representing BRT, came home on her debut in a little over five hours at the same race.

Not only do BRT athletes run on the road and compete in triathlons, but there is a strong hard-core of trail runners who compete at all distances, up to and including 100-mile events.

Stuart Robertson and Simon Leonard completed their first “marathon” at the Dark Star event, which is actually 28 miles of off-road trail running. Geoff Tondeur, Dave Rogers, Grant Docksey and Sam Brown made up the BRT team.

Paula Chase and Paul Heywood finished the North Downs Way 50-mile challenge. Chase was on the verge of being pulled out of the race due to a knee injury suffered from a fall at Box Hill, but convinced officials she was okay to carry on and proved herself right by finishing in 11 hours and 15 minutes, almost an hour ahead of Heywood.

Tim Cox started the Dragons Back race, a five-day event covering more than 200 miles from North to South Wales. Although he had to pull out of the official race on the third day, he completed most of the course through days four and five as a non-competitive entrant.

A 26-mile marathon is tough enough, but to push yourself through 40-plus miles for five consecutive days is an incredible act of endurance.

Sharon Dickson perhaps went one better than everybody by finishing the Thames Towpath 100-mile race, which started in Fulham and finished in Oxford.

Suffering hypothermia overnight was not part of her original race plan, but she got going again just before sunrise and warmed up with the sun as it rose.

Other notable achievements by club members during the month included Alison Brooker completing her first half marathon in Stratford despite entering her 64th year.

Jackie Knight and Malcolm Jones, two more newish members, finished the Ashburnham 10K along with 10 other club members, and it’s thought that club members entered no less than eight different parkruns across the country during May.

BRT describes itself as a very friendly club catering for all local runners and triathletes, entering numerous different events and competing at varying standards from beginner to more experienced runners and triathletes entering more challenging events.

They meet every Wednesday at the Colonnade, below the De La Warr Pavilion, on Bexhill seafront. Although Wednesday is club night, there are other training sessions throughout the week, including swimming. Please see the club website or Facebook page for more details.