Running Clubs in Sussex

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Wadhurst Runners may be a small club but they've earned the right to mix it with the big boys, we caught up with the club recently for a quick chat about what makes the club special...

When did it all begin?

In 1999 when some local enthusiasts decided that the East Sussex town of Wadhurst could do with a friendly running club to call its own.

Who were the originals?

We've still got five members who joined up in '99 - Sarah Wrenn, Roger Smith, Robin Heale, Kevin Parkinson and Albert Kemp.

The core of a lean, mean running machine?

That's maybe gilding the lily, Albert was a new runner and Sarah hadn't actually run before.

Humble beginnings?

Very! But it's all so different today! Well, we've added a few members - over 50 on the books now. Still relatively small but we punch above our weight.

How so?

Well in the Sussex Grand Prix 2013 - it's the Diamond League of the south coast - we finished runners-up in both the men's and women's contests.

But the Grand Prix includes titans like Seaford Striders & Haywards Heath Harriers!


Respect to the Waddies!

We've certainly created a great club spirit, despite limited membership and commuters who struggle to attend midweek sessions.

So how do members maintain competitive fitness?

We're lucky that there are lots of great woodland and parkland routes around the town for longer runs. Although new member Matt Seabrook who works away from home and struggles to maintain a regular regime compensates with hard-core 'skipping'. He's encouraged a few others to take skipping up as their cross-training of choice.

Races organised by Wadhurst Runners?

The Bewl 15 which now attracts over 800 entries starts the second-half of the Sussex Grand Prix and is regularly acknowledged as the best 15 mile race in the country. Very scenic and well organised.

We've also heard reports of a new race - the fiendish Little Pell Hell Mud Run?

We staged it for the first time last November. Runners loved a tough course - serious obstacles, crawling under nets, wading through a pond and using ropes to handle steep sections into and out of muddy big dips.

The club on tour?

It's Paris for the marathon in 2013 after an eventful recent trip to Chester for their 26.2 mile event. Waddie bands have also turned up in Norway for the Tromso Midnight Sun marathon, and for the Himilayan 100 mile stage race. Amsterdam and Bruges are other recent ports of call.

Other international aspects of the club?

Committed club man Reg Magar is Nepalese. Reg is also noted for a cavalier approach to race directions and tends to follow a route of his own; a recent winner of the 'Heck are we' cup.

Tell us about other award winners?

Need to mention Neil Walbridge, a very talented triathlete who picked up the 'Busfare Home Cup' after finishing behind 65+ chairman Albert Kemp in the Worthing 20. Neil claimed that cycling the 50 miles from Wadhurst pre-race and arriving just a few minutes before the start had meant a poor showing in the 20 miler. Club officials thought that was a feeble excuse!

Tell us about the ladies?

Well Sarah Wrenn, remember our non-running original member, completed her first half marathon in 2001 and the big one in Paris two years later - she's still going strong. Newish girl Hannah Swaffer is also making a big impact; she joined us as a beginner but has made great progress and finished her first marathon - London 2012.

Want to know more? Visit their website.

Article featured in Southern Running Guide Spring 2013 edition

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