5 Jul

All About The Pace At Eastbourne

Eastbourne parkrun pacersIt was all about the pace, no trouble, to mangle the lyrics from the American singer/songwriter Meghan Trainor’s insistent 2014 debut single, writes runABC South reporter Alan Newman. Eastbourne parkrun used their 238th event to supply pace-setters for every level from 18 to 30-plus minutes. Perhaps there is a synergy between parkrun and the song’s call to promote a positive body image, self-acceptance and self-confidence?

My partner Sue James and I spent the weekend in Eastbourne and found plenty to belie its image of a sedate retirement resort. First up was the well marshalled parkrun under the stewardship of run director, Mike Thompson. The course is on grass, gravel and tarmac paths around Shinewater Lakes on the edge of the seaside town and is as flat as they come. 

Eastbourne’s version of ‘Club 18-30’ is to provide dedicated pacers for each of those target times and very effective they were, too, helping 29 first timers to achieve their goals and 29 regulars to personal bests for the 5k course.

Although the ethos of parkrun is that it is a run, not a race, there are a plethora of stats and records on every run website. Just for the record, the first finishers at the 238th run were Chris Balmer (Ryston Runners) in 17:18 and Cat Bounds (Cambridge University Hare and Hounds, 19:35) celebrating her 50th run at Eastbourne and who was bound to be among those setting PBs. The results are age-graded and the top score of almost 82% went to Sue James for domestic bragging rights with Alan!

We relaxed with a swim in the busy outdoor pool at David Lloyd Leisure Centre before watching the Tour of Sussex Cycle Race at Beachy Head on the spectacular South Downs. A recovery run on the promenade at 7:30am on Sunday left us breathless, not just because of the wonderful scenery but in answering cheery greetings from a dozen fellow insomniac runners and recycled teenagers on in-line skates. Sedate retirement resort – not this place!

Visit Eastbourne parkrun website here

Photo courtesy Mike Storrs