Volunteer hero!

Here at BH Frontrunners we love to run as much as we possibly can, but we also like to give back to the running community by volunteering at organised races too. Frontrunner and committee member Graham, had an amazing experience doing so at the South Downs Way 100, back on the 12th June. Read his inspiring story below:

“Having been running several years now, I’ve found myself becoming fascinated in what makes runners do the crazy challenges that they choose to do. This really came to a head when I started to discover ultra marathons. These people were clearly insane! I had heard through the grapevine about the South Downs Way 100 race organised by Centurion Running, and I thought I would go to watch some of them run past, but it was very clear that no spectators were allowed to watch or be near the checkpoints due to Covid safety regulations. However upon some further reading, they were very keen to have volunteers to help man the aid stations, and my curiosity got the better of me at that moment and I immediately signed up.”

“I was offered the station closest to me at Housedean Farm on the outskirts of town, and I duly accepted, but then found to my horror that the shift was from 1pm through to 5am the next morning –  a total of 16 hours non stop! I pulled myself together, thinking how much harder it was for the runners themselves and how much they would appreciate me being there, and I made my way to the site, where I met the rest of the team and started helping to get the place ready. There were a record number of 433 entrants this year, and they were already well on their way!”

“First things first, you must know that this was a very warm day, peaking at 20C. This made the job a tiny bit harder for us, but very difficult for the runners, and we soon realised that getting fluids and drinks ready as quickly as possible was vital. We got the tables set up in a flash and started on this first of all, followed by preparing all the food required, which all had to go into individual serving bags for hygiene and Covid safety reasons. We then finally drew our attention to the 433 kit bags of runner’s own belongings that we needed to sort through and put into number order so we’d be ready to give it to them as soon as they needed it. With this complete, we could now take a breather before the first runners would arrive. We got to chat and get to know each other a little better, pretty much all the team had some running experience and we compared races that we’d done and soon found out we had mutual friends in common (the running community is nice like that!)”

“Then, we were given the heads up that the first runner was coming in, so we got ourselves organised, and I found myself on one of the snack table stations as well as generally helping out where needed. It was very exciting meeting the leader of a race, something I’d never experienced before. He (and then later his female counterpart) was lovely and polite, but you could tell he wasn’t there to hang around, so we got him ready as quick as we could – a lot like the F1 racing on TV.”

“But really the action all happened about an hour later when the early mass of runners arrived and suddenly the hours flew by. Every single person who had arrived here had already ran 76 miles and were in desperate need of assistance. And it struck me just how much help they really needed. They were by this point physically exhausted and motor skills for some were very poor or nearly non-existent. They all needed help opening water bottles, getting them refilled, even just to decide what snacks they wanted. Overheating and total exhaustion were an issue, and as the afternoon became evening, the drop out rate started to increase. I have now seen what true mental anguish looks like, where a runner wants so desperately to keep going and finish the race, but their body has since deserted them, and they are barely able to stand up, let alone run/walk for another hilly marathon. It was at these times where I felt the most useful, there to provide any assistance they wanted and my aim was always to lift their spirits in the hope they could continue, but ultimately there was a time just to listen and respectfully help them bow out with some dignity.” 

“Despite these lows, there were many more runners having the time of their lives and still smiling, and behind my mask so was I! I was genuinely buzzing off of the adrenaline, and our busiest times were between midnight and 4am, so there was no way I could be tired! As it got colder and darker, the demands for tea, coffee and soup became louder so I was making hot drinks, reboiling kettles, and throwing them out to be people without really thinking. At about 2am I had to stop before I burnt myself out, and so I swapped duties to head outside into the night and help marshal people into and out of the aid station. This was very nice to do as the runners were genuinely delighted to see you having been a little unsure of their directions, and were all therefore in a good mood. I got a lot of thanks here, especially on the few times I had to chase and redirect people leaving the station and immediately heading in the wrong direction!”

“Night turned into morning, and we received our final runner at about 4:30am. With them safely dispatched, we then got on with packing away the station and clearing up whilst yawning continuously, it had been a very long night. I was struck by what a good team we had become after only a few hours, we all knew we wanted to be there and support these amazing people and we all commented on how much fun we had. If you’ve ever thought about volunteering at a race, no matter the distance, just go and do it! I guarantee you’ll meet some incredible people, get lots of free stuff and have a great time.”

Ultra-tastic!

Massive congratulations are most definitely in order for a group of dedicated BH Frontrunners who completed the Run to the Sea ultra marathon that took place last weekend on the 5th June. The course is a hilly trail run through the Sussex countryside and the runners courageously braved some hot and sweaty summer conditions. Well done to Rob Graham, Claire Alleguen, Brett Massey, Matt Roff, James Smith, Sonia, Damian Brewer and Zohre Ashraf who all completed the 50km distance in some superb times.

Not only that, but Claire and Rob finished 1st in their respective age categories! What a fantastic effort all round – do check out all of their official times here. We’ll also be posting a race report from one of the team very soon too, so watch this space.

The afternoon finished with some well deserved drinks and food. Well done Frontrunners ultra team – you are awesome!

Club runs are back!

We are delighted to announce that due to the changes to COVID-19 regulations happening on 29th March, we can now meet as a group. To celebrate we are holding an additional session on Monday 29th at Preston Park. This will be lead by Damo. Our regular Wednesday will commence on 31st meeting at our usual King Alfred spot at 7pm. For a full list of our upcoming events, please see the events section of the website. We are so excited to be able to meet again and we look forward to seeing you there!
(for details on Coronavirus and rules on sport and social distancing please see the gov.uk website)

Club runs suspended

Unfortunately organised group club runs have once again been suspended in light of the changing Covid-19 situation, in line with recommendations from England Athletics. Please see the statement from their website here.

For general Coronavirus updates and regulations please also visit the gov.uk website. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For information on what we are doing as a club in response to the situation please see the Covid-19 section of our website.

5K Charity challenge!

Frontrunner Kerry Bonham completed an amazing challenge throughout the month of October to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Read all about her amazing challenge here and also see the link below if you would like to still sponsor her for this very worthy cause.

From 26th September to 25th October, I ran 5000 metres (5km) every day to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease Association. 
I was inspired to do this by my partner Lauren’s cousin, who was diagnosed with MND in 2018. Cousin Chris is one of 5000 people in the UK who are living with MND, which is why the number 5000 is important to the charity. 
Over the course of the 30 days, I ran my 5k at various times of day, and in all weathers. I really enjoyed picking different routes, because I got to see so much beautiful scenery, and I met lots of lovely people too. Even when it was dark and raining, the support from my family and friends kept me motivated. 
So far, I’ve raised £582 for MNDA, which will make such a difference to those living with MND! Thank you to everyone for spurring me on during my challenge! 
www.justgiving.com/KerryB5000


Keep on running!

In these uncertain and frustrating times of COVID-19, it can be difficult to stay motivated to run. Thankfully government guidelines still permit us to partake in one form of socially distanced exercise.

Here at Brighton and Hove Frontrunners we are continuing to run – albeit alone, but checking in with each other on social media. We also have training tips and our very own ‘selfie challenge’! There has never been a better time to put on your running shoes.

Check out our social media to find out more about how we are continuing to run safely.

facebook.com/brightonandhovefrontrunners
instagram.com/brightonandhovefrontrunners

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

As you are aware the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all major running events. Following England Athletics guidance we are cancelling all training and race meets for the time being.

Also, in light of guidance issued by the UK Government regarding public gatherings, the commitee has also taken the decision to cancel our bi-monthly social events until further notice.

The situation is changing rapidly so please see our social media feeds and website for any updates, and if you have any further questions about this please email us directly on brightonandhovefrontrunners@gmail.com

Safe, happy and healthy running,

Brighton and Hove Frontrunners Committee.

Happy Birthday Frontrunners!

We are now officially one year old! This week marked our first year of the club and to celebrate we spent Sunday at the pub enjoying a roast (sadly the beach BBQ was not possible due to the weather). Here’s to the next year and beyond.

Trans Pride 5K run

As part of the Trans Pride celebrations last weekend, the festival held their first fun run on Sunday 21st July. Some of our Frontrunners were proud to take part and join in the fun – a fantastic effort all round (especially given the night of celebrations on the Saturday night before!).

The event also marked the end of the Couch to 5K course run in conjunction with Trans Can sport, who are dedicated to transforming the wellbeing of trans people through physical activity. The course was run by one of our leaders in running fitness, George. Well done to George for leading and many congratulations to all of the graduates – hopefully this marks the start of a strong relationship with Trans Can sports and the fantastic work they do. We are hoping that we will also have some new Frontrunners joining us as a result.

To find out more about Trans Can sport you can visit their website here.