Benidorm trip is no holiday for Bognor runners

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Ten ToneZone runners jetted off to Spain to take part in the Benidorm Half Marathon.

This annual event attracts runners from far and wide and takes place on the Benidorm prom and in the town centre.

For the third year, the growing team from Bognor challenged themselves on a temporary race route, which included some steep climbs in the latter stages.

The race, traditionally held on the Saturday night was moved to the Sunday morning, which made it much harder for the runners as the temperatures were well into the 20s.

Several English clubs were in attendance this year but it was ToneZone that led the way with Jimmy Simmons powering ahead from the start.

Simmons took 12 minutes off last year’s time finishing in 1hr 33min, recording another new personal best in the process.

Mark Annals produced one of the performances of the day after sensibly pacing the first ten miles before increasing his pace and displaying one of the fastest finishes of the day.

The heat was a factor for many ToneZone runners, most recording slower half-marathon times - but the trend was broken with a personal best by Robert Little.

The team included two of the club’s lady runners, Louisa Proctor and Grace Natoli.

Proctor, returning from injury kept a steady pace finishing in 1.54. Accompanying in a supporting role was Brian Etheridge, ToneZone’s chairman, and Mark Oliver.

In other recent races, the cancelled Duck Pond race held by the Worthing Striders was replaced by the new Downland Devil nine-mile race near Lancing.

This hilly cross-country race was blessed with clear skies but the hillside chill kept the temperature around freezing.

ToneZone had five runners, with Thomas Jago finishing first for the club and eighth overall. Peter Chittenden notched up his 58th race from his remarkable challenge of 60 races for 2012.

At the BBC’s Top Gear race track at Dunsford Park in Cranleigh, Amanda Worne and Michelle Maxim braved the icy wind to compete in the inaugural Jigsaw 5k.

This fast event attracted more than 100 runners to compete in a circuit of this famous racetrack.

Worne continued to display her determination by improving in every race finished as third lady overall with an impressive time of 22min 59sec, less than a minute behind the overall ladies’ winner.

Maxim finished in a fantastic time of 27.36, a major achievement following a year of running injuries. The two accomplished personal bests that even The Stig would have been impressed with.

Hayling Island’s ten-mile race has been known for producing fast times but this year’s event was hampered by strong winds with large areas of puddles and mud.

Three ToneZone runners took part with Debbie Hall finishing third lady overall and Melvyn Bird first in the over-60 age category. Mike Monk, the club’s president, finished in a time of 1.27.

Worthing hosted the all-women’s Christmas Cracker 5k. Debbie Patching was ToneZone’s only participant and finished 14th overall in a time of good time of 28.41.

ToneZoneRunners and Times:

Benidorm Half: Jim Simmons 1hr 33min 29sec, Mark Annals 1.42.43, Ian Bayley 1.45.51, Chris Gallagher 1.46.22, Gary Pidgeon 1.48.06, Keith Hardwell 1.51.48, Colin Hiscock 1.52.51, Louisa Proctor 1.54.34, Robert Little 2.01.34, Grace Natoli 2.05.23.

Downland Devil 9-Mile: Thomas Jago 1.05.21, Melvyn Bird 1.08.50, Jason Rae 1.26.54, Sarah Santer 1.27.13, Peter Chittenden 1.54.29.

More ToneZone runners’ results can be found on the ToneZone Website - www.tonezonerunners.org

IAN BAYLEY