A HANDFUL of athletes from Bognor’s Tone Zone club took part in the Portsmouth marathon.
Conditions could not have been much worse as Mother Nature did her worst, battering the competitors on the out-and-back course.
More than 1,000 runners completed the event, starting and finishing in Southsea and taking in Hayling Island along the way. Runners had to contend with ankle-deep puddles and tricky beach sections and try not to fall over on the slippery muddy trails.
Seven Tone Zone runners lined up for the start, with Simon Gill setting another strong pace and finishing first for the club in 3hr 29min.
Paul Coe, in his first full year for the club, was running in his first marathon and completed the distance in 4.22. Long-term club member Daniel Hughes finished in 4.41.
For the ladies, Grace Natoli pulled off an amazing time in the conditions running a personal best of 4.45. Joan Woolley ran her first marathon in 5.38.
Stuart Thomson and Ian Culton ran 4.48 and 4.55 respectively.
At the appropriately-named Knacker Cracker Box Hill 10k in Dorking on Boxing Day, Joan Woolley was back in action. This course is reputed to be one of the toughest 10ks around but didn’t faze her as she finished in 56 minutes.
Tone Zone’s Peter Chittenden completed the Christmas Pudding run in East Sussex in 56 minutes, while Tony Hancock finished the Bouley Bay one-mile hill race in nine minutes.
As Tone Zone runners move into a relatively-quiet January, there is no let-up in the training. Many now turn their attention to preparation for the Brighton and London marathons.
Others at the club start the year looking to improve their own ability or simply just enjoy the sport.
The club welcomed another large intake at the start of the year with more new members expected to follow. With membership expected to exceed 250 this year, it’s another sign of how running continues to grow in popularity.