THE FIRST of the 4 Centurion Running 50-mile races took place on April 9 – the SDW 50, starting at Worthing and finishing in Eastbourne.

It also happened to be the tenth anniversary of the Grand Slam Four.

The route began with runners tackling the first six miles of chalk footpaths and bridleways, then climbing on up to join the South Downs Way at Chanctonbury Ring.

The proceeding 44 miles followed the same route as the Centurion 100, which takes place in the summer, with a total elevation climb of 6,463ft no main feat for any runner!

Except Tom Bampton, who has set himself the ultimate challenge of actually completing the ‘Grand Slam’, so this was just his warm up!

Running all that way, a friendly face is always welcome, and Tom was joined by Lisa Blayden, who had only recently left the club after relocating to Northumberland.

The ‘awesome twosome’ set out at 8am on a crisp, dry day and were treated to some superb weather conditions during their long venture. Despite tired legs and fatigue, both runners appeared in good spirits – the later stages perhaps not so chirpy – but they both persevered to finish in an incredible time of 11:35.13 (Tom) and 9:53.20 (Lisa).

On the same morning, a little closer to home, Richie Robinson was in Haslemere for the start of the Ultra X Spring Trail Series 50km, which takes runners along the glorious Serpent Trail, through the Greensands Hills, river woodlands and lowlands heath of the South Downs Way National Park.

The race also finishes in Haslemere, and runners were not only treated to some lovely spring sunshine but there was also a barbecue laid on at the finish for runners to indulge – as well as that all-important Ultra X medal!

Richie ran a superb race, finishing in 5:57.45 having recovered from Covid only the week before.

The third race of the day had finished before the other two began – being that the race was taking place in Australia!

Roger Cripps took part in the Kunanyi Mountain Run, which is based in South Hobart. The route treated runners to some of Australia’s spectacular landscape, including a stunning rainforest, rocky alpine and a eucalypt forest.

The terrain was also quite dry and therefore hard underfoot, as well as rocky in places with an extreme climb amounting to 5,246ft making it an altogether challenging quest!

Roger finished the 16.55-mile race in an impressive time of 5:23.07 and also managed to take some fabulous photos on route!

April saw the Brighton marathon weekend, with perfect weather conditions and a record crowd to cheer on all participants.

First up was the 10k race, with 2,600 runners crossing the start line in Preston Park. The club was represented by Dave Jarrett, who a week earlier had run the Manchester Marathon.

Despite this he finished in time of 33.56, third in his age group and 20th overall.

Next up was the marathon, where Cam McConnachie had set himself a target of any time under five hours. After weeks of dedicated training, he smashed five hours, finishing in a sub 4.30 time of 4:27.35.

For club runner Jane Squire, who had been hoping to run in the 10k, family commitments meant she had to run the race virtually in Liverpool and with the company of her daughter Cat, Jane completed 10k in an excellent time of 1:18.

The weekly Saturday-morning Punchbowl run, organised and led by club coach Anna Alexandar, has returned, and the Easter weekend run saw the additional attraction of hot cross buns at the end of the run – and, for some, the chance to run in fluffy bunny ears. The glorious weather and wonderful scenic views added to the enjoyment of the run.

The weekend of April 24 saw us blessed with some fabulous blue skies and glorious sunshine, if a tad chilly, and for a few HBAC runners this was perfect for their impending races after all their training.

The Cayman Islands Worthing Runfest, which incorporates three events – a half-marathon, 10k and a family run – takes runners through the town centre and then heads out on to the seafront with glorious views looking out to sea in one of the ‘happiest places to live’ – as quoted by residents who live there!

Marco De Caprio opted for the half-marathon and ran a superb race in 1:42 and finished in 21st place in what was a strong field of runners.

A little further down south, Andy Wise and Claire Pearson took part in the Southampton 10k, which started at the Guildhall Square, and passing through Queens Park and taking runners via the Itchen Bridge overlooking the glistening Southampton Waters with views of The Solent and the New Forest in the distance.

The course also gives runners an opportunity to grab a PB as it is a fast, flat route and both runners ran an excellent race.

Andy finished in an excellent time of 53.07, shortly followed by Claire who completed her race in 54.21.

Another waterside event took place in London, with Felicity Bull running the Fulham & Putney half-marathon which started and finished in Barnes overlooking the River Thames.

The race then continues through Putney Lower Common and up over Putney Bridge before reaching the riverside and crossing over Hammersmith Bridge back to Barnes (to then repeat the second lap) before the finish.

Felicity, who has been in great form recently, continued her run of success, finishing fifth lady in 1:33.20.

Over the border in Wales, Jon Fairs and Dave Jarrett took part in the Wrexham Elite Marathon and half marathon.

The race was open only to athletes who can complete a sub three-hour marathon or the elite half-marathon equivalent (1.15 for men or 1.30 for women).

With both races starting at the same time, Dave – who was competing in the half marathon – was able to act as a pacemaker for Jon, who was running the marathon.

With Dave expertly pacing Jon to 1:16 for the half marathon, Jon completed the marathon in a time of 2:48.44.

The weekend also saw Karen Sinclair and Maisie join others for a social Cain cross run through the Surrey Hills.

Starting and finishing at the tea shop at Compton, the circular trail took the runners through Compton Common and Binscombe before returning to The Tea Shop.

Maisie, like many runners, much prefers the company of others and runs much better in a pack.

The weekly Saturday parkruns continue to be popular, with many members keen on parkrun tourism, while others strive to better their times – and, for some, their first-ever parkrun.

April has seen club members Cam McConnachie and Cat Squires travel to Germany to take part in the Hasenheide parkrun in Berlin, with the course set round the Volspark and the sunshine and blue skies welcoming all runners, – with the added reward of chocolates for all participants.

Two weeks later Cam completed the Crystal Palace parkrun and his good form continued as he set a PB, finishing in a time of 23.01.

Easter weekend saw Steve King run in the Centre Vale parkrun in Todmorden, Yorkshire, and finish first in his age group.

For others the setting was the local Hogmoor Inclosure, as the latest C25k group, run by head coach Daniel Allaway, completed their course by running their graduation parkrun.

All were rewarded for their efforts with the presentation of medals and the customary coffee and celebration cakes afterwards.

By Ann Varnes