Over the bank holiday weekend whilst others took part in the YMCA 5 Mile race in Priory Park and the Ranelagh half, 3 hardy souls from RPAC made the (multi distance trip) down the M23 to East Grinstead, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill to take part in the 2017 Mid Sussex Marathon weekend. 

The event is split over 3 races over consecutive days, two of 10 miles and one of 10km making up the marathon distance.

The weather was kind throughout the weekend and the kick off event was the  the East Grinstead 10 mile on Saturday. Starting from East Grinstead Rugby Club and then heading down a rather pleasant down hill for the first mile (which comes back at you with a vengeance at mile 9), you head along footpaths, over stiles, through woods towards the bank of Weir Wood reservoir, before a long stretch along a wide pathway taking you through the halfway stage. You make the turn and have a nice, but short down hill, before heading slowly upward for the last two miles returning to the rugby club for the finish, and medal one.

Haywards Heath is an altogether different beast of a race, mainly on footpaths and roads the route follows a two lap course starting and finishing at Victoria Park in the town centre. As this race also forms part of the Sussex Grand Prix there were an extra 250 starters which led to a very busy 'race village' before the race. A quick up and back along the high street was followed by a short section around some local roads before heading into an uphill wooded section, looping back on yourself you then head out towards the A272 having a long downhill along the road before heading back into local roads and past many spectators, all cheering and offering much encouragement (and jelly babies), returning to the park before heading out on a repeat loop.

Monday came around and I'm sure with many aching limbs we all convened in Burgess Hill for the final event, a mere 10k! Making full use of the local terrain the course starts at a school and has a short road section before heading to Nightingale Meadows to complete two off-road laps past a water tower at the top of the hill and then back into a valley and before heading up and out the other side in a strange figure of eight, returning for a final lap of the school field before completing your 'marathon'.

Just shy of 200 people completed the full weekend with 700 people taking part in the 3 races. The marshalling was superb and you really can't argue when jaffa cakes and fig rolls are provided at the water stops.

See here for our results.

Adrian Bowden

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