For many years Newhaven, Peacehaven and Seaford Lions Club has run, with the help of the Seaford Striders, the Seaford Half Marathon in early June

'The route around Seaford will take in some spectacular views over the Weald from the South Downs as well as the beautiful downland village of Alfriston, the Cuckmere Valley and the coast. The route, which is mostly off road, will be marked'

A smaller field of 392 runners, compared to past years, are here, towing the start line on Seaford Marine Parade. 

Bright warm sunshine and clear skies all over the south coast this morning. With a cool temperate at 13c and breezy for the moment, then reaching 15c later. 

Perfect conditions for a hilly half marathon today! 

This popular race has three climbs to combat. The first after a mile, then climbing trail to Bo Peep and meeting the South Downs way. Then South Barn Hill and Seaford Head towards the finish.  

Bosh runners and supporters
Mark, Gary, Richard, Ginette, Shaun, Karen, Marina, Trefor, John, Stephen, Myself and Nick

After an early pick up today by running friend John, arriving in good time to register and collect my bib. We chat outside to all the familiar faces arriving. Gary is taking it easier today after a relay race yesterday on the South Downs. We don't believe him, he always performs to his best racing or not...

All the Sunday morning Bosh gang are here to meet for their out and back run along the seafront once we set off. I get to meet Richard who has found the love of running again after shedding a huge amount of weight. He is doing great building up his confidence and stamina for his first marathon next year. 

Lucy and Mark arrive and we all chat running and life before just 15 minutes are left to walk to the start.

Wave to the Bosh mother Lucy

The start is slightly further along from the finish on the promenade. The sun feels warm already on us but with a cooling breeze behind us. Helpful for the finish sprint...

The Bosh runners wish us the best before taking a spot along the front to watch all the runners begin. 

John isn't running today, although he had planned to. He is feeling under the weather and thinks it not best to push it, especially as the sun is warmer now.

Selfie at the start
Nick, Marina and Stephen

START 9:00
Soon enough we are on the off and sprinting up the seafront before heading onto the main road, under the railway and across the A259. Marshals stop all the traffic to allow us to the other side safely. 

I notice all the finger posts in all directions taking short cuts and hilly tracks over to the downs. I always try to make a note for any future training runs. 

I have not run this exact path to the South Downs since the 2013 race and must come back down this way soon. 

We group together quite tightly on the first climb out towards Bishopstone. The track is rutted, very dry and dusted below. It narrows in places with high nettles and brambles. It 
is not easy to over take slower runners, so I just stay comfortable for the steady climb until I see a larger path to pass along. 

The Start at Marine Parade

The track levels out, cuts through the hedges then heads down steep into the fields. I can catch up my pace and on the next climb to Bo Peep the path is all open grass so I can run on feel again. The incline is steady but testing this early on. 

I can feel my legs are heavy so take it steady at 11:00min/mile until reaching the top at the South Downs Way turn. 4.5 miles in and greeted by lush scenery and bubble clouds. 

The breeze is a nice welcome!

Bow Peep Hill Mile 4

I am carrying my Salomon S-Lab5 with my water bladder today, which will keep me going and be no need to stop for lots of water.

Already we have passed two water stations that were very organised and prepared, ready for the big group of runners charging through.

South Downs Way Mile 5

A nice flat and long stretch on the track before heading through another water station and then down the steep rocky path into Alfriston. 

Plenty of walkers and supporters are dotted up the road. Cheering and clapping as we race past. Hikers and ramblers are setting off up the hill for a day on the downs. 

Joining Star Lane then right and quick left down the alley on the High Street. The next time I will be running here will be next weekend, in the dark for the South Downs Way 100, hopefully. 

Just before the bridge tape and a marshal guide us right along the river track that leads into Cuckmere Valley.

This is a long, flat and scenic trail that follows the Cuckmere River. The breeze is behind me now and the sun is really heating up. I take a salt capsule as I am an hour into the run and feeling warmer. 

MILES 7-13.10
I can see the faster runners ahead and the field has spread out leaving more gaps. I manage to pick up my pace here and start to over take some runners around the river trail. 

Most of the cows seem sleepy and sedated, paying no attention to us running through their patch.

This is good by me. Cows can be quite unpredictable at times...

Flat grass section at Cuckmere Valley

Another marshal is placed at a gate along the river and directs us to the correct path. 

The route is now heading through Frog Firle and back towards the A259. Soon enough we meet the road and a marshal stops the traffic in both directions, so we can run over the small, narrow bridge then cut through The Cuckmere Inn carpark. 

Cuckmere Valley Mile 8

Another water station in the carpark and I take a cup as the sun is starting to dry my mouth and thirst. I thank the support team and head up the short sharp climb and over to South Hill Barn. 

I take it steady on the inclines at a 12:00min/mile pace as I want to save my climbing legs for next weekends big event, South Downs 100

The track evens out only briefly after a mile, before reaching a longer climb up to South Hill Barn. Another water stop and steady incline up and over to Seaford Head and the golf course. 

The trail leads around the golf course until it meets the cliff edge and Vanguard Way public path to Seaford seafront. 

Seaford Head Mile 12

Supporters are dotted along the top of the cliff side, watching and cheering as we run past. A man calls out that myself and a runner right in front of me are 14 and 15th position. If he is correct then that is better than the 19th position of my first try, two years ago. 

The drop on the other side of Seaford Head is a steep one, like I remember. It is rather like the cliff top hills along the Seven Sisters, not so far away from here...

I run down fast, but carefully between the pot holes and chalk. Following the runner in front and the odd spectator pointing to the carpark, calling 'this way'. 

To the finish (photo by Lucy)

I cut down to the carpark and then onto Seaford promenade. This is the last mile and flat stretch to the finish.

Lots of supporters and spectators are clapping and cheering as I pass. I can hear the Bosh support from up ahead shouting my name. Lucy, John, Richard, Karen, Shaun and Mark are all here to see me in. 

FINISH 10:39
The last mile is rather tiresome on the flat pavement and it is good to reach the finish at last. I make it in 15th position, a personal best time of 1:38:58 from my first try two years ago. 

Very pleased but then this wasn't an actual race for me as such as I have a 100 miler next weekend I am focused on...

The Route

Just few climbs

15th Place 1:38:58

I collect my medal and wait for the other Bosh runners to come into the finish. 

A great local event and perfect running conditions for us today

Bosh finishers

Ultra Luke                               

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