Category Archives: The Duck Files

The Truth Goes Quack!

Meet David

So, I promised I would introduce you to some of my new recruits.

But before I start, it’s important to say that I am taking my role of official Duck Race Personal Trainer (DRPT) very seriously and have undertaken some serious training of my own.

As a DRPT, I now possess the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to design safe and effective fitness programs for younger ducks. I plan to instruct and assist fellow ducks in reaching personal health and fitness goals. But ultimately, I will help one of them to win the biggest race of their life!

Just think of me as Irving “Irv” Blitzer from Cool Runnings (google it!)

So, lets meet the ‘swimmers and paddlers’ in this years’ race.
Meet David, he tall for his age and very athletic. He has a near perfect psyche for long distance paddling and to be honest, on the surface he appears to be a bit of a dude.

David has always been very focused and he stands out at school for his sporting prowess.

But David is painfully shy and finds it hard to talk to people around him preferring hide behind his shades or to lose himself in a long distance swim.

So, how did I help him to feel more a part of a team?
Simple, on David’s behalf, I enlisted a couple of the ducklings to help him with his training regime…. budding chef Jamie took over David’s diet ensuring the right balance of carbs and protein not to mention his 10 a day whilst mathematician Carol got busy with her stop watch timing races, working out PB’s and spurring David on to faster and faster race times.

So, come on down and see Team David on Sunday for a really great example of team work in action.

Photo Credit: Daniel Rothamel

Sam’s Diary – April 27th 2017

Hello, Sam the Duck here, I can’t believe it’s only just over a week to go until the Duck Race, how quickly did that year fly by?
Anyway, I am back and I am looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday 7th May for the annual Storrington Duck Race.
I hear there are some changes this year though.
There will more hotly contested races this year with 6 heats; the top ten ducks from each heat being entered into the Grand Finale, making 7 races in all.

That gives me more of a chance of winning yes?

Well actually, no, I decided after last year’s debacle that I would take a back seat this year and rather than being ‘in it to win it’, I will help the youngsters.

But before I get ahead of myself, perhaps you don’t know what happened last year.

Well, let me tell you.

I am sure you will remember that I trained like a dog, or was it like a duck, to be in tip top condition.
I learnt how to breathe, I ate well, I stretched, I meditated, I focused and oh boy did I get in the zone….in short, I was totally ready for the big day.
So what went so wrong….
With all the training and focus and hard work….. I was so exhausted that I slept through the whole thing!
I dreamt that I had won and won big but in truth, I snored my way through the most important day of the year.
So this year I have decided to dedicate myself to helping sharing all the things I have learnt to help the youngster paddle to glory.
Over the next few days I am going to introduce you to a few of the up and coming ducks who will be competing on the day, perhaps one will take your fancy for a bet?
Keep an eye out for them all won’t you!

I did it!

I did it!

Well, I got to the end of the race at least.

I will update you all soon on how well I did, but right now Michelle says I have to focus on my recovery.

She says immediately afterwards I need to have a warm bath/shower, soak my feet in cool water, have a nice meal and a drink or two to celebrate. So that’s what I am off to do.

I have booked a massage to aid recovery and prevent soreness, and I plan to take a couple of days off and then start off gently with a walk, swim, etc. and see how I feel.

After all, it’s only 364 days till we go again…..

Signing off

Sam the Duck

It’s the big day today!

It’s the big day and I am N.E.R.V.O.U.S.!

So I managed an early night last night thanks to a long, hot bath with Neal’s Yard Relaxing Bath Soak, my favorite if anyone ever wants to treat me. I attacked my webs with the pumice stone, all this running and swimming has taken its toll and I fear I am developing a callous to rival Victoria Beckhams’ famous disfiguration.

Anyway, I digress, it’s the nerves you know.

Michelle told me I must eat breakfast, even a small amount is good she said, so I took her at her word and tucked into cereal, yoghurt, fruit, full English, toast and tea. Feel much better if a little heavy around the middle which I hope doesn’t result in me sinking….

Anyway I digress again, it’s the nerves you know.

Michelle says to take 5 minutes to think about what I’m going to be doing, visualise success! She says if you feel nervous try deep breathing, breath in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 7. Iiiiiin, ouuuuuuut…..that’s better. Calm now.

So I need to allow plenty of time to get to the start…that’s me off….see you all on the other side!

Sam the Duck

It’s pre-race day!

Wow, its pre-race day already!

How fast did that go…..

Today I don’t plan to do too much, I am going to try to relax, do things that will take my mind off the event….maybe weed the course or wax my webs, for aerodynamic purposes only you understand.

I wonder if my personal trainer Michelle Green can fit me in? Michelle is a qualified Sports Massuer and believe me, she can knead the knots out of anything.
Michelle has been working for SouthDowns Health and Fitness since February 2012. She leads and manages the RunClub and RunKids as well as offering Sports Massage. I wonder if she has a slot……
There is one thing I do need to do though, that said!

I need to check my kit, make sure I’ve got everything ready, try it on so I am prepared.

High-technology swimwear fabrics are scientifically advanced materials used for swimwear in competitive water sports such as swimming and triathlon. Materials of this type are normally spandex and nylon composite fabrics with features to reduce drag against the water. The fabrics include features that increase the swimmer’s glide through the water (said to mimic marine animal skin) and reduce the absorption of water by the suit as opposed to regular swimsuits. For example, Speedo claims their line up will increase one’s swimming speed by 3–7%.

The other thing I need to think about is how I’ll be getting there, so there’s no panic on the day.

Duck HQ is the FOSS store cupboard at Storrington First School and normally we get a lift with the lovely mummies, daddies and teachers who help make the day such a success.

So, if you have a few hours spare on Sunday morning, please let Sharon or Delia know as we would love some help getting all of us ducks, gazebo’s and stuff to the Riverside Walk PLUS you get first choice on the cake stall but shhhhh, I didn’t tell you that.

So, all that remains is to say see you there and I hope you have a great day!

Look out for me and all my chums thrashing down the stream to racing success for the good cause that is Storrington First School….

Sam the Duck

Less than a week to go!

So with less than a week to go, I am more focused than I have ever been.

Training regime wise, it’s all about the “taper but don’t get confused. This is not about the style of trouser I plan to wear on the day.

My personal trainer Michelle said “a week before the event, cut right back on the amount of activity. No long or heavy sessions” which sounds great to me, not quite putting my feet up but definitely planning to rest up at Duck HQ.

She has also told me all about carb loading. She says that 3 days before the event I need to increase the amount of carbs I eat at every meal. I need to make sure I hydrate well too so I will be sipping water throughout the day.

So, with this in mind I thought I would share my favourite pasta recipe with you all: SPAGETTI CARBONARA, the clue is in the name.

§ 1 Tbsp olive oil or unsalted butter
§ 1/2 pound pancetta or thick cut bacon, diced
§ 1-2 garlic cloves, minced, about 1 teaspoon (optional)
§ 3-4 whole eggs
§ 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
§ 1 pound spaghetti pasta (or bucatini or fettuccine)
§ Salt and black pepper to taste

1 Heat pasta water: Put a large pot of salted water on to boil (1 Tbsp salt for every 2 quarts of water.)

2 Sauté pancetta/bacon and garlic: While the water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon or pancetta and cook slowly until crispy. Add the garlic (if using) and cook another minute, then turn off the heat and put the pancetta and garlic into a large bowl.

3 Beat eggs and half of the cheese: In a small bowl, beat the eggs and mix in about half of the cheese.

4 Cook pasta: Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add the dry pasta, and cook, uncovered, at a rolling boil.

5 Toss pasta with pancetta/bacon: When the pasta is al dente (still a little firm, not mushy), use tongs to move it to the bowl with the bacon and garlic. Let it be dripping wet. Reserve some of the pasta water.

Move the pasta from the pot to the bowl quickly, as you want the pasta to be hot. It’s the heat of the pasta that will heat the eggs sufficiently to create a creamy sauce. Toss everything to combine, allowing the pasta to cool just enough so that it doesn’t make the eggs curdle when you mix them in. (That’s the tricky part.)

6 Add the beaten egg mixture: Add the beaten eggs with cheese and toss quickly to combine once more. Add salt to taste. Add some pasta water back to the pasta to keep it from drying out.

Serve at once with the rest of the parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

If you want, sprinkle with a little fresh chopped parsley.

If pasta is not your thing, don’t forget on Duck Race Day that the ever-popular BBQ will be “on-fire” and the cake stand is shaping up to be the best stocked yet. There will also be sack loads of sweets and copious bags of candy floss so something to tickle every palette.

Mmmmm my taste buds are racing!

Sam the Duck

Brrrrr, have you bought your ducks yet?

Brrrr, I’ve been out for a paddle this morning and I have to say that whilst the stream is looking stunning with the daffodils in full flower and the sun shining, I was not expecting snow yesterday nor the temperature to have plummeted so much!

But you are not to worry about me, I luckily have not put away my winter wardrobe yet and I was able to fluff up my feathers and get in the water for a final last push to get my time up to the P/B I am aiming for on race day.

On that note, have you bought your ducks yet?? Far be it for me to tell anyone what to do, but buying your ducks ahead of the day means you can enjoy all the “fun of the fair” without needing to queue to place your bets.

Keep an eye out for our helpers rattling tins and waving clip-boards, you will spot them in the village and they would love to see you.

But before I go, I have been onto the Met Office as the snow yesterday worried me.

It is hard to believe that last week saw the warmest day of the year so far when Porthmadog in Wales reached 20.3 celsius but by the end of the week we had snow showers across the north of the UK and sleet and hail showers elsewhere!
As for the snow in Storrington, apparently it is more likely to snow in spring than at Christmas so we shouldn’t have been so surprised.

Statistically, it has snowed on average for more days in March than it has in December, according to the Met Office.

Snow or sleet falls on average for 3.9 days in December, compared to 4.2 days in March.

And while April is a bit of a different story, with only 2.3 days of snowfall on average, it’s not entirely unheard of.
Have you ever heard the old saying: ‘Ne’er cast a clout, until May is out’?

It basically means, don’t throw away your winter clothes until June, because May has always been a bit of a weather free-for-all.

So don’t worry – only two more months and then all this confusion will be over.

As for Sunday, I would keep your options open as the BBC long term weather forecast leading up to Sunday says:

There is a change afoot?
The pressure pattern looks set to change and this will lead to a subtle shift in wind direction. Weather systems will have more of an Atlantic influence, rather than a straight northerly influence, and this will mean that by day temperatures will slowly become less cold and eastern areas will at times see temperatures creep above normal. However, on balance the UK average temperature is likely to fall below average for this time of year. We are expecting to see weather systems to affect the whole of the UK with everyone at some point seeing outbreaks of rain pushing through with the continued risk of Scotland seeing some snow over the mountains so I pity anyone North of the Border.

Sam the Duck

Ducks on sale and the 401 Challenge

Quack quack!!! Sam here. Well what a week it’s been and its only Wednesday!

The other day saw the fab Ben Smith of the 401 Challenge run a marathon in Storrington, I didn’t know there were that many miles in the village, the Duck Race course certainly isn’t that long, thankfully!

Ben is aiming to run 401 marathons on 401 consecutive days all around the UK in order to not only break a record but also to raise £250,000 for charities Kidscape and Stonewall. By the time he got to Storrington on Tuesday he was on marathon number 232, having started last September.

And he had such a hot day for it!

As he pounded the pavements he managed to speak to BBC Sussex twice. He visited our lovely primary school Storrington First where he got the chance to run round the school fields with loads of the school kids! And I hear that they had great fun.

He did a two lap course through some beautiful towns in Sussex with some amazing people! Lots of new PBs and lunch stops.

Ben says “Thanks to everyone who took part, was such a lovely day!”

So, well done Ben, you have set the bar high for our race day on 8th May which is coming around very fast.

So fast in fact that it’s time to start placing your bets ladies and gents!


So, keep an eye and a beak out for our lovely supporters selling ducks all over the place in the coming weeks. Feel free to approach them, they don’t bite, and they will be only to happy to sell you a duck for the big day….

So if you’d like to make a duck very happy (while helping the school too!) please come along to the Henry Adams car park this Saturday 23rd or next between 10am & 12 noon to buy some of my little friends!!

In the spirit of fair competition, I won’t be telling you which race I am in or what my number is as I would hate to be accused of race fixing but trust me, there are some real contenders in the pack this year and any of us stand a good chance of making it to the last, all important, cash prize race but you’ve GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IN so buy as many ducks as you can……

£1 a duck, a bargain if I say so myself.

And good luck!

Push yourself, one mile more

Gosh it’s harder than I thought all this getting into shape but without the encouragement of a good trainer I wouldn’t have made it this far, proof that having the right team is half the battle.

This is what we have been doing this week, please feel free to follow my regime at home if you like and let me know how you get on….

So, for week 3, I need to push myself, one mile more.

Michelle says “when you’re training for an event be sure not to push yourself too hard too fast. A good training plan will ensure that you can achieve your goal without injury or burn out. As a general rule increase your efforts by no more than 10% per week.

“So Sam, the goal is a river of approximately 100m and with 4 weeks to go you want to be adding a little bit each week so by the end of April you can comfortably paddle about 90m. Try and combine your paddling with some waddling to get the added benefit of cross training. Simple body weight exercises like lunges and squats will help to increase your strength. With your feet hip width apart, spread your webbed toes for balance, bend your knees whilst sticking your bottom out behind you, wings out in front to steady you.

“I know it’s a very busy time for you in the run up to the big day. Rest should also be an important part of your training. Schedule a rest day every week when you can just curl up in the nest and let your body recover and become stronger.”

So, I am going to keep on pushing through the pain barrier and aim for the 90m paddle on 8th May.

How are you all getting on with your training for the big day?