Athletes say Chichester’s race route is a perfect 10

Chris Powner is second home in the Chichester Priory 10k  Picture by Chris Pinchbeck
Chris Powner is second home in the Chichester Priory 10k Picture by Chris Pinchbeck

ATHLETES we spoke to after the 10k were unanimous in their praise for the event – and the new-look course.

It was winner Ben Whitby’s first time in the Chichester race and he doesn’t intend for it to be his last.

After coming home in an impressive time of 29.37min, the Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow AC member, who is 35, said: “I’m delighted to win, but I did come here believing I could win.

“It’s my first time here and it’s a nice course. It’s undulating but not the point where it slowed me down.

“I wound it up a bit after around 7k and didn’t look back.

“It was pretty cold – I was in Kenya last week where I did a race in temperatures of 28 degrees, so it was a little colder than that.

“I won the Brighton 10k last November so Sussex seems to suit me. I hope to come back to Chichester next year now.”

Women’s winner Charlotte Purdue, who hopes to run for GB in the Olympics in London, was equally pleased with her display.

She said: “I am really pleased with the way the race went. I have been back running for only three weeks and I needed to see what shape I was in.”

Men’s runner-up Chris Powner has now finished second in Chichester twice in three years and wants to go one better next time.

Powner, 28, who missed the 2011 race through injury, said: “It was a good contest. I had a bit of stitch around 6.5k and that’s where Ben made his break. I couldn’t quite go with him.

“There were four of us out ahead for a lot of the way and it was a pretty close finish, which I think helped me take a few seconds off the time of 29.45 I did here two years ago.

“I’m in a decent run of form – I won the Round The Lakes 10k on Boxing Day and the Stubbington Green 10k last month – but it would be nice to come back and win this one some time.

“My next target is the Bath half-marathon, which will be my first time at that distance.”

As expected, James Baker was the first Chichester athlete home, but he was disappointed by his time of 32.19.

“My 10k personal best is 31.18 so I was some way off that,” he said. “It was too cold for me, really; I was one-paced.”

Another Chichester runner to impress was Chris Jack in a time of 36.12, helping his club achieve 12th place in the men’s team placings.

He said: “It was quite tough. I went out a bit too fast - and I’ve done this race about five times now, so I should know better. I was reasonalby pleased with my time, though.”

STEVE BONE