Baker and Barwood fly Chichester flag in Brighton Marathon

James Baker was tenth in the Brighton Marathon
James Baker was tenth in the Brighton Marathon

CHICHESTER Runners & AC had superb performances to celebrate in Brighton.

In dry but windy conditions nearly 9,000 runners completed the third Brighton Marathon, which is fast establishing itself as the second-best marathon in the country after London.

On a day when both men’s and women’s course records were smashed by several minutes, Chichester had a day to remember with two athletes in the leading dozen and – at the time of going to press – looked like being named winners of the team prize.

There was an international flavour at the front of the race with three Kenyans, an Ethiopian, previous winner Batochir from Mongolia and Thomas Abyu, top British marathon runner in the past decade, making up the top six.

James Baker (above) was content to run in the next group but was not the only Chichester member showing good form as Martin Barwood was also going well. Peter Some broke the tape first in a fantastic 2hr 12min 3sec, knocking five minutes from the previous record and posting a faster time than was seen in the world-renowned Boston Marathon the same weekend.

Abyu stuck to his task, finishing fifth ahead of athletes from Ethiopia, Australia and Scotland before Sviatlana Kouhan finished in just under 2.30 to repeat Some’s feat by slicing more than five minutes from the women’s record.

There was delight for Chichester as Baker was next to appear, crossing the line tenth overall with a time of 2.30.30 – a five-minute improvement on his previous best and 12 minutes faster than his first effort at the marathon in 2010.

The 35-year-old was delighted to be the third Briton over the line and take the trophy for being the first local athlete home.

There was more joy for Chichester when Barwood notched a fine 11th place in 2.33.23 in his first full marathon. Barwood has been training with ex-Chichester junior Jo Corbett.

Next Chichester runner home was veteran Lee Neumann whose 3.10.47 clocking in 166th place gave Chichester a combined time of 8hr 14min 40sec, which looks like making them top club team, well in front of the rest including Brighton & Hove and Phoenix AC on their home course.

Six more finishers from Chichester fared well: Justin Eggins was 607th in 3.27.59, Terry Healy 967th in 3.34.27, Mike Moorcroft 1,354th in 3.41.33, Andrew Moore 1,454th in 3.43.01, Nicola Upton 2,009th in 3.47.33 and Emma Webster 7,112th in 5.03.55.

This weekend’s London Marathon sees several more of the club’s runners doing battle.

PHIL BAKER