Chichester athletes break parkrun records ... cross-country action returns

Record-holder Rebecca Moore
Record-holder Rebecca Moore

Chichester’s athletes have been in parkrun action in recent weeks with last Saturday’s runs an example of the strength of the club in various locations.

In Bognor Harry Leleu was first over the line in a speedy 16min 29sec, more than two minutes in front of the next finisher.

Some runners will be after personal best times while others will be happy for the satisfaction of finishing the course.

Under-17 Alfie Spurle was third, just in front of one of the club’s new under-15s, Niall Mears. In sixth place overall, Alice Cox-Rusbridge, also one of the club’s strong under-17 section, was first woman to finish – in sixth.

In the Chichester run in Oaklands Park, university student Joe Godwood was second home while under-15 Olivia Toms was a fine fourth overall and first woman, with clubmate Lucy Thraves just behind.

In the whole of the UK parkrun scene there was only one course record set last Saturday and it fell to James Baker who went to Whiteley in Hampshire and flew round the course in exactly 16 minutes to add to his growing collection of course records, already holding the best times for Bognor at 16.11, Alice Holt in Hampshire at 16.25 and Parke in 16.50.

Baker’s four records are eclipsed, however, by Rebecca Moore who currently has six to her credit. With different degrees of difficulty and terrain over the various courses, times vary considerably – but Moore’s roll of honour makes impressive reading.

Her fastest is at Worthing at 16.59, acknowledged as being a good course for fast times. Next comes Portsmouth Lakeside at 17.07 followed by Chichester at 17.20 and Bognor at 17.25.

From her times at Cambridge University Moore also holds the Huntingdon record at 17.35 with her final and slowest record having come at Havant at 18.36 on a challenging course.

Chichester hold a final record with Fay Cripps having the fastest time at the Queen Elizabeth run in East Hampshire in 20.13, another testing circuit.

This Saturday, as usual, many thousands of runners of all ages will be turning out at a variety of locations at 9am for their 5k run to make a healthy start to the weekend.

Some runners will be after personal best times while others will be happy for the satisfaction of finishing the course.

Goodwood Cross Country Relays

Saturday, September 30, the cross-country season gets into full swing with the usual opening fixture of the season, the Sussex cross-country relay championships at Goodwood Country Park.

Using the grassland opposite Goodwood racecourse and the footpaths through the adjacent woodland, the terrain is usually fast and firm underfoot at this time of year, a recipe for fast times.

The action will start with the under-13 boys and girls’ races at midday, when Joe Mclarnon should be one of the fastest Sussex athletes on show in the boys’ race.

In the under-15s at 12.45pm, Liam Dunne will look to reproduce his fine track season of 800m and 1,500m displays while Olivia Toms will lead the girls’ under-15s for Chichester.

All juniors will run over an undulating 2,800m course. The two senior races will be run over a single 4,000m lap of the usual league course with the runners going to the far end of the woodland circuit before making their climb to the finish at the top of the course.

In last year’s event, Chichester’s only two gold medals came in the senior races. The over-55 women’s team of Jane Harrop, Amanda Godfrey and Sue Barty gained a narrow but well-deserved win over Arena 80 while the under-17 men’s trio of Will Broom, Charlie Benson and Ben Collins had just over half a minute in hand over City of Portsmouth and Hastings AC.

On the back of a good summer’s racing on the track, Chichester have cause to be optimistic about their prospects but with other Sussex clubs strong at present, medals will not be easy to come by.

The senior women’s race will start at 1.30pm with the senior men off at 2.30pm over the same course. On paper Chichester have a chance of being up with the leaders in both races but much will depend on whether they can field their strongest teams on the day.

- PHIL BAKER