Chichester runners scatter for race successes

Chichester Runners’ efforts were spread over three different locations last weekend.

Consequently a smaller number than usual travelled to Farley Mount, Winchester, for the first of this season’s Hampshire League fixtures.

However, there were some fine performances in what is generally recognised as one of the most competitive leagues in the country.

Highest-placed performers on the day were brothers Dan and Josh Eeles, with Dan finishing a best-ever 14th in the under 15 boys’ race, followed by Ed Gerwat in 27th and Harry Lyne 40th.

Josh, meanwhile, was 16th in the under-13 race, with fields of 70 runners across most of the junior age groups.

Greg Smith was 34th in the under-17 race while under-20 Ed Porter led home the seniors in 77th place overall and 24th in the under-20 category.

Chichester’s other two seniors on duty were club chairman Tom Blaylock in 135th and Terry Slade 184th – just five days short of his 70th birthday.

In the women’s race another veteran runner showed her best form for a while – Jane Harrop finishing a superb 20th overall and fifth in her category and ending as the leading over-50 in the field.

In the junior age groups, Rose Ellis had the top place in 20th in the under-15 girls’ race with fast-improving Nicola Mead next home in 28th while Tara Bage and Lucy Ellis battled hard for third scorer with Bage 40th, just one place ahead of her team-mate.

In the under-13 event Molly Whatmore in 30th and Maddie Smith in 38th ran well in a competitive field.

Chichester will host a meeting of the league at the Goodwood course on November 12 and, with full teams, will be able to assess their prospects for the season ahead against athletes who will expect to figure in the national rankings.

Meanwhile, a total of 15 of Chichester’s seniors travelled to the famous Hickstead showground on Sunday for the penultimate race in this year’s West Sussex Fun Run League.

On a course hardened by the recent dry spell, one of the club’s former juniors, John Leonard, led Chichester home in 13th place in the field of nearly 300 runners in a time of 34 minutes for the 8km of undulating terrain.

Next to finish was in-form Sarah Fenmor Collins in a fine 41st overall in 35.53 that put here second in the women’s race, a result which should stand her in fine stead for the first Sussex Cross Country League race at Goodwood on October 22.

The club’s third finisher, Tom Blaylock, was pleased with 43rd place in 36.03 followed home by fellow over-50 Colin Harley, 49th in 36.54.

In the battle of the over-60s Jan Hill repeated his winning form of the previous weekend in the Sussex relays to finish 65th overall in 38.11, just eight seconds in front of club-mate Don Faircloth 67th in 38.19.

Chichester’s remaining nine runners were Steve Bailey 90th in 39.43; Jane Leonard 94th in 40.04; David Knight 99th in 40.22; Gary Tompsett 111th in 41.52; Tony Cooley 124th in 43.01; Sue Baker 137th in 44.13; Jill Renson 154th in 46.15; Karen Bailey 196th in 52.48, and Lynn Harley 218th in 63.56.

With this year’s usual November fixture not being held, the league concludes this Sunday with the Lancing Steepdown Challenge, a race which certainly lives up to its billing as one of the toughest races on the league’s calendar.

PHIL BAKER