South Run is great for Chichester-area athletes

Action from the Great South Run    Picture by Malcolm Wells
Action from the Great South Run Picture by Malcolm Wells

Local athletes produced fine performances in the Great South Run as the biggest ten-mile race in the world produced more than 15,000 finishers.

First home from the Chichester area was Dan Bailey, running for Victory AC. He crossed the line in 56min 10sec to finish a superb 39th out of the men’s elite and massed start competitors.

Just over four minutes back was Simon Gill, of Bognor’s Tone Zone club, in 60.46 – just outside the top 100 in 106th place.

Another 100-or-so places farther back, three of Chichester Runners’ younger runners were having a battle to be first club member home.

Jake Pillans just proved the stronger to finish in 211th in a time of 64.15, a fine achievement just two weeks after his 17th birthday. Nick Mahoney, the oldest of the trio at 22, was next home in 64.37 in 234th while Zac Hurst was 11 places further back in 245th.

Just a week after turning 16 and undoubtedly one of the youngest runners in the race, Hurst crossed the line in a very creditable 64.58.

Another athlete to make the top 300 was Mikey Neville finishing 295th in 65.55.

A further 19 members of the Chichester Runners completed the course with a number coming from the beginners’ initiative which has been going for a couple of years inspired by club coach Rob Wiggins.

For many of these runners it was the first attempt over the ten-mile distance and all were delighted to achieve their goal.

Finishers were Paul Barker in 2,683rd in 1.20.27, Andrew Moore 3530th in 1.23.33, Sarah Kiddle 4,812th in 1.27.24, Polly Neville 5,988th in 1.30.34, Simon Thompson 6,283rd in 1.31.20, Sandra Nemorin-Noel 6,637th in 1.32.21, Gary Tompsett 6,844th in 1.32.53, Mark Mills 8,312th in 1.36.57, Stephanie Clief 9,284th in 1.39.38, Laura Boden 10,123rd in 1.42.02, Nic Moss 10,615th in 1.43.33, Sadie Middleton 11,553rd in 1.46.52, Paula Anderson 12,304th in 1.49.52, Emma Webster 12,463rd in 1.50.29, Carol Seymour 13,296th in 1.54.46, Stephanie Harland-Jones 13,741st in 1.57.22, Bridget Hicks 14,024th in 1.59.16, Richard Woolston 14,025th in 1.59.16, Liz Peskett 14,197th in 2.00.39.

Steepdown Challenge – West Sussex Fun Run League

After a season lasting ten months and covering 18 races over a variety of terrains, the Fun Run League reached its conclusion with the aptly-named Steepdown Challenge, held over a tough 8k course over the South Downs above Lancing.

Despite it being held the day after the Sussex Cross Country League, a total of 16 members of Chichester Runners completed the course to score vital points for the club, including several who had run the previous day.

Keith Akerman continued his fine West Sussex League form to finish 42nd out of a field of 350 runners and secure top overall spot for the club, having run in all 18 races over the season.

He was followed by over-60 Tom Blaylock in 69th with Ashley Hiom close behind in 72nd and Jan Hill, another of the club’s strong over-60 squad, in 78th.

Tony Cooley was 92nd with Steve Searle 132nd, Dave Barty 142nd, Tracy Lockyear 164th, Sue Barty 167th, Jill Renson 192nd, Sue Baker 211th, Peter Shaw 219th, Sandra Nemorin-Noel 238th, Emma Searle 293rd and Dave Grunwell 328th.

Special mention goes to Nick Palmer ,who needed attention from a St John Ambulance crew after a heavy fall but still finished in 306th spot in just over 52 minutes.

Team manager Jill Renson ended the season pleased with Chichester’s overall mid-table position in getting an average of over 20 athletes competing in each race, a task which is increasingly difficult with the increased choice of races in recent years.

PHIL BAKER