Top-quality field in running for Chichester 10k honours

SOME top-quality entries have been received for this year’s Chiechester Priory 10k, which is now just over a week away.

SOME top-quality entries have been received for this year’s Chiechester Priory 10k, which is now just over a week away.

The February 6 race is the 20th anniversary of the event and entries show it is as popular as ever with local athletes and high-quality runners from across the south.

There is continued interest from clubs in the Sussex Grand Prix, including Seaford Striders, Portslade Hedgehoppers, Hailsham Harriers, Heathfield Runners and Worthing Harriers.

One of the biggest club entries is from Tone Zone in Bognor.

They have a strong association with local Volkswagen dealer Peter Cooper, who are again sponsoring the race alongside international shoe company Brooks.

Dulwich Runners have made the Priory 10k their club championship and will have nearly 50 runners competing.

Other entrants include runners from such well-known clubs as Chelmsford AC, Highgate Harriers, Herne Hill Harriers, Newham & Essex Beagles AC and Aldershot, Farnham & District.

This year’s field includes around 30 runners who have run or are targeting a time around the 30-minute mark.

Two of the fastest challenging for victory are Michael Johnson of Bristol & West AC and Paul Martelletti of Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets.

Others well ranked include Josh Guilmant (Pheonix AC), Adam Hickey (Southend-on-Sea AC), Carwyn Jones (Cardiff AC), Ben Warren (Harrow AC), Ryan Prout (Chelmsford AC) and Chris Busaileh (Herne Hill Harriers).

Ben Pochee (Highgate Harriers) could take the vets’ prize from Andy Morgan-Lee, Lee Rodriguez and Tad Dicker, who have all run well at Chichester in previous years. James Baker is usually the first Chichester Runner home and this year is expected to be no different. The women’s race looks to be of a very high standard and four leading ladies are also in the veteran women’s category.

Leading the field and challenging the course record should be Liz Yelling of Bedford & County AC, Caroline Hoyte (Arena 80 AC), Claire Elms (Dulwich Runners), who was last year’s runner-up. In fact three of the top four finishers from last year take part, with Emily Alden (Epsom & Ewell Harriers) and Claire Nichols (New Forest Runners) also involved again.

Others who have been well up the UK rankings include Samantha Amend (Belgrave Harriers), Vicki Clark of Arena 80 AC, Fiona Powell (Brighton & Hove AC), Elaine Murty (Blackheath & Bromley), Holly Wheeler (Arena 80), Julie Briggs (Arena 80) and Kath Bailey (Winchester & District AC).

Arena 80 are favourites to win the women’s team event but the men’s event is far more open.

GRAHAM JESSOP