The rain stayed away and the high winds abated for the second evening of the 2019 Corporate Challenge.
What looked like being a battle against the elements for the 850 competitors turned out to be another opportunity to record fast times around the city centre circuit and for runners to shave seconds from their times of the opening race night.
With one race to go next Wednesday (March 27), there is much to race for in the individual categories in ten age groups.
There was a repeat of the first race at the front of the men’s and women’s field with Portsmouth-based Jonathan White taking ten seconds from his time to win by 14 seconds in a quick 13.16 for the 4.5k four-lap course.
He was chased all the way by Portsmouth athlete Jacob O’Hara, who used the event as a sharpener for the English schools cross country championships three days later. Worthing’s Jack Woods was relegated to third despite a faster time than in race one while previous winner James Baker came through the field well in the latter stages to finish a good sixth.
He was followed by Ned Potter, Leo Stallard and Mike Houston to make four Chichester-area runners in the top ten.
Cassie Thorp again came out on top in the women’s race in front of Solent MD team-mate Katie Hopkins with Ellie Farrow from Bishop Luffa school in third, another athlete to take the opportunity for a fast race before representing Sussex schools in Leeds.
In the team competition, it was Dstl Portsdown who re-established their place at the head of the table in the corporate category in the absence of first-race winners Everyone Active, with Cawley Crawlers moving up to second and Rolls Royce a narrow third.
It was déjà vu in the sports section with MD Sports getting the better of Chichester’s youth team, aka Conrad’s Lads, and Portsmouth AC Oddbins in third.
All three top ladies’ corporate teams were faster than in the first race but kept the same order with Bosham Primary school staff team having nearly three minutes to spare over WSCC Ladies and Portsdown West.
In the sports section, Chichester Casuals were again the winners, led home by under-17 Maggie King with CWTC Ladies and Marc Us Finished next home.
Primary Girls and Boys
The evening started as usual with the primary school girls and boys running over four races and numbering more than 300.
The top three in the Year 6 boys were the same as in race one with the race following a similar pattern. Isaac Glanfield from Downview set off again at a record-breaking pace and, although slowing slightly on the second lap, he had enough to spare over Sam Cato from Seal and Logan Cookson from Lyndhurst.
In the Year 5 race Stanley Wilkes from Jessie Youghusband was again dominant to record 4min 53sec for the 1.4k course, a time bettered only by the winner of the Year 6 race in 4.46. William Brown from Walberton & Binstead was again runner-up with James Fox from Oakwood third.
Team-wise things could not be closer with Downview leading Bishop Tufnell and Parklands, the three separated by a mere nine seconds but with another six teams breathing down their necks.
There was again a very high standard in the Year 6 girls’ race with four runners inside five minutes, one of the few times this has happened in 20-plus years of the event.
Florence East from Lyndhurst repeated her win from the first race with Laila Hellyer from Bishop Tufnell just beating the challenge of Kitty Bryden from Newbridge and twin sister Lillie.
Poppy Taylor from Overton was again a convincing winner of the Year 5 race, 12 seconds in front of Grace Howarth from Great Ballard, with Molly Smithers from Walberton & Binstead a further second adrift.
Another dominant display meant Bishop Tufnell won the team race by nearly a minute from Jessie Younghusband with Bosham a minute behind in third.
In the combined Year 9 and 10 boys’ race Cameron Walker-Powell from Mayville High dominated the four-lap 2.8k race to finish in 9.05.
Year 10 duo Jensen Howard from Springfield and Archie Sadler from Midhurst Rother occupied the next two places with runner-up in the Year 9 race Gabe White in fourth. Good packing from St Philip Howard brought them the team win.
As in race one, the closest finish of the whole evening occurred in the boys’ Year 8 race with Eddy Purser from Purbrook Park just getting to the line in front of Harvey McGuiness from Bishop Luffa, both runners given the same time of 6.50 seconds for the three-lap 2.1k course.
Fionn O’Murchu from St Philip Howard was clear in third, also under the seven-minute barrier while Hal Edgar in fourth had the satisfaction of leading Midhurst Rother to a team win from Bishop Luffa and St Philip Howard.
There was a new winner in the Year 7 boys’ race with Archie Turner from Our Lady of Sion getting the better of last race winner Joshua Dunne from Bohunt and Mackenzie Van Laun from Ditcham Park.
Team-wise the positions were the same as in the Year 8 race with Midhust coming out on top thanks to good packing.
With all the secondary girls running the same three-lap 2.1k course, it was again Year 9 pupil Olivia East from Mayfield who emulated the win of her younger sister earlier.
The next two to finish made it a Hampshire one-two-three with Year 8 Daisy Wilkinson from Brookfield just getting the better of Year 10 Natalya Smith from Noadswood. Cerys Dickinson from St Philip Howard was fourth overall and Nicole Boltwood fifth.
In the combined Year 9 and 10 team race St Philip Howard were a minute clear of Midhurst Rother with Bishop Luffa a similar distance further back in third.
Following Wilkinson in the Year 8 race were Emily Hanrahan from Midhurst Rother and Amelie McGurk, who led Bishop Luffa to a team win.
Top Year 7 girl was Hattie Bond from Petersfield School, a fine seventh out of the 56 finishers in the whole race. Split by a single second, Loise Byers and Anya Barrett, both from Midhurst Rother, led their school to a narrow team win over St Philip Howard.