Leleu leads Chichester charge for Great South Run honours

The elite men get under way at the Great South / Picture by Shaun Roster
The elite men get under way at the Great South / Picture by Shaun Roster

A total of 54 Chichester Runners, many of them running the distance for the first time, lined up with nearly 20,000 competitors at the 30th running of the Great South Run at Portsmouth.

After recent stormy weather, conditions were as near to perfect as can be expected at this time of year, epitomised by the run of Eilish McColgan in the elite women’s race as she broke her mother’s previous course record of 52 minutes, set in 1997, with a time of 51min 38sec, a time that stands only second on the UK all-time list behind Paula Radcliffe’s 51.11 in 2008.

For Chichester. Harry Leleu was given a number on the elite men’s start and fully justified the faith of the organisers although he paid the price of an enforced fast start over the second half of the course to come home in 33rd position in 53.08.

That was marginally slower than his target time although for a first ever race over ten miles, the Chichester Runners 10k record holder was satisfied with his debut performance.

Chichester were delighted to have fellow triathlete Will Grace also in the top 50 and, after battling to get a good position in the massed start, Grace crossed the finish line in 54.57, also a personal best and good enough for 41st place.

A further five club members were within the 70-minute barrier with Keith Akerman 211th in 63.04, Mikey Neville 237th in 63.39, Simon Castrey 453rd in 67.33, Richard Holder 509th in 68.11 and Richard Pullen 543rd in 68.36.

Chichester’s first two women crossed the line together with Emma Wickens and Jo Prosser both timed at 77.47 which gave them 1842nd and 1843rd in the whole field and just outside the top 250 women to finish.

Not far behind was Nicky Hill in 78.19 to give the club three women in the top 300.

With nearly 40 of the club’s 54 finishers in the top half of the field, there were many satisfied faces at the end of ten miles concentrated effort.