Rainy conditions did not stop the Sussex Cross Country League from getting off to a fine start at Goodwood.
Athletes from across the county did battle on similar courses to the relays held two weeks previously although conditions underfoot were more challenging, especially for the two senior races at the end of the day.
The 70-strong Chichester Runners squad gave a good account of themselves in all age groups with the best team results coming from the veteran women and the senior men, who both lie in second place at this early stage of the season.
Senior men’s race
In the final race of the day Chichester had their most unexpected result of the whole nine-race programme with the senior men finishing runners-up to reigning champions Brighton & Hove in division one, reproducing the result of the relays.
In-form under-20 Ned Potter led the squad home in an excellent fifth place as second under-20 to finish.
Evergreen James Baker ploughed his way through the field to maintain his remarkable run going back 20 years. His ninth place was the 54th time in succession the 42-year-old has finished in the top ten in a Sussex League race, a sequence he started in 2000.
Tom Le Lievre was 26th, followed in by Conrad Meagher in 27th and veteran John Peters 30th. Newcomer Tim Warner closed the scoring six in 55th for a team total of 152 points.
The B team had Harry Sage in 64th, Chichester University student Daniel Yorke 71st, over-60 veteran Richard Miles 92nd and Jon Edgar 95th for fourth spot in division three and a chance to move into division two for next season.
Rob Stapely led the C team home in 99th with good packing from Andrew Walker 100th, Paul Stallard 108th and David Bissatt 110th.
There was a full D team for the club with the luxury of two reserves. Mike Moorcroft in 111th was followed by Tom Blaylock in 127th, David Grove 131st and Wim Amir 137th with over-70 Peter Shaw 138th and Peter Anderson 139th.
The veteran trio of Baker, Peters and Miles were fourth in the veterans’ team category. Baker, Miles and Shaw are all in second place in their respective over-40, over-60 and over-70 age groups.
Senior women’s race
The senior women’s race was for under-17s, seniors and veterans’ age groups, so there was much to play for.
Chichester have maintained their division one status for nearly a decade and this year’s top quartet did not disappoint with the Fay Cripps leading the club home in 14th place in a quality field.
Next home was over-55 Jane Harrop, who moved through the field over the undulating, challenging 5k circuit.
The club’s top under-17 Maggie King was 33rd, tenth in her age group, while new member and ex-Surrey runner Emily Alden completed the scoring in 35th for fifth place in division one, well in touch with the top three.
Chichester’s women were out in force with the B team comprising two under-17s: Nicole Boltwood in 48th (18th under-17) and Amelia Bromell 71st (21st under-17) with veteran Kim Nelson 74th.
For the C team Amanda Godfrey led home the rest in 75th, supported by Elaine Ctuttenden in 109th and top over-65 Wendy Whelan in 112th.
The veterans’ trio of Cripps, Harrop and Alden lie in second place behind Arena 80 while the under-17 team of King, Boltwood and Bromell are fourth behind three Brighton teams.
Both of Chichester senior teams will look to cement their positions in the next fixture at Lancing Manor on November 9.
Chichester fielded 40 juniors at Goodwood, 16 of whom were in the under-13 races.
In the boys’ race Chichester had their sole outright winner of the day when Josh Dunne showed a clean pair of heels to his rivals.
After taking an early lead on the 3000m course, Dunne maintained a gap until the finish with his Crawley rival next in.
Improving runs from Alessandro Schmitt in 21st and Will Bailey in 26th gave the trio 48 points to and fifth in the team rankings.
Good packing from Noah Collins in 40th, Digby Fulford 44th and Ethan Hill brought the B team home in 15th while the C team comprised Alex Sydenham in 50th, Charlie Banham 57th and Seb Fenmor Collins 61st for 19th place.
Chichester’s top four in the girls’ race were separated by just 11 seconds with Carrie Anelay leading the squad home in 13th, followed by Laila Hellyer in 15th and Florence Ingram 16th to equal the boys’ fifth spot, well in touch with the leaders.
Anya Barrett led the B team home in 17th supported by Lillie Hellyer in 20th and Sophia Birchall 38th with reserve Millie Isitt in 329th for eighth team placing.
There was another fifth team place from the under-15 girls with Cerys Dickinson having her best run of the season in eighth place followed by Tamsin Anelay in 18th and Issy isitt 24th for 50 points for the A team. Reserves Gemma Appleton and Marcie Faggetter were 26th and 31st.
There was good packing from the under-15 boys with Hal Edgar in 19th, Gabe White 26th and Max Sydenham 28th for 73 points and eighth team place.
In the under-17 men Archie Sadler had a solid run for 21st place.
The under-11 age group has been added to the main league races in recent years and 14 of Chichester’s youngest section of the club took part, some having their first taste of competitive running in club colours.
In the boys’ race, Chichester had two finishers in the top half dozen with William Allen a fine fifth in his first race for the club with more experienced Stanley Wilkes just behind in sixth.
Eden Macdonald made 15th place with Ethan Cooper 28th, Hayden McGregor 30th, Ellis Fisher 31st, Tom Harrison 32nd and Ethan O’Donnell 33rd.
Grace Haworth finished ninth in the girls’ race followed by Isla Hill 22nd, Louisa Fenmor Collins 24th, Anya Dickinson 25th, Sophie Anthony 27th and Mia Court 29th.