Finn McNally marked a new era for the Chichester Priory 10k race when he was crowned the 2017 champion on Sunday.
Following a run of 25 years based in the city, this year’s event started and finished at Goodwood motor circuit for the first time.
In total, a record 1,717 racers tackled 6k of public roads to begin, before returning for a lap of the motor circuit to complete the course.
McNally, who is a member of Brighton Phoenix Athletics Club, took top honours, finishing in a time of 30min 46sec. Having been out of action through injury for a sustained period, McNally has spent a large part of his winter warm weather training in Kenya.
After his stint away, the Brighton Phoenix runner revealed his delight at sealing victory on his English race return.
He said: “I had great fun out there. I haven’t raced in a little while so it was good to get back competing.
“I’ve struggled with injury and I have been away training in Kenya. As I’m from Sussex, I’d hoped to win a race in the county and I’ve managed to do that now. So often training in Brighton I’ve been getting injured, so I mixed it up this winter and had some warm weather training in Kenya. The conditions were a bit different in Chichester than out there, but it was the same for everyone and I’m just happy to have won.
“I just want to keep competing and challenging this year now. I think road races suit me best, so hopefully I race in a few more of those.”
Alex Wall-Clarke, who races for Southampton Athletics Club, took second place, coming home 15 seconds after McNally, before Southport Waterloo Athletics Club’s Ben Johnson (31:16) completed the top three.
In the female race, it was a Sussex one-two. Izzy Coomber of Lewes Athletics Club was first home in a time of 35:14, before Chichester Runners’ home racer Rebecca Moore completed the course 12 seconds later.
For Coomber, it was third time lucky, having competed at the old course twice before.
Following her race victory, she said: “I found it quite hard as the wind was quite draining, but I got a personal best and won the race, so I can’t complain. I’d raced the old course twice in the past couple of years and I really wasn’t expecting to win the race this year.
“I think I prefer the new course as opposed to the old one, it would have been even better had the wind not been as strong. I’m really pleased and a little surprised with my start to 2017. My aim is to just keep trying to take time off my personal best.”
Full list of results and reaction from the race in Thursday’s Observer series.
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