A TOTAL of 130 runners from all over the south-east competed in the second annual Valley Challenge, an eight-mile race through the Lavant Valley to the north of Chichester and up the three hills of East Dean, Knights Hill and Levin Down.
The race was organised by Milestone Fitness to raise funds for Singleton Playschool and raked in an incredible £3,700, which delighted manager Averil Rossiter.
She said: “We’re so very grateful to everyone who took part in the Valley Challenge and to all the people who helped with organising, marshalling and providing refreshments, especially Milestone Fitness.
“We will put the money to great use, purchasing equipment that will really make a difference to what we can provide for the children at Playschool.”
The race was won by Chichester’s James Baker, who achieved a personal best of 45min 25sec, shaving a minute off his 2013 time.
The first female home was Linda Tombs of Fittleworth Flyersin 1hr 4min.
Most runners completed the hilly, tough route in about 90 minutes, returning to East Dean Village Hall for tea, cake and a handmade medal from Wests of East Dean.
For the first time a group of Cannicross runners entered, taking their dogs with them.
Feedback from runners has been overwhelmingly positive. One participant, Paul Henderson, said: “I had an absolutely fantastic time. What a great event - much nicer than some of these big commercial ones.
Philippa Gee added: “I am so glad I entered. The atmosphere was fantastic, the marshals were wonderful. I have never done a run where the marshals were so friendly and genuinely encouraging.
“Because there weren’t hundreds of runners there was a real personal touch which was lovely. The route, countryside, villages and scenery were spectacular and I loved the little signs along the way, and the unique medal.
Runner Tracy Vise said: “The event was very well organised and friendly – it’s great to feel you’re part of something smaller than some of the races and that makes a difference to a local group.
“The views would have been lovely if the sun had come out but I was quite glad it didn’t as it was humid enough.”
Sponsors included local energy firm IGas and new Chichester-based running shop i-Run, while Chichester Runners loaned equipment.
The date for the 2015 Valley Challenge has been set for September 19 – so lots of time to get training.