Not too much Christmas pudding... cross-country championships looming

While some sportsmen can look forward to taking things easy over the Christmas and new year period, Chichester’s cross-country runners will be out in all weathers preparing for the Sussex championships on Saturday, January 4.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 12:30 pm
Chichester Runners' senior men at Bexhill for last year's cross-country championships

The venue is again at Bexhill, where the course is certain to provide a real test of fitness after the heavy rain of the past few weeks.

The undulating laps of woodland and grassland will be made all the more severe by the expected mud, especially in the later races in the ten-race programme after several hundred pairs of feet have left their mark on the course.

There are a couple of changes for this year in the senior distances – which may suit some but not others.

To make the men’s and women’s distances equal in length, the men have a slightly reduced from 12k to 10k while the women increase from 6.4k to 10k.

This is being introduced as a trial for one year and athletes will be able to have their say whether to keep the changes for 2021 or revert to the old distances.

The programme starts at 11.30am with the under-13 girls’ race and finishes with the senior women who, for a change, run after the senior men.

Corporate Challenge preview

Another reason for local runners of all ages not to neglect their exercise of the holiday period is that Boxing Day will be exactly two months before the start of the 29th running of the Chichester Corporate Challenge.

The dates for this year’s Wednesday night series are February 26, March 11 and March 25.

The series is sure to attract runners of all ages and standards all the way from primary school pupils in Years 5 and 6 right through to seniors and veterans.

The two main senior races will once again be split into A and B standards, giving the elite runners a chance to run without overtaking on the four-lap course.

The B race will have a range from 18 minutes through to over 30 minutes for the 4.5k distance and each runner will have their own personal challenge to improve over the three races.

The course records are there to be broken with American doctor Chris Zablocki still at the top of the tree for the men having eclipsed ex-Commonwealth Games 1500m champion Michael East with his effort four years ago of a stunning 12min 38sec finish.

For the women, Zara Hyde’s mark from 1996 of 14.15 is still the one to beat.

Entry forms will be on the Chichester Runners website early in 2020.