Sport highlights of 2019 - Eight is great for Baker in Chichester Half Marathon

The Chichester Half Marathon has become a hugely popular and successful part of the sporting calendar since it was revived as a multi-terrain race in 2012.

Monday, 30th December 2019, 8:00 am

The remarkable thing about the race is that it has had the same winner in each of the eight years since - Chichester's James Baker, who revels in the mixture of roads and off-road sections, including the steep climb up the Trundle, that the half marathon offers.

See scenes from the 2019 race in our video above - and read below how we reported on the success of this year's contest.

Eight proved great for the organisers of the Chichester Half Marathon – and for winner James Baker.

The first three women home in the 2019 Chi Half Marathon / Picture by Derek Martin

The eighth staging of a race revived in 2012 proved a major success, with the number of entries continuing to grow but no one able to get the better of Baker, who has won it in each of those eight years.

Following a wet and windy Saturday, race day dawned crisp and sunny. Conditions helped the runners although the wind was blustery in places and the climb and descent of the Trundle needed careful negotiation with some areas slippery underfoot.

That meant Baker could not beat his own course record of 1hr 11min 52sec, but he was way ahead of the rest as he finished in 1.15.28.

In many ways the 2019 race ranks among the best yet. It saw the largest number of entrants taking to the streets – more than 900 runners crossing the finishing line in the half marathon, ten-miler and three-person relay.

Local clubs like Chichester Runners and Tone Zone had the largest contingents, but there were runners from Brighton to Southampton and from Dorset, Surrey, Wiltshire, London and Kent. Plenty of unattached runners took part too.

There were entrants were from Lancashire and the north east and there were nearly 30 relay teams, an increase of a third on 2017, while more than 100 runners opted for the shorter ten-mile course.

The race was organised by local leisure provider Everyone Active and the Chichester-based charity Children on the Edge.

At 9am the runners set off from Westgate, outside the Chi College race village. They streamed along West Street and East Street, across Oaklands Park and into the country to take in the Trundle Hill, returning to the city via Centurion Way.

It was a tough and challenging 13.1 miles, but rewarding too. Race winner, as stated, was Baker, and second was Jacob Maddison from Bognor, who was some seven minutes behind the victor. Third was Matt Jolly of Chichester, a fitness instructor from the Goodwood Health Club, repeating his 2018 placing.

Baker won the veteran-40 category ahead of Roger Norris and the vet 50 class was taken by Christo Oosthuizen in 1.26.03, six minutes quicker than the winner in this category last year.

The women's race was highly competitive and after a real battle Fay Cripps of Chichester Runners won in 1.30.59. She beat last year's winning time by more than a minute.