Baker’s not over the hill - he’s king of it

James Baker - Butser Hill Run winner again

James Baker - Butser Hill Run winner again

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Hundreds of junior and senior runners descended on East Hampshire countryside for the annual Butser Hill Run – and there was double joy for Chichester.

It was a perfect day for Chichester athletes as both 39-year-old James Baker and 14-year-old Harry Sage were too good for their rivals.

Having finished a modest 35th back in 1996 when still a teenager, Baker has enjoyed unparalleled success over many surfaces in the past 20 years with hilly off-road courses probably his favourite terrain of all.

Baker’s name now appears on the trophy for the ninth time in 13 years with this win and his winning time of 33 minutes 29 seconds was more than half a minute ahead of Sam Bevan from Basingstoke.

Julian Manning from Denmead Striders was a distant two minutes back in third place.

After missing the end of the track season in August with injury, Baker seems now to have resumed normal service in time for the winter fixtures with a mixture of cross-country and road races to tackle over the next few months.

Baker’s name appears on the trophy for the ninth time in 13 years with this win and his winning time of 33 minutes 29 seconds was more than half a minute ahead of Sam Bevan from Basingstoke.

Showing excellent form in the main junior races for up to 16-year-olds, Sage ran an excellent race to finish in 14.21 over the shorter junior course, ten seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

Part of Chichester’s under-15 track team during the summer, Sage will now also turn his sights to cross country running hoping to help to keep Chichester’s recent tradition of competing at the highest level in this age group.

Cross-country season

After a short break at the end of the track and field season, Chichester Runners will be turning their attention to their winter programme which starts in earnest with the popular Goodwood cross-country relays on Saturday week, October 1.

Attracting teams from all over Sussex as well as guest teams from Hampshire this will be the first chance for clubs to assess the strength of their squads before the league season starts two weeks later on Saturday, October 15.

Conditions underfoot should be fast despite recent rain with the athletes’ speed gained during the summer track season certain to be an advantage.

Both events are based at the Goodwood country park opposite Goodwood racecourse, with the action starting at midday.

PHIL BAKER

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