Dash to line gives thrilling finishes to Chichester road races

The first three home in the primary girls' race  Picture by Louise Adams C130445
The first three home in the primary girls' race Picture by Louise Adams C130445

THE final races in the 2013 Corporate Challenge series took place in dry but cold conditions with another good turnout of nearly 600 runners.

That made a grand total of just short of 2,000 who have braved the three chilly evenings - and despite the near-zero temperatures, the standard in all the six races lived up to the usual high standards.

While many of the winners on the night were familiar faces, there was a new name on the main senior roll of

honour with Portsmouth-based Alex Teuten just getting the better of James Baker to win the A race in the first sub-13.30 clocking of the year.

Teuten had just returned from gaining his first England vest in the previous weekend’s home countries international.

Runner-up on this occasion, Baker’s consistency over the three races clinched the overall title by nearly half a minute from John Morrey, who led his Worthing Hares squad to the sports team title. Stubbington athlete Lewis Chalk won the fight for third place.

Click here to see again our video from earlier in the Corporate Challenge series

In the women’s section there was Hampshire domination in the individual rankings with Lauren McCarthy from Portsmouth beating off the challenge of Havant duo Corinne Reynolds and Amy Bream.

Just behind, Beth Garland led home Lucy Thraves and Emma Maynard to seal a comfortable win for Chichester’s under-20s with Georgina Warner, Nicola Mead and Hannah Croad having scored earlier in the series.

There was much to play for in the main corporate team category with the reign of the DSTL Naval Systems team coming to an end at the hands of Jessie Joggers, who were just too good for Midhurst Rother Staff.

In the women’s overall standings, DSTL and Jessie Joggers had to settle for the minor medals behind consistent Cawley Crawlers whose three aggregate times were little more than a minute apart.

Earlier, there was the usual mad dash for the first corner in the four junior races with once again more than 300 runners in action.

There was double team success for Jessie Younghusband School in the primary age group with Olivia Wiseman spearheading the girls’ team of Lily de Lacy and Bethany Stonefrost, with Bishop Tufnell and Plaistow and Kirdford second and third.

The boys’ trio of Ned Potter, James Gardam and Reuben Gallop were all under five minutes but were pushed all the way by Rose Green, who gained their first medals in this event, and Central School in third.

Individually Madeline Wilton won by six seconds overall from Wiseman with Cheyenne James third, while Luke Kearns of Downview won a Titanic battle with Potter to clinch the boys’ title with a fast 4.43 clocking. Freddie Hayes from Rose Green was third.

The secondary runners fought equally as hard for their honours with last year’s primary record holder Ben Collins showing he has kept up his good form by posting all three times under the seven-minute barrier in the Year 7 race. The Academy Selsey pupil was just two seconds outside Harry Richardson’s course record with a 6.53 in the third race.

Harry Moore and Leo Stallard were comfortable in second and third.

Teamwise, there was the closest finish in any age group in the 22 years of this event with Bishop Luffa posting an aggregate score of 75.27 for the three races - just a single second ahead of Prebendal in 75.28 with Midhurst Rother third.

There was a new winner in the Year 8 race with Ted Yeates from Churchers leading home overall winner Brodie Keates from Felpham CC with Alex Smith winning overall silver and leading his Bishop Luffa team to victory and Durrington’s Ed Taylor winning individual bronze.

In the Year 9 group, Harry Blay, Kieren James and Zac Hurst were separated by just 16 seconds overall while Midhurst Rother won the team race.

Dominant displays from Casey Keates, Ed Gerwat and Harry Lyne settled the medals in the year 10 race.

Like Collins in the boys’ event, Josie Czura from Portsmouth had smashed the primary girls’ record last year and was perhaps even more impressive this year by leaving the rest of the secondary field trailing in her wake in all three races.

Her overall winning margin of nearly two minutes from Amy Pigden and Jodie Bushby has been rivalled only by Charlotte Browning in the history of the race.

Midhurst Rother were delighted to win their first team title, from Bishop Luffa in second.

Elizabeth Hedley and Maisie grice continued the Hampshire domination in Year 8 with Grace Wills third. Bishop Luffa turned the tables on Midhurst in the team standings.

Saskia Gardam was dominant in the Year 9 age group with Amber Westron and Rachel Muckelt filling the minor placings, while Chichester High School’s Rose Ellis capped a great season with a nine-second overall win in the Year 10 age group over Evie Grice and Ellie Czura.

The event marks the end of the winter season but organisers have already pencilled in the dates for the 23rd running of the race - with the first races due on Wednesday, February 26.

PHIL BAKER