Snow can’t stop Chichester athletes in their tracks

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While the majority of the weekend’s racing was curtailed by the weather, it did not stop Chichester’s cross-country runners turning out for their regular training sessions in the run-up to the Sussex championships on January 8.

Chichester Runners move their junior sessions to mornings in Oaklands Park during the Christmas holidays. The venue provides ideal conditions to prepare for the races in Stanmer Park, Brighton.

They will continue training in all weathers on Mondays and Wednesdays.

One race which did survive the snow was the aptly-named Holly Run at Reigate, which attracts runners from London and the south-east.

Chichester’s James Baker recorded his 35th victory of the year, just over three minutes ahead of the rest of the field.

The previous week was the idiosyncratic Pudding Catcher 15k event at Nutley, East Sussex, which involves a good-quality club runner setting off two minutes ahead of the field disguised as a Christmas pudding.

Baker managed to catch the pudding just before halfway to stride away to win the event by nearly eight minutes, one of the largest winning margins of any race in the country in 2010. None of the rest of the field was close to catch the pudding.

Two events which fell foul of the weather were the Hampshire League fixture on Saturday and, more importantly for the club, the Sussex Masters Championships in Horsham on Sunday, cancelled because the course is a popular tobogganing area.

The Sussex County AA has pencilled in the last weekend in February as an alternative so the veterans will not be deprived of the chance of medals.

PHIL BAKER