Sun shines on the Prom - and Bognor 10k’s run of success continues

C110869-6 JPOS Bog May 19 Race phot kate''Members of Bognor Rugby club taking part in the pre race warm up session.C110869-6
C110869-6 JPOS Bog May 19 Race phot kate''Members of Bognor Rugby club taking part in the pre race warm up session.C110869-6

James Baker was a comfortable winner of a highly-successful Bognor Prom 10k.

He took the £200 first prize as he led home a field of more than 1,400 – but he was unable to double his money by breaking the course record.

The Chichester Runners ace lived up to his billing as race favourite, leading from the word go and crossing the line in a time of 32min 18sec.

That was more than a minute outside the 31.06 course record set by Matthew Normington in 2005.

He and his rivals may have been slowed a little by windy conditions in the second half of the race, but nevertheless the ever-consistent Baker will have been delighted by this latest success in a race in which he has often done well.

The women’s race was also won by a Sussex star – Caroline Hoyte of the Arena 80 club coming home in 36.07 and in an impressive eighth place overall.

The women’s course record, 35.19, was set 12 years ago by Jenny Ann Brown.

Closest rival to Baker was unattached runner James Bellward, who was runner-up in a time of 33.03, while third place was taken by Robin Ward of Portsmouth Joggers who was a further minute and 14 seconds behind Bellward.

Chichester Runners also claimed fourth place, with Anthony Roddis passing the post in 34.44, followed by the first of many Worthing Harriers taking part, Paul Bond (34.55).

Midhurst Milers will have been delighted to have two finishers in the top ten, Jonathan Rout and Tim Young both coming in at just over 36 minutes.

The same club also had the third woman finisher – Emily Alden in a time of 37.56 – after female runner-up Julie Briggs of Arena 80 in 36.44.

The largest team, fittingly, were Bognor’s Tone Zone Runners and their first finisher was 44th-placed Danny Mahoney in 40.14.

Race organisers were delighted by an event which was blessed with fine weather and which went off without any hitches.

Peter Elliott, race director, said: “It went exceedingly well from my point of view. The number of runners on the day was slightly down on last year despite entries being up, but we still had close to 1,500 finishers, which is fantastic.

“James Baker led from the start and I think recorded a better time than he has previously in this event.

“There were some good performances throughout the field and the age categories.”

Gavin Oclee-Brown, who is on the organising committee for Bognor Hotham Rotary Club, praised the runners – and those who turned out to support them.

“There was a great turnout of local people supporting the athletes, which always helps spur them on, and that shows the event is well-established now.

“It took a big effort from many people to get the event on and running smoothly and they all deserve credit for a successful and enjoyable day.”

In all, 86 teams entered – ranging from running clubs from across the south to Bognor Rugby Club’s under-16s, who were raising funds for a tour to Spain.

There were prizes for winners in a wide range of age groups and all finishers went home with a medal.

Plenty of entrants were doing the run for charity, with tens of thousands of pounds netted for good causes.

The Rotary Club worked with Chichester’s St Wilfrid’s Hospice as their charity partner for the event.

Art of Dance & Fitness got runners warmed up before local VIPs helped start the race at West Park.

Two junior races preceded the 10k, with both well attended. Twelve to 14-year-olds were first off, closely followed by eight to 11-year-olds who were allowed to have their mums and dads tagging along.

STEVE BONE

See a full list of finishers and their times - and more pictures from the race - in the Observer (May 19 edition), out now