WITH over 400 of the best cross country runners in Sussex in action at Goodwood on Saturday, a strong Chichester contingent of 75 athletes came away with no less than four titles from the 13 races, finishing joint top of the medal table with Brighton & Hove.
With notable performances across the age groups, the club also picked individual fastest lap awards as well as a new course record in one of the veteran categories.
Having posted a top-ten finish in the South of England road relays, the under-17 women knew they were in good early-season form and with their male counterparts back to full strength, the club had high hopes in this age group.
Rose Ellis led the girls A team running with the seniors and it was soon evident that she was storming round the 4,000 metres challenging circuit.
It was only ex-Sussex senior champion Fiona Clark, from the Crawley senior team, who was in front of Ellis at the end of her lap, which she completed in 14mins-45secs – the equal fastest under-17 time of the day with Sophie Markwick, from Hastings.
Emma Maynard and Hannah Croad were given the responsibility of bringing the A team home, increasing the club’s lead to over four minutes at the end of the race.
Not content with winning gold medals, Chichester’s B team were next in with great runs from Charlotte Reading, Nicola Mead and Lucy Ellis and with Holly Beaton in reserve.
As with the women, the under-17 men ran with the seniors and Harry Leleu was up to the task finishing the leg with only three in front of him, crossing the line more than a minute ahead of the chasing pack of under-17s – crucially 01-13 in front of arch rivals Brighton Phoenix.
In fact, Leleu’s time of 12-38 for the senior lap was only bettered by just three seconds by Stephen Ferroni, running for the Brighton & Hove winning senior team.
Josh James ran a solid second leg to lose less than 20 seconds to the fastest Phoenix runner on lap two to give Casey Keates a good lead, but with Phoenix saving their best two runners to the end, Chichester knew that it was going to be close at the finish.
With great club support over the final 1,500 metres of the lap, Keates held on to win gold for Chichester by just six seconds.
Back in fifth place, but less than a minute behind Lewes in third, Chichester’s B team were also going well and good packing from Ed Gerwat, Harry Pink and Jake Pillans made for a good finish.
Another pair of Harry Lyne and Sam Pillans were strong reserves for an incomplete C team.