VIDEO: Runners do like beside the prom for Bognor 10k

TADELE GEREMEW ran the fastest-ever Bognor Prom 10k time for the second year in a row as organisers celebrated an event that broke other records too.

The Ethiopian was an easy winner of the popular annual event, finishing in 30min 31sec and taking six seconds off his course record set last year.

Cassie Thorp from Portsmouth on her way to winning the women's race at Bognor  Picture by Louise Adams C130690-8

Cassie Thorp from Portsmouth on her way to winning the women's race at Bognor Picture by Louise Adams C130690-8

He led from the start and took home £400 - £200 for winning and £200 for beating the course record - but the race was not just abour Geremew. It was about every one of the 1,500-plus who took part, itself a new high for the event.

Chichester’s James Baker was in 32.27 and he was 49 seconds ahead of third-placed John Wadelin.

First woman home was Portsmouth’s Cassie Thorp in 34.42 - an impressive sixth overall.

There were plenty of local runners among the age-group winners.

Chichester’s Chris Jack was the fastest 40-49 male runner while David Worcester, also from Chichester, was the top 60-69 male.

Winner of the 50-59 male category was Ronnie Adams, while Roger Osgood took the 70-79 title.

In the women’s race, the age-group winners were Bognor-based Tone Zone runner Debbie Ward (40-49), Nicola Evans (50-59) and Fiona Lewis (60-69).

In the men’s 70-plus age group, the runner-up was David Crook, who is a Rotarian and on the road race committee.

There were no female entrants in the over-70 category - organisers are hoping to put that right next year.

The team events were won by Chichester Runners in the men’s event thanks to Baker, Harry Leleu and Jack, and by Tone Zone in the women’s after good finishes by Ward, Anne Kari Enes and Karen Harrison.

The biggest group taking part were the local Tone Zone Runners, who had well over 100 entrants.

Now organisers at the Rotary Club of Bognor Hotham are hoping all the top performers - and many more entrants besides - return for the 20th anniversary of the race, which will take place on Sunday, May 18 next year.

Race committee member Gavin Oclee-Brown said: “It was a great day - there were no injuries, the rain held off until the race ended, at least for most, and we had really good running conditions.

“It was a record entry and a record number of finishers.

“The new position of the finish was really good for viewing and excitement. Runners could see the last 100 metres and really raced to the finish.

“The area after finish was slightly overcrowded, with the exhausted runners stopping to drink, get medals, breathe and cheer on the rest of their team, family or friends.

“Next year we will change this layout to make it easier for the finishers to get back into the main field.”

Oclee-Brown said the event was probably approaching its upper limit of entries - there were 1,881 this year, resulting in 1,531 finishers, and issues such as car-parking meant they could not take many more.

But he said the team behind it were pleased it was proving as popular as ever.

“A huge percentage of people who run are local, and that means we always get great numbers of people lining the route and cheering them on,” said Oclee-Brown. “It’s a big part of community life.”

The race started from the southern end of Silverston Avenue, at West Park, and finished at the same place. The route followed Kings Parade, the promenade, The Esplanade and Gloucester Road around Butlin’s to Upper Bognor Road into Felpham.

From there, it took runners to Admiralty Road, Blakes Road and Limmer Lane to rejoin the prom for the return leg.

Prizes were presented at West Park while all finishers received a commemorative medal.

Many runners were taking part for good causes and L’Arche, a Bognor-based Christian community celebrating individual abilities and disabilities, was the adopted race charity this year. The group even had a handful of people in the race.

In all, tens of thousands of pounds will have been raised for charities.

Before the main race came two junior fun runs, which attracted scores of athletes of the future for a run along the prom.

STEVE BONE

See a full list of finishers and their times in the Bognor Observer (May 23 edition) - out now