Busy winter ahead for Sussex cross-country crew

After the successful Goodwood relays at the end of September, the winter cross-country season goes into full swing over the next couple of weeks at the start of six months of exciting competition.

With the majority of league fixtures before Christmas, Chichester’s athletes are pleased there’s no clash of dates between the Sussex and Hampshire leagues this season, enabling them to take advantage of nine fixtures between now and the middle of February.

This weekend the Hampshire League, which attracts clubs from five southern counties, kicks off at the popular Farley Mount course near Winchester.

Then on October 20 the Sussex League begins, with athletes again returning to Goodwood. To complete the Goodwood series, the course once again hosts the second round of the Hampshire league on November 10.

As an extra incentive to meet the surge of interest in junior athletics since the summer, Chichester Runners & AC are putting on a primary schools’ race just before the main races on each of the Goodwood days.

They will be open to any pupil in school Year 5 or 6 and will be run over a 2,000m course. More information can be obtained from club secretary Philip Baker on philbaker5@btinternet.com

In the new year the championship fixtures get under way with the Sussex championships to be held on the first weekend in January in Stanmer Park, Brighton.

Two weeks later there is a change of venue for the Sussex schools and Sussex masters, which will be run over the Bexhill course this year, having moved from their normal venue of Lancing Manor.

The last weekend in January sees what many southern athletes regard as their highlight of the year, a trip to the iconic Parliament Hill course on Hampstead Heath in London for the South of England Championships.

They will rub shoulders with some of the best athletes in the country and take part in the famous charge up the first hill from the start at the lido at the bottom of the park.

There’ll be a fair amount of travelling this season for those selected for the Sussex teams and club members who wish to take part in this year’s national championships, which will be held at Sunderland at the end of February.

In March the two representative fixtures will be in the midlands with the inter-counties event in Birmingham followed by the English Schools’ Championships in Derby.