A strong turnout of 21 Chichester Runners took part in the Steepdown Challenge, one of the toughest races in the West Sussex Fun Run League’s calendar of 17 races.
Once again it was left to the women in the squad to notch the best individual scores to add to Chichester’s points total – with Emma Hughes the star of the squad, claiming another maximum ten bonus points.
On this occasion Hughes was not the first Chichester runner to cross the line – instead a good run from improving Jason Snow enabled him to finish 22nd out of the field of more than 300 finishers.
Dan Busher was next in 48th with Hughes just a couple of places further back and eighth woman to finish. Tim Brown in 56th was followed by three more club-mates inside the top 100 with Jon McEhill 94th, Claudia Milburn 96th and Tony Cooley 98th.
Nadia Anderson was just outside the top 100 but she and Milburn each accrued nine bonus points by finishing inside the top 20 women.
The rest of the squad was led home by Tom Blaylock in 111th followed by Tim Brown 114th, Elizabeth Robinson 121st (24th female), Amanda Godfrey 143rd (32nd f), Nicola Jolly 147th (35th f), Emily Williams 148th (36th f), Tracy Jayant 155th (37th f), Peter Anderson 161st, John Betts 174th, Jeremy
Harrison 175th, Sue Baker 193rd (54th f), Ian Stevens 211th and Jill Renson 255th (93rd f).
In the junior race Chichester had the first two girls to finish, with Laila and Lillie Hellyer once again on fine form.
Indoor Sportshall season
The popular indoor Sussex Sportshall League starts this Sunday at Tanbridge House School, near Horsham.
The league gives sprinters and jumpers a chance to show their winter form with two and four-lap sprints as well as the demanding speed bounce, vertical jump as well as standing long jump and triple jumps and a shot putt for the throwers.
The age groups are the same as for the summer outdoor track season so Chichester will be attempting to reproduce their good summer form.
However both Crawley and Brighton & Hove will be among their rivals, so competition is certain to be as fierce as it was on the track.
The matches start at 2pm and the Tanbridge House venue will be available from 1.30pm for athletes to warm up.
If anyone else is interested in trying out for Chichester’s Sportshall team, they can email team manager Phil Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baker on West Country form
As if winning the Chichester Half Marathon for the seveth year in succession was not impressive enough, Chichester’s perennial distance runner James Baker has won the North Devon Fell race, the Exmooor Stagger, for the ninth year in a row.
At more than 15 miles, the route ascends to the highest point on Exmoor, the Dunkery Beacon, and covers tricky terrain for much of its course.
Baker holds the course record with an amazing time of 1hr 47min 20sec, set in 2010, the only athlete to ever complete the course in less than 1.50.
This year he won in his third best time ever, 1.51.18, and had only a single rival, Mark Hopkinson from Torfaen, anywhere near him at the end, just two minutes back.
It was a further six minutes before the third-placer finished to become one of a relatively few competitors to have broken the two-hour mark, such is the demanding nature of the course.
Baker’s good current form augurs well for the opening fixture of the Sussex Cross Country League at Stanmer Park, Brighton on November 10.