The 24th Bognor Prom 10k was a massive success – with record numbers taking part and praise being showered on organisers.
A total of 1,710 completed the popular seafront course, including 83 from host club Tone Zone Runners, who were the chief organisers of the contest for the first time.
There were two new names to add to the list of winners – both from Sussex – as Bernie Spannagl of Kirdford took the men’s crown and Lucy Thraves won the women’s event, her first-ever race win.
Now Tone Zone are already looking forward to the 25th Prom 10k next year.
Tone Zone’s Grace Natoli said: “We are very pleased with the way the race went. We had a record turnout which made it extra special.
“We have had a lot of great feedback from runners and we do appreciate it very much. It seems everyone went away feeling positive and that it was a great event.
Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the Bognor Prom 10k, so we plan to make it even bigger and better. The date we are currently looking at is Sunday, May 19.Tone Zone’s Grace Natoli
“Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the Bognor Prom 10k, so we plan to make it even bigger and better. The date we are currently looking at is Sunday, May 19.
“We hope people will come back to be part of this great event, and that their friends and family have also been inspired to join us as well.
“We want to thank all our sponsors, volunteers and Bognor Hotham Rotary Club, without whom it would be impossible to put on a great race.”
The total of 1,710 finishers, an all-time record, was 106 up on last year. Although the course records of 30.37 for men and 33.39 for women were not beaten, there was some very close racing and the top five men were in over the line before 35 minutes were up.
Spannagl, who runs for Horsham Blue Star, crossed the line in 32.46, five seconds in front of Chichester’s James Baker.
The 21-year-old said: “I did the race last year and came sixth or seventh.
“Conditions were good. I was expecting it to be windy on the second half, and it was the opposite – it was against us on the way out and behind us on the way back. That’s better, really.
“I wasn’t that pleased with my time. I was hoping to be under 32 minutes but I was running on my own for most of the race.
“It’s a good course. I did the race last year and it was my favourite one so I wanted to come back this year.”
University of Chichester student Spannagl had hoped for a podium place but had not come to Bognor expecting to be No1.
“I didn’t know whether I could win before the race. I was hoping maybe to get top three but it always depends who’s there on the day. And I know James Baker – I’ve raced against him a few times.”
The winner said he hoped to return to Bognor for the 2019 event to defend his title. He plans to run in the Worthing 10k at the start of next month and has a busy summer ahead one the track for Blue Star.
Runner-up Baker said it was the 16th year in a row he had finished in the top three. “I’ve had three wins, nine second places and four third-place finishes in that time,” he said.
Women’s winner Thraves – another member of Chichester Runners who has been in superb form in recent months revealed on Twitter: “I won a race! For the first time ever. Bit of a childhood dream come true. Thank you @BognorProm10k for another total blast, and congrats to everyone who ran.”
Simon Gill was the first Tone Zone Runner home, coming fifth in 34.25 and winning the 40-49 age group. Other men’s age group winners were Brighton’s Graham Godden, Paul Hogston and Worthing’s Barry Waller, while female age-group victors were Shona
Crombie-Hicks, Chichster duo Jane Harrop and Helen Dean plus Wendy Whelan.
Chichester Runners claimed both the men’s and women’s team titles, given for a club’s top three finishers in each category.
A total of 83 Tone Zone Runners ran their home 10k in this, the first year it has been organised by the local club.
Conditions couldn’t have been better, meaning a total of 11 personal bests were recorded, with a number of club members finishing high up in their categories, Gill included.
Running on his birthday and finishing second for the club was Peter Lee, who navigated the course in 37.13 – fourth in his age category.
Third club runner to finish was Jack Penfold, sneaking under the 40-minute mark in 39:27. Another sub-40-minute effort came from Danny Mahoney. Juliet Stallard finished in 41min 50sec, second place in her age category.
Luke Simmonds was another Tone Zone runner to grab a personal best. Simmonds, who recently ran the Three Forts marathon, completed the 10k in 42.51.
The first official pacer home for the club was Marc Annals, pacing runners aiming for 50 minutes. Annals has often taken on the pacer role and he crossed the line in 49:44, helping hundreds of runners achieve their goals.
Carl Bryant was running as the 55-minute pacer, accompanied by club-mates Andy Miles and Stuart Thomson.
Andy Shill was the final pacer of the day. He hoped to finish in just under the hour, and crossed the line just below that mark.
There were 11 new Tone Zone members out on the course this year. They had joined the club in January never having run before and here they were tackling a 10k just five months later.
With help from the club’s coaches they all completed the 10k. The first two home for the club were Angelika Kalaczynska-Wawrzycz in 1.02, followed by Jeremy White in 1.06. Sue Hayward, Lisa Broad and Sharon Thomas all crossed the line in 1:09 before Jo Yorke and Jo Chapmen in 1.11 and 1.12. Neil Hanson and John Abell finished together in 1.21, Jayne Williamson and Nicola Baglee completing their first 10k in 1.38 and 1.39.
See this week’s Bognor Observe for a full list of finishers and their chip times