Sport highlights of 2019 - Olympic runner praises hugely successful Chichester Priory 10k

Happy Boxing Day! And with the final week of 2019 now under way, it's time we started looking back at some of the local sporting highlights of the year that have dominated the Observer's pages and websites.

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 8:00 am

We start with the 2019 Chichester Priory 10k, which drew a huge number of runners to the Goodwood motor circuit on a sunny but chilly Sunday morning in February,

See the highlights in the video above, and read below how we reported on the success of the day...

The Chichester Priory 10k has won an Olympian's seal of approval. Stephanie Twell, who has twice run for GB at the Olympics, broke the women's course record in a fabulous race on Sunday – then urged other top-level runners to give it a try next year.

Steph Twell at the Chi Priory 10k finish last February / Picture by Derek Martin

The Hampshire-based middle and long-distance runner, who ran at the 2008 Games in Beijing and in 2016 in Rio, was one of two winners celebrating new course records amid great scenes at the finish at Goodwood motor circuit.

Men's winner Will Mycroft shaved 13 seconds off the previous course best of 29min 45sec – leading home a group of seven who all crossed the line inside 30 minutes.

The third year of the race being based at Goodwood ended in 1,468 passing the finish line. Twell was over the moon to break the women's course record with her 33.17 finish.

"They called it as I came over the line. It was a close shave. The energy on the course at the end was brilliant so I really ploughed home for it," she said.

"I'm really happy and hopefully throughout the year I can build on that. "I've been to Chichester before but it was when the race was in the city centre.

"This is a great course. You get the joys of the countryside and get to finish here at the motor circuit is such a spectacle. The depth of the field was amazing. There were so many local runners, I saw lots of Chichester vests.

"It was a little bit lonely in the middle but then you come alive again coming into the arena."

Organisers were delighted to attract runners of Twell's calibre and she said she'd ‘absolutely' recommend the race to others.

"This is my second time in the event and I think it's great."

Men's winner Mycroft said: "It was fantastic. I was running along thinking ‘why does this feel so easy?' I broke my personal best by a minute. I kept thinking I was going to wake up! Conditions were perfect. It was sunny but not too warm, a pancake-flat course and no wind.

"I sat in the leading group and was a bit naughty because I did no work and then just sprinted the last mile and managed to win."

Graham Jessop, director for elite athletes, said: "It was probably the best race of the 28 – the sight of those ten plus athletes entering the motor circuit together will take some beating. It was one of the strongest male fields ever assembled for Chichester."