Perfect weather conditions marked the 2023 Sussex Road Relay Championships at Preston Park.
Nearly 700 athletes participated in the annual event, held at the Brighton location for the second year running.
The younger ages, made up of three in a team, competed over a one-lap loop, while the seniors and masters completed two laps.
The first race of the day was the Under 11s, where girls and boys were set off together.
The fastest girl was Ada Greenaway in 6.15 on leg 3, bringing the Brighton & Hove AC team home for gold in an overall time of 18.22. In second was HY in 19.27, and Brighton Phoenix third in 20.11.
It was a close race for the boys, with HY winning in 18.41, Brighton & Hove second in 18.43, and Phoenix third in 19.03.
Off the back of a dominant cross-country season, Lewes AC’s, Rex Hastings clocked the fastest lap in 5.45.
Next up were the Under 13s dominated by HY in the girls. Isabella Buchanan’s third leg of 5.28 was fastest and together, the team’s time was 17.38, followed by Brighton & Hove AC in 17.51 and Eastbourne in 18.22.
Eastbourne was very strong in the boys’ contest with a gold-winning time of 16.16 to Brighton & Hove in second (16.50) and Eastbourne B third (17.19). Fin Lumber Fry (Eastbourne) was top on the day in 5.14.
With the team of three taking the top three fastest legs, it is no surprise that Lewes AC’s under-15 girls were first overall. Ava James and Grace Tuesday both running 5.18, and Esme Stephenson 5.25. Collectively over a minute faster than Worthing in second (17.09) and Crawley in third (17.37).
Eastbourne’s Ilya Korchev ran a stomping first leg of 4.44 in the boys’ under 15 race. His team were third overall.
Brighton & Hove dominated the top two team spots, though with the A team clocking 14.14 for gold and the B’s 15.47 for silver.
Beth Kidger ran a brilliant third leg leading the Phoenix senior women’s team home first. Her time was 10.35, and the team’s 33.30 – over a minute faster than Brighton and Hove in second (34.45) and Phoenix B in third (36.29).
Phoenix continued to dominate in the senior men’s race with a team time of 38.04 and both Archie Davis and Finn McNally running top times of 9.22. Brighton & Hove were second (39.04) and Crawley third (39.29).
Under 17s could either score as part of a senior team or as a separate “full” under 17 team. Phoenix’s Miles Waterworth kicked off for the winning senior men but himself was also top under 17 male on the day in 9.25. Brighton & Hove AC were the winning Under 17 team with Alex Riley the fastest in 9.29.
Ellie McLean was first Under 17 woman in 11.39, and she ran the first leg for Eastbourne, the winning Under 17 women’s team.
In the Masters women, Emma Footman (11.39) led the Worthing team to victory in the F40 age category (in 37.17), whilst the Steyning team took F50 gold (in 41.18) and Chichester F60 gold (in 43.14). Arena 80’s Dani Tarleton (F50) was a inner in 12.45 and Jane Harrop (Chichester) top F60 in 13.18.
Phoenix stood out in the masters’ men’s races, taking first M40 (31.46) and M50 (33.46). Horsham Joggers also enjoyed success, winning the M60s in 37.30 and Simon Perkins clocking the fastest M50 lap in 11.00.
Jon Clays (Phoenix) was fastest M40 (10.21) and Lewes’ Jonathan Burrell number one M60 in 11.31.
This year’s road relays were organised thanks to the hard work of Gavin Stephens and his team from Worthing and Sussex AA.
Words by Kate Matthews, Photos Andy Cox