A brilliant day’s racing for the first of this season’s Sussex Cross-country League events in Stanmer Park on Saturday saw record numbers eager to do battle with the elements, which were in the event rather mild.
The rain stayed away for the four hour duration of the racing and there was just enough suspicion of mud to make the athletes sure that they were starting another Cross country season, albeit belatedly.
There were record numbers in both the senior men’s and women’s race and for the first time ever more than seven hundred runners completed the seven League races plus the two Under 11 runs.
There was a good strong field of 230 in the senior men’s race which was convincingly won by Lewes’s County Champion Tom Evans who took control of the race before half distance and completed the course in 29:59 followed by a fine run of 30:34 by Brighton & Hove’s Stephen Ferroni and first veteran and former League Champion, Chris Smith (Haywards Heath) in 30:46. Tom Eames (Brighton & Hove) was the first U20 athlete to finish.
County Champions Brighton Phoenix took the team title with 59 points to Brighton & Hove’s 74 and Lewes in third place with 140 points.
It was Under 20 runner Almi Nerurkar (Phoenix) who had a great battle with Emma Dixon (Brighton Tri) before taking the race by 20 metres in 21:13 to 21:15 with another U20 runner Annabel Morton (Horsham) 21:56 in third.
Club mate Alex Richer was the first U17 runner to finish placing fourth in 22:11 while Julie Briggs (A80) was the first veteran to finish in sixth place in 22:14.
Arena 80 took the team race with 40 points ahead of Brighton Phoenix with 48 and Hailsham with 56 points.
In the U17 age group Brighton Phoenix won the team event with 19 point to Crawley’s 33 and Brighton & Hove’s 38.
Ethan Fincham (Team Synergy) was first home in the Under 17 race in 19:47 ahead of Atticus Mohapi Dobouny (Lewes) 19:51 and Chichester’s Liam Dunne in 19:56 with Crawley winning the team race with 30 points ahead of Hasting 34 and Chichester 35.
In the Under 15 Boys race Carlos Neito (Hastings) was a clear winner in 14:22 over Harvey Grant (Brighton & Hove) 14:40 and fellow Brighton runner Archie Rowles 14:42 with Brighton & Hove taking the team race with 19 points from Worthing 21 and Crawley 43.
Bethany Cook (Bodyworks) continues to dominate her races as she moves through the age groups and in the Under 15 event she put more than one minute between herself and club mat Daisy Burton clocking 15:17 to 16:26 with Izzy Hayes from Horsham clocking 16:32 in third place.
The combined Bodyworks/Eastbourne team scored just eight points in the team event ahead of Brighton & Hove’s 21 points with their “B” team taking third team spot with 35 points.
In the Under 13 races Miles Waterworth (Crawley) clocked 11:42 ahead of Lewes runners Louis Goodwin (Lewes) 11:46 and Gabrielle Penrose 11:54 while Lewes took the team race with nine points ahead of Crawley 17 and Horsham 40 in the Boys race.
In the Girl’s event Eleanor Strevens (Eastbourne) continued her domination of this age group from last season in 12:11 ahead of the Wormley twins from Crawley, with Charlotte placing second and Lauren third, but both being timed at 12:25. Crawley took the team title with 11 points from Eastbourne/Bodyworks 13 and Brighton & Hove 27.