Fire site dashers defy the deluge in Lewes

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Runners and walkers braved atrocious weather and got in the mood for the Lewes November 5 celebrations by dashing around the town’s seven bonfire sites.

Despite the heavy rain, a good turn-out of hardy souls competed in the third annual Firesite Dash.

The event is hosted by South Street Bonfire Society and is a 4.5-mile circuit around the county town, visiting the firesites of the seven famous Bonfire societies.

After assembling for the start on the Railway Land Nature Reserve, competitors were set on their way with an explosion loud enough to make a few jump.

Then it was across country down to the first checkpoint at the Cliffe bonfire site.

From there, runners headed clockwise round the outskirts of the town, taking in checkpoints representing Southover BS, Nevill Juvenile BS and up to the highest point on the edge of the Downs, the Borough BS checkpoint. After that, the course was all downhill and grateful but soggy, competitors charged past Commercial Square BS and Waterloo BS checkpoints.

The home straight of South Street finally beckoned, with tired legs carrying the runners along the side of the River Ouse to the finish at SSBS headquarters The Snowdrop Inn.

First to come into view for the spectators at the finish was 39-year-old Mauro Lazzati in a very impressive time of 29 minutes and 56 seconds.

Second home was Andrew Cross, 46, 12 seconds behind the winner, and third place went to Michael Green, 42, who completed the course in 30.16.

The fastest lady was 24-year-old Lauren Eagle, in a time of 36.40. She was followed by Saskia Knowles, 46, in 45.01 and Valerie Ishi, 42, in 46.54.

Despite challenges from the other bonfire societies, in particular a strong Commercial Square squad, the shield for the team event was again won by the host society South Street.

A trophy was also awarded to the competitor in the best fancy-dress or Bonfire costume – and this was jointly won by Sylvia and Robin Langton dressed as pirates, and daughter Queenie in her pirate galleon/pram.

Event organiser Fraser Addecott later thanked everyone who helped with the event and the individuals and businesses who donated prizes.