Lewes was the venue for the latest event in the Sussex Grand Prix calendar, the Downland 10 miler.
Held on chalk paths and through fields in the rolling countryside this is an all off-road race and therefore something of a rarity in this competition. On a still, warm autumn morning and despite the tough course the 13 Seaford Striders present were keen to post good times as the competition draws to a close.
The start/finish is in the meadow at Landport Bottom near the old Lewes race course where a flock of wayward sheep almost caused chaos. Disaster averted, it was straight into a climb of over 2 miles as the route heads west along the south downs way over Plumpton Plain then south climbing Waterpit Hill. The rollercoaster run continues with a welcome descent into Ashcombe Bottom but it’s a case of what comes down must go up with a vicious 1 mile single track climb out again after 7 miles.
The winner was Phillip Hardaway (Haywards Heath) in 1hr 1min 7secs with first Strider Simon Fletcher (9th overall) in a rich vein of form with an excellent 1.05.00.
Gareth Hutchinson 1.07.38 and Paul Heywood 1.08.08 have been close rivals all year and along with Phil Carr 1.09.55 magnificently averaged under 7 min miles on this challenging course.
Tony Cross once again rolled back the years winning his age group with 1.14.12 followed by Adrian Campbell 1.16.33 and the returning classy Kevin Ives 1.20.31.
Natasha Swan 1.24.35, Pete Weeks 1.27.52, Beth Ruddock 1.31.45, Terry Ward 1.39.21, Hilary Humphreys 1.44.10 and Tom Roper 1.57.44 can all be proud of their efforts in a tough but enjoyable race.