Baker's busts a gut for Butser victory

CHICHESTER'S running machine James Baker proved no challenge is beyond him as he claimed the 2012 Butser Hill title.

Fresh from winning the Havant Parkrun 5k just 24 hours earlier, the Chichester Runners & AC completed the testing 4.5-mile course in a superb time of 32min 14sec.

Undeterred by the weather – which incorporated hail, rain, poor visibility and thunder and lightning – the 35-year-old excelled in the atrocious conditions to beat second-placed runner, Churchers College’s John Franklin (33.12), by over a minute.

Third place went to City of Salisbury’s AC’s Stuart Hollaway (33.29), while last year’s winner, Julian Manning, had to settle for fourth, with the Denmead Striders runner finishing in a time of 35.19.

In total, over 500 entrants finished the 32nd running of the gruelling event.

Race director Alan Shons paid tribute to all the athletes who took part and the army of volunteers who helped make the race another huge success.

“The numbers were up on last year, despite the terrible weather, and it’s very pleasing to see how the race has grown,” said Shons.

“James Baker did very well to win the seniors’ race. His time of 32 minutes was quite something and showed he’s clearly in good form.”