HAILSHAM'S Ben Warren and Peacehaven's Tom Naylor battled with Ethiopian Biniam Ande in the senior 7.8km race at the Phoenix Road races in Brighton but succumbed to the blistering finish of their rival and had to settle for second and third places.

In a tight fought battle these three, with British international Spencer Newport from Blackheath, had broken clear of the field of 150 runners right from the start. By the half-way mark they had shaken off Newport and as they entered the last of the four laps of Preston Park Ben, Tom and Biniam were still locked together.

It was not until the finish was virtually in sight that the Ethiopian steamed clear and although Ben matched his pace he was unable to peg back the initial ten metres he had established and had to settle for second place in 22min 30sec to the winner's 22min. 28sec.

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Tom was only a few metres adrift in third place in 22min 33sec.

Darrel Smith from Crowborough had a steady run to fill sixth place in 23min 32sec while Tim Parkin from Uckfield finished 12th in 24min 22sec, Geoff Gray from Seaford 14th in 24min 33sec and John Lowden from Crowborough 15th in 24min 45sec.

John was also the first veteran to finish while Sussex Downs College's Dan Stepney finished 16th in 24min 53sec the third Under 20 runner to complete the course.

In the women's 3.8km race, Hailsham runners Charlotte Sanders and Samantha Alvarez both made the top ten.

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Charlotte, who had shown great promise as junior runner a few years back but chose to concentrate in Triathlons, finished ninth in 14min 02sec., three seconds and one place ahead of Samantha.

Veteran Chris Naylor from Peacehaven was also in fine form placing 12th in 14min 25sec.

Lynda Spencer from Chichester won the race in 12min 46sec.

Sussex Downs College's Emily Goodall was in complete control in the Under 17 2km race finishing some 30 metres clear of Sophie Coleman (Phoenix) in 6min 43sec to Sophie's 6min 50sec.

In the Boys' Under 17 3.8km race, which was won by David Cooper from Hastings in 11min 59sec, Matt Basford from Lewes filled fifth spot in 12min 40sec with club mate Nick Hearn placing sixth in 12min 46sec.

The Under 15 race over the same distance saw Ashley Williams from Lewes take the bronze medal in 12min 55sec with arch rival Lewis Hards (Phoenix) winning the race in 12min 22sec.