ATHLETICS: Lewes’s Josh is Prison Service national champ

JOSH BURGESS won the Prison Service National Cross Country Championship at Birmingham over the weekend.

Last weekend was also the English School Cross Country Championships at Ilton near Taunton in Somerset where the best 300 runners from schools from 39 counties compete as teams and as individuals. This is a tough event and Lewes AC had two runners representing Sussex at the event. Finishing in 66th position in the race, Maddy was the fourth Sussex finisher to help the Sussex team of six to finish in a very creditable fifth position overall. Ludo Goodliffe, running in the Sussex Senior Boys’ team, finished 87th, helping the team of six to finish in 25th overall. At the Sussex Schools year 7 and 8 cross country championships held at Christ’s Hospital near Horsham there were some excellent performances by Lewes AC runners. Sam Rogers was the leading Lewes AC runner, finishing in the bronze medal position in the year 8 race. Jasper Baker finished in sixth position in the year 7 race, which meant both he and Sam qualifying to run in the South East Counties Inter-County race to be held at Bexhill this coming weekend. Amy Fines finished 43rd in the girl’s year 7 race, having only just returned to training from a longish lay-off. Lewes AC were well represented at the Sussex Indoors Athletic Championships at the Sutton Arena. In the senior men’s pole vault, Sam Brown picked up the gold medal with a vault of 4.40m. Not to be outdone Livvy Connor also won gold in the U15 pole vault with a vault of 3.20m. Close behind was Vicky Warren in second position with 2.40m and Polly Saunders in fourth with 2.30m. In the U17 men’s category James Shackleton also came first with a vault of 3.30m. In the 60m sprints Tom Woodall in the senior men’s category came third in a time of 7.71sec with Aaron Guilford picking up the silver medal in the U20 men’s 60m sprint in 7.44sec. In the lower age groups Rhys Camis, in the U15 boys 60m sprint, came third in 7.86sec. In the 60m sprint U13 category, Samson Page was second in 8.94sec and Bill Saunders third in 9.05sec. Samson was also second in the long jump with a leap of 3.89m.Ella James picked up the silver medal in the U17 women’s high jump with a leap of 1.60m, and Luke Bish, in the U15 boys’ high jump, came second with a jump of 1.35m. Livvy Connor had a very busy championships and was first in the long jump with a leap of 6.62m and second in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.77sec. Luck Bish, in the U15 boys’ 60m hurdles, was second in a time of 12.23sec. In the U13 girls’ 60m sprint, Grace Salter was second in 8.88sec and Eloise Smetham fifth in 9.72sec.

With Lewes runners spread far and wide across the globe, Rob Mullet, currently in the USA, finished third in the high quality race, the Rhodes City 10km, in a time of 30m 32s. Dave and Matt Bradford are two other Lewes AC runners who are also spreading their wings and have travelled to Bekoji in Ethiopia to take part in high altitude training and to write about their experiences. Bekoji is the town in the highlands where many Olympic gold medal winners have come from – all inspired by their coach, Sentayehu Eshetu. The club is looking to extend its contacts with Bekoji and are currently exploring how this might be achieved. Now that the Olympic torch route and torch carriers have been announced it is great to record that Dave Bradford from Lewes has been chosen to carry the torch in Sussex. Dave is not only a first class runner with a 2h 38m time for the marathon and a very active member of Lewes AC but has raised an amazing amount of money for the Charity RP Fighting Blindness. Dave, who is losing his sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, has nevertheless focused on his running, journalism and organising running events that have raised thousands of pounds for the charity.

David Head, Chief Executive of the charity RP Fighting Blindness, who, amongst others, nominated Dave to carry the torch said: “If everyone faced with such dramatic threats to their way of life responded so positively and with such a zest for life, the world would be a far better place.

“I know David will be proud to bear the torch – he will no doubt write well about it too!”