Striders battle gale force winds in the Chichester 10k

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Rain, hail, thunder and lightning at last gave way leaving just gale force winds in time for the start of the Chichester 10K, the first event of the 2014 Sussex Grand Prix series.

More than 1600 finishers enjoyed a well organised race which starts with a hill before looping around the back of the city and finishing with a welcome final 2K downhill.

Kallum Wright

Kallum Wright

In a high class field Phil Wylie (Bristol & West) triumphed in 30mins 23secs. Speedy Paul Heywood was first Strider home in a chip time of 37.59 followed by the reliable duo of Phil Robinson 42.03 and pre man-flu Adrian Campbell 45.51. First Lady Strider Louisa Scola clocked 48.55 followed by dodgy ankle victim Terry Ward with an impressive 49.43. There were welcome returns from injury from Chris LeBeau 51.32 and Sue Garner 52.26 and finally Neil Bradford 56.17. More Striders will be in action at the next SGP race in 3 weeks time, the popular Eastbourne half marathon.

Despite the exceptionally challenging weather conditions, two Striders who relish the longer distances saw action recently at two new events in the running calendar.

Any race over the traditional 26.2 miles is classed as an ultra and Karen Clinton took on the 28.2 mile Dark Star River trail ultra.

Starting at the Shoreham Sea Scout Hut, the route follows one side of the river Adur, picking up a part of the Downslink, past the Dark Star brewery at Partridge Green and returns along the other side of the river.

Karen was one of 7 Ladies in a field close on 60 enduring thick mud, teeming rain and a relentless 30mph wind. Fortunately in adversity came camaraderie amongst the competitors and the marshals performed beyond the call of duty in a well organised race with plentiful fuel stations. Putting things into perspective this was described as tougher than last years Mont Blanc event. On the day Karen described her run as a “nightmare” but her time of 6 hrs 8 mins was a great effort, especially as the majority of more experienced Male runners clocked around 5hrs 30 and in admirable style she is already planning the next one.

New too is the Longman series of events with Kallum Wright turning down the option of a 10K or 18.5 miler in favour of the the 28.8 mile ultra. The route featuring the spectacular South Downs starts from Falmer village and initially heads north allowing views to Eastbourne (when the hailstorms abated) before taking in Ditchling Beacon, Blackcap and Firle Beacon and returning to Falmer. Enjoying chalk, flint, grass and mud measured more in feet than inches, Kallum and his mother treated this as a training run for the upcoming South Downs Way 50 miler. As is appropriate they finished together in 5hrs 59mins in an ultimately rewarding event with the washing machine being put thoroughly to the test afterwards.

Held on the same day the sunshine and blue skies were just perfect for the East Sussex Sunday Cross Country at Snape Wood, Wadhurst. The course was run over a hilly 2 lap 5 miles with plenty of mud to make things more interesting. As the only Strider running that day Terry Ward got round in 49.34 finishing 90th out of the 108 who completed the course in what was a thoroughly enjoyable run.