More than 30 PB times make it a 10k to savour for Chichester athletes

Chichester Runners had one of their best turnouts for their home city’s annual 10k – with more 60 competitors running and well over half of them emerging with personal best times. Their efforts won the club the title of top men’s team.

Jo Corbett, Harry Leleu, Mike Houston and Chris Bird scored for Chichester at the Priory 10k / Picture by Keith Akerman
Jo Corbett, Harry Leleu, Mike Houston and Chris Bird scored for Chichester at the Priory 10k / Picture by Keith Akerman

In their winning men’s team 22-year-old Harry Leleu became only the third Chichester Runner to break the 31-minute barrier at 10k – recording 30.51, eclipsing the 30.56 of Paul Froud from 1991, leaving only American Chris Zablocki ahead of him on 29.48.

It was a 72-second improvement by Leleu on his 10k best but Mike Houston, the club’s fourth scorer on the day, shaved 74 seconds off his previous best to record 32.27 and lift himself into the club all-time top 12.

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He was just behind Chris Bird and Jo Corbett, the other members of the victorious team at Goodwood.

The Chichester women’s team who won the Sussex bronze team medal provided a remarkable age range of more than 40 years between the three runners, all of who ran personal bests on Sunday.

Lucy Thraves followed up her good South of England run the previous weekend with a fine top-20 place among nearly 600 women finishers and was eighth Sussex runner home in 37.35, a 32-second improvement, followed by 18-year-old Alice Cox-Rusbridge, who was rewarded with a new best of 40.12.

Reflecting on 10k that was one of best Chichester has stagedThe third member of the team, Helen Dean, had triple reason to celebrate as her time of 44.11 was good enough to win the over-60 race, a time which lifts her into the top five in the UK rankings in her age group.

The unexpected Sussex team medal was the icing on the cake for the club’s most improved veteran athlete of the past year.

Sussex Cross Country League

Athletes across the junior and senior age groups travel to Bexhill for the third and final Sussex Cross Country League fixture of the season today (Sat Feb 9).

With the Sussex officials unable to find a suitable replacement for the cancelled Goodwood fixture in October, all teams and individual awards for the season will be taken from the performances in all three fixtures – so Chichester, like other clubs, will be aiming for a full turnout in order to challenge for Sussex medals.

For the seniors, the women are once again in strong position – but the men are in danger of falling into the relegation zone after a weakened performance in Brighton in December.

For the juniors, the under-13 boys and under-17 men look to have the best chance of success but nothing can be taken for granted as all clubs will be seizing the chance to feature in the top three.

University athletics

* Chichester Runners were represented in the British Universities and Colleges Championships at Bicton College in Devon, where conditions cleared sufficiently at the end of last week to allow the event to go ahead.

In a high quality women’s field of more than 600 finishers, four Chichester Runners ran well for their respective universities.

Universityof Chichester student Alice Wright continued her fine form to finish in 73rd place, followed by Rosie Ellis in 165th in the Birmingham squad, with Worcester Uni’s Charlotte Reading in 223rd and Holly Beaton, who is studying at St Mary’s, 350th.