Eastbourne athletes shine at Beachy Head and in schools cross-country event

Running club Run Wednesdays had runners competing in all three disciplines of the two-weekend Beachy Head race series.

Run Wednesdays were well represented at the Beachy Head races
Run Wednesdays were well represented at the Beachy Head races

The 10k and half marathon distance covered the South Downs over Butts Brow, Crows Link, Birling Gap and Beachy Head, with the marathon rerouted at short notice because of adverse conditions to be two loops of the half marathon course.

Special mention goes to Louise Ryan, who completed the half marathon, placing in the top ten female runners.

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Louise joined Run Wednesdays following a keen interest in running and fitness while in education.

Run Wednesdays were well represented at the Beachy Head races

Some six years later she has completed a large number of events across various distances for the club, including most recently the Virgin London Marathon.

“With 26.2 miles of London’s finest miles still in my legs I just wanted to go out and enjoy the iconic coast line that the Beachy Had route has to offer. I got a good time and a top ten place was the icing on the cake,” she said.

Other Run Wednesdays runners completed the routes for the first time, including Debbie Yates and Nicola Degl’innocenti for the 10k disatnce, Shane Smith for the half marathon distance and Chris Yeomanson for the marathon.

The Beachy Head weekends were made even more special as many Run Wednesdays members were supporting the local borough council events team, led by Josie Barnes, to marshall the routes.

Ilya Korchev - first Year 9 in the schools cross-country

Run Wednesdays continued their success over these weekends with a team of eight runners, led by Evelyn Griffiths, competing in the 12k Hever Castle Commando Race and Sarah Case completing her first 100-mile ultra race at the Autumn 100 organised by Centurion.

If you’re thinking about running your first 10k, half or marathon or just want to get fit with a friendly club, go to the Run Wednesdays Facebook page for details.


There was a superb turnout for this year’s Eastbourne Schools Cross Country in Hampden Park.

Sue Fry and Liz Lumber at Beachy Head

This was wonderful to see after last year’s event was sadly unable to take place because of the Covid lockdowns and restrictions.

Many schools encouraged their pupils to participate and held cross country trials to select their quickest girl and boy runners from each year group to put forward to represent their schools.

The course conditions were particularly tough as the rain poured down, with hail making an appearance during the girls# race.

The wind also howled but this didn’t stop the young runners as they showed resilience battling their way to the finish.

Among many impressive school performances were a number of notable individual runs listed below from some of the young runners who are members of local athletics club Eastbourne Rovers.

Talented Eastbourne Rover Ben Brown returned from injury with an incredible age group first place (Year 10/11).

Other strong runs came from Fin Lumber-Fry 1st Year 7, Ilya Korchev 1st year 8/9, Freda Pearce 2nd Year 8/9, Fintan Pearce 3rd, Ben Wright 3rd Year 7, Caleb Berhane 4th, Jonah Messer 6th, Katy Brown 7th, Teddy Jones 14th, Cody Wilkinson 16th & Thomas Petherick 21st.

The performances from the Eastbourne Rovers junior squad has secured their entries into the Sussex Schools Cross Country championships, which are scheduled for January in Waterhall Brighton.

Eastbourne Rovers junior coaches Jenny Brown, Sue Fry and Chris Voice are impressed with the young athletes’ performances while representing their schools.

Jenny said: “It’s been so good for the children to be able to compete again and the hard work in training shone through with their quality runs.” For any children interested in training with Eastbourne Rovers juniors, they or their parents can get in touch to enquire about a few vacancies.

A Junior Running Group group for Year 6 - 11 takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5.30-6.30pm.

Meet at the running track at the Sports Park (Cross Levels Way).

See www.eastbourneroversac.co.uk for more information on what’s available.

* Eastbourne Rovers had two of the top three female finishers in the Beachy Head 10k.

The day after the Beachy Head marathon, it was the turn of the 10k runners to experience the challenging cardiovascular delights of the South Downs.

The clifftop route enjoys the same stiff climb at the start as the marathon runners.

It then works its way to the Beachy Head Lighthouse near Birling Gap, before climbing up to pass the Beachy Head pub and dropping back down towards the gruelling vertical steps at the finish line.

Eastbourne Rovers’ Sue Fry was first lady to cross the line (W45, 43:55) heading an all-masters top three in the women’s race.

In second was Bodyworks Lindsay Ibbott (W35, 44:59) and chasing her down in 3rd was Liz Lumber from Eastbourne Rovers (W55, 45:35).

If you are looking to join a running club, why not try a session at Eastbourne Rovers. Contact details via the website: www.eastbourneroversac.co.uk

See next week’s Eastbourne Herald for more news from Polegate Plodders and Eastbourne Rovers, plus the rest of the running round-ups