Hailsham and Hastings athletes shine in cross country events – and elsewhere

Hailsham and Hastings athletes have been out in good numbers for races including cross country, trail races and a ten-miler. Reports from four clubs are here...
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The bustling Sussex Athletics cross-country season continued with the Masters Championships at Coombe Farm, Lancing on Saturday 20th January.

Just under 200 athletes took part in the races on a tough undulating, two-lap course. With the weather temperatures warmer than the past week and some firm, dry ground in places, a chilly, easterly wind made for some hardy conditions.

Hailsham Harriers' V45 ladies at the Masters | Picture supplied by clubHailsham Harriers' V45 ladies at the Masters | Picture supplied by club
Hailsham Harriers' V45 ladies at the Masters | Picture supplied by club
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Starting the afternoon's activities with the combined Men's 50, Men's 60 and Men's 70s event, Hailsham Harriers were able to field two Men's teams this year with Mark Bassett crossing the line first for the black and reds, finishing in 32nd place in 37:02, followed by a sterling performance from Graham Purdye to finish in 36th place 37:54. Eddie Diplock stormed around the challenging course to place 47th in 39:24, with Gary Smith hot on his heels finishing in 50th place in 39:56 and club Chairman, Andy Ruffell 64th in 43:25. Club legend Roberto Proietti represented Hailsham's men's 70 category placing 78th in 68:12.

The women’s race was also run as a combination of age categories, Women's 35, 45 and 55 which saw a field of 66 Sussex athletes compete against each other. With Hailsham fielding two women's 45 teams this year, first home for the Harriers saw Ladies Captain Helen O'Sullivan finish in 21st place with a time of 38:24, closely followed by a strong performance from Wendy Robson who took 24th place in 39:16 and Annette Feakes 30th place in 39:52. Julie Chicken had a superb run to finish 53rd in 46:46 with Julie Deakin 56th in 50:00 and Lisa Phillips-Horner 58th in 53:05.

The third and final race of the day were the combined Men's 35 and Men's 40 athletes where Hailsham's Dan Shipton produced a sterling run, cheered on by all his club mates. Dan crossed the finish line in 44th place, 37:36.

Two of Hailsham athletes: Ros Daintree and Tom Bilton could not run in the event but gave up their valuable time to marshal.

HY Runners juniors at the cross country | Picture supplied by clubHY Runners juniors at the cross country | Picture supplied by club
HY Runners juniors at the cross country | Picture supplied by club
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Once results were collated, Hailsham's Ladies team; Helen O'Sullivan, Wendy Robson and Annette Feakes were awarded a bronze Sussex County medal each for placing third ladies team in the women's 45 category. Hailsham drew on points with Lewes Athletics but were awarded the bronze position as Annette Feakes, the team's third runner, placed higher up the field.

Hailsham Harriers would like to say thank you to Sussex Athletics and Arena 80 for hosting a fabulous event. Congratulations to all the athletes that took part and to all the winners.


It's been a busy week for the HY Runners juniors on the cross country circuit.

Hastings Runners trio Darren Kilby, Jacqueline Mannering and Pete Heasman | Supplied pictureHastings Runners trio Darren Kilby, Jacqueline Mannering and Pete Heasman | Supplied picture
Hastings Runners trio Darren Kilby, Jacqueline Mannering and Pete Heasman | Supplied picture

In the Sussex Schools cross country finals, Isabella Buchanan won the Year 8 and 9 race, with Megan Hopkins-Parry 7th, Florence Tewkesbury 9th, Antalia Cole 21st, Olivia Collins 36th and Daisy Welch 56th.

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Zion Okojie and Aiden Larkin represented the boys, placing 13th and 83rd.

Next was the British Athletics Cross Challenge at Parliament Hill in London.

The event welcomes elite athletes from all over the UK looking to qualify for a place in the upcoming world cross country championships.

Grace Baker at the Canterbury ten-miler | Pictured suppliedGrace Baker at the Canterbury ten-miler | Pictured supplied
Grace Baker at the Canterbury ten-miler | Pictured supplied

It was the girls’ first attempt at the events at Parliament Hill and by Isabella's admission was the hardest course she had run.

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She finished an incredible second place over the 3k distance in the U13 race in 11:28 with Florence Tewkesbury 10th in 12:41.

Next comes the Southern cross country championships at Beckenham Place this weekend.

Before Christmas Isabella set a new world record for fastest U13 to run a 5k.

She had been nagging her parents and coaches about setting a Hastings parkrun time she was determined to secure before turning 13. Her goal time was 16:37 to surpass a potential world lead U13 time of 16:40.

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Isabella's persistence paid off and despite less than ideal conditions she clocked 16:37. Not only did she hit her goal time she also set the fastest female time at the Hastings parkrun for any age.

Elsewhere Sonnii Pine and Susannah Gates took part in the VAC cross country in Wimbledon with Sonnii securing the win for her age category.

Tom Brampton competed at the Sussex Masters cross country at Lancing and Tracey Gammon shaved 13 minutes off her PB at Newhaven 10k, finishing in 61min.



Despite the threat of strong winds last weekend Hastings Runners were out in force at various races.

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On Saturday morning Claire Thomas finished as second female in the Winchester Trail Race, completing the 14.5km course in 1hr 14min 56sec.

At the Sussex Masters Cross Country at Lancing, both Martin Noakes and Chris Brandt defied the freezing conditions on the Sussex Downs, with Martin finishing fourth in the M60 category and Chris tenth in the M50.

At Sunday’s Canterbury ten-miler the first Hastings Runners member home was Matt Draper in a new PB of 58.58.

There were also PBs for Simon Linklater in 1.11.07, Jacqueline Scott 1.40.45 and Caz Hall 2.00.26.

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Jan Young, 1.31.10, and Sarah Marzaioli, 1.43.03, completed the Hastings Runners contingent who made the trip to Kent.

A trio of runners did the Newhaven 10k, with Andy Knight completing the windy course in 46.33 followed by Heidi Rossetter in 56.15 and Debra Van Aalst 58.48.Taking on the tough South Downs and Arundel Marathon were long distance specialists Jacqueline Mannering, Darren Kilby and Pete Heasman.

Last but not least, Sally Grainger, Paul Cooper and Nina Lambrou made the long journey to Leatherhead for the LDWA Winter Tanners 20-miler.

They had to navigate the tricky off-road course with a set of instructions, map co-ordinates and compass bearings.



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Grace Baker notched a brilliant result at the Canterbury 10 miler.

On a blustery day with Storm Isha building, she took second place with a whopping 63-second PB of 58.24.

It was a well deserved result off the back of a focused and consistent block of winter training at the club.

With the London Marathon looming it's great to see the how positive things are looking for her.