Hailsham Harriers jump into June

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Local running club Hailsham Harriers have jumped into June with a glorious weekend of running.

On Saturday, June 1, 16 Harriers took part in the long-standing South Downs Relays event - a 97-mile trail race from Eastbourne to Winchester competing against sixty teams, in various categories, from across Sussex and Hampshire.

Harriers fielded two teams of eight for the event, a Ladies Team and an Men's A Team. Each team was made up of six runners, one driver and one navigator.

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The 97-mile distance is broken down in to 18 individual legs with each runner running three legs, across the course of the day.

Hailsham's Men's and Ladies Team at the South Downs Relays 2024.Hailsham's Men's and Ladies Team at the South Downs Relays 2024.
Hailsham's Men's and Ladies Team at the South Downs Relays 2024.

With an early start from Beachy Head, Harriers Wendy Robson, Tracy Erridge, Tina Macenhill, Alice Denning, Lianne Leakey, Helen O'Sullivan, Julie Deakin (Navigator) and Darren Gillett (Driver) made up the ladies team, with Los Burrett, Dave Garratt, Graham Woolley, Rob Chrystie, Matt Southam, Carl Barton, Tom Price (Navigator) and Andy Ruffell (Driver) making up the Men's A team.

With plenty of challenging climbs, undulating trails, and multi-terrain, all runners navigate their own legs to reach their team mates, in a bid to be the fastest team to Winchester and the finish line at Chilcomb. The day is all about trail running, teamwork, navigation, endurance and recovery. A day like no-other.

Hailsham's men's team placed 10th overall in the A team category with a time of 12:11:06 whilst the Ladies team placed 6th overall in the women's category with a time of 14:01:52.

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Each club along the route provides a dedicated team of marshals for the leg changeovers with Hailsham Harriers taking charge of the first leg changeover at Exceat. Harriers Lisa Phillips-Horner, Julie Lewis-Clements and Jayne Morris had great pleasure in taking on this task and ensuring a well organised and safe changeover for all runners.

Hailsham's marshals at Exceat.Hailsham's marshals at Exceat.
Hailsham's marshals at Exceat.

Club Chairman, Andy Ruffell said: "The day is a shared experience and everyone plays their part. Both teams performed admirably, recording great performances. Hailsham Harriers have a strong and long history at the South Downs Relays and Saturday gave me great heart that we can continue this."

On Sunday, June 2 at Hastings, 28 Harriers, including club Chairman Andy Ruffell, took part in the Keith Chandler Memorial 5-mile road race hosted by Hastings Runners. The race forms part of the Sussex Grand Prix, a series of 12 races held throughout the year whereby Sussex clubs compete against each other for team and individual prizes.

With the sunshine making it a warm morning for the 450 runners, the sea breeze did it's best to keep everyone cool, making it near perfect conditions and producing sensational times.

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First Harrier home saw Chris Doherty continue his fine form to cross the line 9th overall in 28:17 followed by Aislinn Darvell 30:36, first female Harrier home.

Hailsham's marshals at ExceatHailsham's marshals at Exceat
Hailsham's marshals at Exceat

Audrey Haddon had a supersonic race to finish in 34:13, followed by Graham Purdye 34:46, Mark Bassett 35:00, Oliver Paterson 35:39, Simon Haddon 35:59, Ladies Captain Helen O'Sullivan 36:09, Gary Smith 36:47, Abi Morris 37:36, Jo McGowan 38:10, Andy Ruffell 38:39, Steph Bassett 38:45, Andrew Moore 40:36, Shaun Webster 40:46, Victoria Little 41:45 Leeland Pavey 42:52, Ros Daintree 43:51, Ian Cant 44:00, Katie Manley 44:10, Kevin Morris 44:22, Sam Neame 44:38, Kirstie Groves 46:45, Cathy Gilling 47:17, Lisa Phillips-Horner 47:51, Jayne Morris 49:11, Louisa Geer 49:12 and Roberto Proietti 1:01:26.

Of the 28 Harriers that ran on Sunday, 20 finished with new personal bests in the five-mile distance with club legend Graham Purdye, breaking Hailsham's very own club record for the veteran men's 65 age category.

Aislinn Darvell, Audrey Haddon and Helen O'Sullivan had great delight in picking up trophies for the third ladies team over the line.

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Hailsham Harriers would like to thank Hastings runners for a wonderfully organised event with a great atmosphere. For more information about joining Hailsham Harriers or to enter their flagship race, the Hellingly 10K, please visit hailsham-harriers.org.uk