Lewes athletes help Sussex to title – Rae and Isabella star in cross country

There’s news from Lewes AC, Hailsham Harriers, Hastings AC and HY Runners in our latest bumper crop of East Sussex athletics reports.
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Lewes AC were represented by 15 runners at the Brighton 10k – and the club’s women had particular reason to be proud of their efforts.

The race has been a well-established annual event since it was first organised by Brighton & Hove AC in 1984. The flat course along the seafront and kind weather made this a generally fast race with ten of the Lewes AC contingent running sub-40 minutes.

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Ben Savill was the first Lewes AC competitor to finish, in 8th place. Lewis Sida (3rd MV50), Rachel Hillman (3rd FV35) and Jonathon Burrell (2nd MV55) and Karin Divall (2nd FV60) were all in the top three fastest runners in their categories.

The Lewes AC Sussex trio with the county trophy | Picture: Tom UlliottThe Lewes AC Sussex trio with the county trophy | Picture: Tom Ulliott
The Lewes AC Sussex trio with the county trophy | Picture: Tom Ulliott

But the Lewes stars were in the first ten senior women across the line - Harriet Bloor (2nd), Ruby Whyte-Wilding (5th) and Emma Navesey (6th).

Within the mass 10k race was a new inter county competition with teams from Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Kent and Hampshire.

Each county fielded teams of four men and four women. Lewes trio Harriet, Ruby and Emma had been selected for Sussex and wore county colours for the race.

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The first three in each team scored and the Lewes runners were first with a combined time of 1hr 45min 4sec.

Rae Le Fay in cross country action for Hastings ACRae Le Fay in cross country action for Hastings AC
Rae Le Fay in cross country action for Hastings AC

The full results for Lewes runners were: Ben Savill 00:31:35 (SM), Harriet Bloor 00:34:00 (SW), Ruby Whyte-Wilding, 00:35:20 (SW), Emma Navesey 00:35:36 (SW), Lewis Sida 00:36:24 (MV50), Chris Gilbert 00:36:40 (MV50), Rachel Hillman (FV35) 00:37:25, Jonathan Burrell 00:37:57 (MV55), Lucy Lavender 00:38:37 (SW), Lee Woodgate, 00:38.55 (MV50), Gary Loughlin 00:46:42 (MV50), Karin Divall 00:48:09 (FV60), Lara Nolan 00:48:45 FU17, Martin Ratcliffe 00:48:58 (SM), Joe Plant, 00:52:09 (SM).


The Harriers joined 22 local clubs to compete in race two of the East Sussex Sunday Cross County League - a set of six race fixtures of five miles, held from October to March.

Wadhurst Runners hosted the latest event, held at Snape Woods.

HY Runners' Isabella BuchananHY Runners' Isabella Buchanan
HY Runners' Isabella Buchanan
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After much rain in the 24 hours before the race, the course presented a true slice of cross country.

There were hills, plenty of mud, puddles and much more; however the conditions did little to deter a huge turnout of 379 adults in the senior race and 53 under-17s in the junior races. Eighteen Hailsham Harriers took part.

Their final results were as follows: Carl Barton 38th (35:39), Graham Woolley 44th (36:01), Matt Southam 76th (38:15), Los Burrett 100th (39:50), Tom Bilton 104th (40:16), Dan Shipton 122nd (40:46), Helen O'Sullivan 131st (41:20), Mark Pope (133rd) 41:35, Andy Ruffell 144th (42:50), Chris Little 150th (43:01), Graham Purdye 46:16 (199th), Hannah Deubert-Chapman 228th (48:20), Sam Neame 232nd (48:51), Doug Wood 237th (49:21), Victoria Little 262nd (50:57), Felicity Williams 277th (52:16), Michelle Hollands 299th (54:22) and Dean Layen 324th (56:48).


Hastings Athletic Club again successfully hosted the local primary schools cross country event.

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Boys and girls from Years 5 and 6 ran in very cold, rainy conditions.

Rae Le Fay, an under-15 from Hastings AC, took on the role of ‘hare’ guiding all of the competitors around the field, hoping to inspire the next generation of young athletes to athletics.

It was noticeable that those who already train in a sport came through in strong positions.

There were some great results from the children who train at Hastings AC already – in fact every single one has made it through to the finals in Brighton.

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But talent spotters from the club noted a few who showed untapped potential – and there has been lots of enquiries from new members keen to train and move up that field.

Meanwhile the third Sussex Cross Country League fixture took place in Stanmer Park, Brighton, the favourite location of the four in the season for many athletes.

There were gutsy performances from all the HAC youth team (pictured) and as ever there was a lovely inclusive atmosphere.

Rosie Fergeson was running her first competition in the U15s after only joining the club last month, and she put in a brilliant sprint finish and surprised herself with her final position as first from her club.

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Something clicked for Rae Le Fay, who was first U17 with a near 30-second lead, and fourth overall alongside senior and U20 women. This was her first Sussex cross country gold.

Evelyn Moynihan continues to make his way up the cross country field, from 17th to 15th in fixtures one and two to 11th in match three at Stanmer.

The same is true of Sean Parker Harding, who came in in the top 30 pack having seen to be getting stronger and stronger with each race.

Meanwhile Chris Brandt moved up the field from 130th to 90th.

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HAC’s Jack Madden had a terrific time at the weekend in the Victory 5-miler in Portsmouth with a finish of 26.53, a huge PB.

It was a fast two lap course around a car park and some nice paths on a very cold morning by the sea. He came through in 15th position and was fourth vet home.

Hastings AC continue to train though all weathers and all holidays.

Feel free to come down for a free trial – see more information at www.hastingsathleticclub.co.uk


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HY Runners’ Isabella Buchanan stormed to victory at the third of four fixtures in the Sussex Cross Country League.

Previously Isabella had placed second – but prepped with instructions from HY coach Terry Skelton, Isabella ran the perfect race at Stanmer, claiming top spot and resulting in her opponent’s first ever loss at a race.

HY had a strong turnout, and the U11 girls were off first represented by Amelia Skelton (4th), Tera Buckland (9th), Francesca Tarrant, Alyssa Cornford and Elsie Harmer.

The U11 boys soon followed with Benji Pocock (7th), Henry Sully (9th), Noah Mayhew (17th) and Benjamin Sims doing well.

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The U13s were next, and as well as Isabella, representing HY girls were Daisy Welch, Ava Morrissy, Kitty Morgan, Antalia Cole, Florence Tewkesbury, Layla Harmer, Sophie Sims and Ellen Gates.

In the boys’ U13 race, Zion Okojie and Aiden Larkin put in good performances.The U15s were represented by Sophia Collins and James Gladstone who both raced well.

The seniors were last to race with Ivy Buckland, Emma Welch, Fiona Norman-Brown, Becky Mabon, Deb Read, Lisa Buchanan, Jenna Harmer and Sharon Mayhew running for the ladies.

The men concluded the day with David Ervine, Barry Buchanan, John Badrock, Jason Wright, Benji Symes, Terry Puxty, Dan Isted, Sam Brown, Tom Brampton and Matthew Harmer representing HY.

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It had been a tough week of racing for juniors Tera, Francesca, Alyssa, Amelia, Henry and Noah, who along with Jessica Wilson, Dora Land and Apple Land had competed in the Hastings & Rother area XC finals at Ark Alexandra.

Tera was 1st in the Y5 girls, with Francesca in 2nd and Jessica in 3rd. Dora came in 6th with Apple in 10th. For the boys, Henry was first home for Y5, Noah finishing in 3rd. In Year 6 Amelia won and Alyssa 13th.

Carl Adams was 4th overall and first in his age category in the Thanet 10 miler in 61:17. In Liverpool, Stuart Piper was 2nd at Parkrun in 17:05.Matthew Harmer, Jenna Harmer, Layla Harmer, Elsie Harmer, Humphrey Harmer and Sophie Sims did the 2k Santa Dash in Bexhill. Also taking part was Angus, HY’s Sam Brown’s young cockapoo.