Potter’s perfect parkrun gives him new Chichester record

Chichester parkrun is a popular, scenic and friendly weekly event but the course has never been considered one of the faster courses in the south... that is until last Saturday.
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Previously only four athletes had broken the coveted 16-minute barrier, with Steve Naylor from Bedford fastest at 15.37 followed by Chris Zabloicki at 15.50 with Ned Potter and James Baker the only other runners to do it.

Fresh from his exploits over the past year on the roads, cross country and more recently on the track, Potter turned up in Oaklnads Park on Saturday with one thing on his mind – a course record. From the off it was clear the meant business and he was soon in splendid isolation at the head of the field.

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Such was his speed across the ground the backmarkers were barely halfway round their opening lap when the Loughborough student was flying past on lap two.

Ned Potter has a new Chichester parkrun course record | Contributed pictureNed Potter has a new Chichester parkrun course record | Contributed picture
Ned Potter has a new Chichester parkrun course record | Contributed picture

The 21-year-old kept up his pace, even having to dodge the increasing number of lapped athletes until he strode down the hill towards the finish on the final lap.

Potter charged towards the finishing tine and was rewarded with a staggering time of 14min 44sec. This was the fastest parkrun time last Saturday anywhere in the United Kingdom.

To make it a double cause for celebration for Chichester, Helen Dean broke her over-65 course record at Southsea on Saturday with an age graded mark of 99.22%.

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Dean recorded 21.23 for her 5k and finished 37th and third woman overall in a field of 487 finishers.

Chichester Runners at the SAL fixture at Ashford | Picture: Lee HollyerChichester Runners at the SAL fixture at Ashford | Picture: Lee Hollyer
Chichester Runners at the SAL fixture at Ashford | Picture: Lee Hollyer


Though lacking a number of key athletes, Chichester’s seniors gave a good account of themselves in the latest Southern League fixture at Ashford on Sunday.

Battling in wet conditons for the first half of the match, sprinters, jumpers and throwers found it challenging. Rising above this were the club’s women sprinters, who virtually dominated proceedings.

Fleur Hollyer and Eve Langford posted near identical times of 13.6 seconds to win their respective 100m races, with Hollyer supporting Amelie McGurk for another clean sweep over 200m.

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McGurk was just edged out by less than a tenth of a second in the 400m with Anya Barrett much too good for her B string rivals.

These four teamed up in the 4x100m relay with a speedy 53 seconds and a winning margin of nearly half the home straight.

Ela Pemberton gave a strong display of front running in the 800m to break 2min 25sec and had Millie Isitt as good back-up and runner-up in the B strirng. The pair teamed up with McGurk and Barrett for a second place in a competitive 4x400m relay.

The points tally of the six athletes was an amazing 57 out of a possible 60, the best combined total ever for the women’s team over five events.

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Lucia McGurk added useful points in javelin and discus while the 800m pairing of Pemberton and Isitt showed their versatility with second places in the triple jump and high jump.

A clash of dates involving the West Sussex Fun Run League meant the club were unable to field their middle distance runners in the women’s events but there was more luck with the men.

Newcomer Wesley Adams in action over 800, 1500 and 3000m as well as picking up points in javelin. This was no mean feat for an athlete who had completed a Half Ironman a few weeks earlier.

A pair of the club’s under-17s supported Adams well with Monty Hill in the 800m and Noah Collins in the longer 3000m. The pair also teamed up for the 3000m steeplechase with both running close to 12min 30sec in their first attempt over the distance.

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It was good to see sprinter Dominic Barth back in the squad after injury and he was relieved when officials allowed him to run a non-scoring time over the 100m having been adjudged to have reacted too early in the match race.

His time of just over 11.3sec bodes well for the rest of the season.

Sam Wyatt ran the B string 100m and battled hard in the gruelling 400m where he had to contend with a couple of 50 second athletes including European Masters champion Gavin Stephens of Worthing Harriers.

It was good to see the final member of the squad in action for the first time this season with veteran over-60 and club coach Andy Hall tackling shot put and hammer.

A hammer throw of nearly 30m with the heavy senior 16lb (7.26kg) implement was a good result with only restricted turning movement.