Athletics ace Chris is fast out of Za-blocks

Chris Zablocki in cross-country action at Goodwood / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Chris Zablocki in cross-country action at Goodwood / Picture by Lee Hollyer

While the cross-country scene has taken a breather in the past couple of weeks, action has switched to the roads with two local ten-mile events taking place.

Before mass participation half-marathons came into existence in the 1980s, the ten-mile distance was reckoned to be one of the truest challenges for distance runners, with two magic barriers for senior men to aim for – sub 50 minutes for elite athletes and under the hour for good club runners.

At the Great South Run, Chichester’s new American import Chris Zablocki finished a fine 16th in the elite field with a time of 49min 25sec, beating many of Great Britain’s top runners in the process.

Chichester Parkrun organiser Mike Houston led a large club contingent home in 121st place with a time of 1hr 46sec. A further four finished in under 70 minutes, with Mikey Neville 208th in 1.03.42, Lee Sydenham 261st in 1.04.51, Anne Sydenham 297th in 1.05.43 and Justin Eggins 437th in 1.07.43.

Last Sunday the Lordshill ten-miler near Southampton saw a top-quality field of club runners gather with no fewer than 48 out of the 520 finishers breaking the hour barrier.

At the front of the field were two of Chichester’s in-form runners, with Zablocki forcing the pace.

Chichester’s new American import Chris Zablocki finished a fine 16th in the elite field with a time of 49min 25sec, beating many of Great Britain’s top runners in the process.

With tough competition from Alex Wall-Clarke from Southampton City, the American proved too strong for the rest of the field to break the 50-minute barrier for the second time in eight days with a new course record of 49.43.9, with Wall-Clarke just over half a minute back in 50.15. There was a fine run from Jo Corbett in sixth place in 52.41.6.

The indoor part of Chichester’s junior winter season kicks off this weekend with the first fixture in the Sussex Sportshall League taking place at Tanbridge House School near Broadbridge Heath.

It will be an opportunity for members of the successful under-13 and under-15 track and field teams from the summer to test their sprinting skills as well as speed bounce, shot putt, standing long jump and vertical jump.

With the emphasis on all-round fitness and agility, there are also events for the youngest of the club’s members, the under-11s in Years 5 & 6. The action starts at 2pm with the whole programme crammed into two hours of action-packed athletics.

PHIL BAKER

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