Bognor and Chichester athletes coast to road-race success

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As nearly 3,000 runners lined up for the start of this year’s Brighton 10k on the promenade in bright sunshine and chilly conditions, Bognor-based ToneZone had nine runners competing.

A congested start made it difficult for runners to find their pace but supporters and volunteers cheered on the field and records were broken.

Carly Jones from Swansea broke the women’s course record in 32min 34sec, taking over half a minute off the previous record.

First to finish for the ToneZone men was Mike Bastone, just missing out on a personal best by two seconds in a time of 42.28 Bastone was fourth in his age category.

For the ladies, committed long-term runner and coach Viv Baker was first home followed by fellow club runners Carolyn Miller and Karen Young.

Miller and Young earned personal bests with strong runs. Jo Langrish missed out on a PB by seconds. Derek Winslow came 17th in the over-70s’ category - another reminder that age was no barrier to success.

The 27th Gosport Half Marathon took place, having recently been voted by Runners World, the national runners’ magazine, as the UK’s best half marathon. This fast, flat course attracted six ToneZone runners.

Simon Gill, continuing his comeback, recorded a time of 1hr 29min. He was first ToneZone member home in a respectable 39th out of 1,567 runners.

Veteran Roy Webb was sixth in his age category. Gary Bushby ran his first half marathon and impressed with an amazing time of 1.34. Meanwhile, Bushby’s wife Anna Enes recorded a PB of 1.37.

Peter Chittenden ran the undulating Downs Half Marathon in 2.29 - his 57th race of the year.

The next race for the ToneZone runners sees ten of the club’s international team head off to Benidorm for the annual half marathon, which ought to be one to remember before the winter marathon training schedules.

TONEZONE RUNNERS & TIMES: Brighton 10k – Mike Bastone 42min 28sec, Gary Pidgeon 45.46, Viv Baker 55.22, Jason Rae 58.01, Carolyn Miller 58.56, Karen Young 58.59, Jo Langrish 59.22, Debbie Patching 62.30, Derek Winslow 74.27.

Gosport Half Marathon – Simon Gill 1.16.51, Debbie Hall 1.29.52, Melvyn Bird 1.30.08, Gary Bushby 1.34.53, Anna Enes 1.37.29, Roy Webb 2.09.31.

Meanwhile, with two half marathons in as many weeks, Chichester’s talisman James Baker has once again proved his powers of recovery.

First he tackled the Bexhill event just a day after a tough 9k cross-country race over the challenging Goodwood course.

Baker left the rest of the field of 500-plus runners trailing by more than five minutes to record a time of 69min 53sec, a full three minutes faster than his winning time of 2011.

Last Sunday he joined a field of 1,500 runners for the Gosport half marathon on a morning perfect for distance running.

In one of the best fields seen in Hampshire for some time, the Chichester man was pleased to run half a minute faster than the previous weekend with a time of 69.29 but had to be content with fourth place.

Taking advantage of the conditions, many of the rest of the Chichester squad were able to run personal best times, none more so the next across the line - Nick Palmer, 268th in 1.30.24, a staggering 15 minutes faster than he had run before.

Other Chichester finishers: Mark Jennings 330th in 1.33.22; Andrew Moore 346th in 1.33.46; Mike Moorcroft 363rd in 1.34.35; Colin Harley 390th in 1.35.06; Nicky Upton 466th in 1.37.24; Keith Akerman 525th in 1.39.28; Peter Shaw 942nd in 1.53.12; Sue Baker 1084th in 1.58.14.

In the 10k at Brighton, Chichester’s top veteran Chris Jack came back to fine form after a lay-off through injury to finish 112th in 37.13 with teammate Mark Hazlewood 1,198th in 49.57.