Cross-country cream gather at Goodwood for league showdown

Chichester's Hannah Croad, Emma Maynard, Georgie Warner, Nicola Mead and Lucy Ellis competing in the Hampshire League cross-country at Goodwood last year C121527-1 Photo Louise Adams
Chichester's Hannah Croad, Emma Maynard, Georgie Warner, Nicola Mead and Lucy Ellis competing in the Hampshire League cross-country at Goodwood last year C121527-1 Photo Louise Adams
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Chichester Runners are hosting a Hampshire League fixture this Saturday in the last of their three autumn cross-country promotions at Goodwood - with a host of quality athletes due to attend.

Hampshire-based clubs will of course be well represented by clubs such as Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton, not to mention national cross-country champions Aldershot.

However the league draws teams from across five counties with just one of the fixtures currently held in Hampshire.

As well as venturing into Sussex at Goodwood, the league visits Reading in Berkshire, Bournemouth in Dorset and Salisbury in Wiltshire.

This Saturday’s action starts with a primary schools invitation race over 2,000m which is not part of the league programme but will have good competition from local schools as well as runners from other clubs.

The league programme itself starts as usual with the under-13s at midday. Much interest for Chichester will be how their athletes cope with the extra numbers expected from the 30-plus clubs who will be in action.

Together with their recent good showing in the Sussex League last month, they should have a clearer indication of the competition they will face when it comes to the south of England and national championships in the new year.

The senior races start at 1.35pm with the women running a tough 6km course, which in the past has seen wins by the likes of internationals Steph Twell, Emma Pallant and Charlotte Purdue - with last year’s winner Amelia Gorecka one of the stars of the Great Britain team in 2013.

The men will run over a 9k course which is 1,000m further than in the Sussex league. The course record is still held by world championship GB runner Angus Maclean but with the possibility of current international Andy Vernon in the field, that could be under threat.

All the action takes place at the Goodwood country park adjacent to the racecourse and spectator admission is free.