Sussex athletics programme in chaos after snow and ice

Training despite the weather - The Chichester Runners brave the snowy conditions at Oaklands Park.'''Photo by Louise Adams C130069-1 Spt Chi Runners

Training despite the weather - The Chichester Runners brave the snowy conditions at Oaklands Park.'''Photo by Louise Adams C130069-1 Spt Chi Runners

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While cross-country runners usually carry on regardless of weather conditions, the recent snow has played more

havoc with the fixture list than has been seen in recent years.

First to go were the Sussex Schools and Sussex Masters - due to be run last Saturday at Bexhill - even though the worst of the weather had not reached East Sussex by that point.

Travel concerns, with athletes competing from all over Sussex, was the major consideration.

The good news is that the Hastings club, who are promoting the event, have been quick to act and find another date so the whole programme will go ahead on Saturday, February 9 over the same course.

One potential change which the organisers have noted is that some of the runners in the masters’ age groups may have moved up a category during the intervening three weeks as ages are taken for veterans as of the day of the race.

In school athletics, there has also been a dilemma for Sussex selectors, who now have the south-east inter-counties before their own championships. This race will be on its planned date on February 2 in Hampshire and those who consider themselves likely to have finished in the top 20 in Sussex are invited to put their names forward for the Sussex team.

In any case the selection for the national inter-county event at Derby in March will not be affected.

A further and far more unexpected cancellation was announced at the beginning of the week regarding the South of

England Championships due to held this Saturday at Parliament Hill Fields in North London.

With much of the course winding its way over Hampstead Heath, the Royal Parks Authority reluctantly made the call to deprive southern clubs of what for many is the highlight of their cross-country season.

Logistically this will be a far more difficult fixture to re-arrange as more than 500 clubs are in the area stretching from East Anglia down to Cornwall.

At leasty a hardy group of young Chichester athletes did get out for a spot of training in the snow on Saturday - as our picture (right) shows.

To complete a full set of cancellations last weekend, Chichester’s Indoor Sportshall match at Horsham was

affected, mainly because heavy Sporthall equipment would have had to be moved over icy surfaces around the site at Tanbridge House School.

This was frustrating for local clubs with a number of their athletes who normally play football or rugby in the winter looking for another way of keeping up their fitness.

Fortunately for Chichester, they have an extra fixture planned in the new Worthing League on February 3 for under 11s and under 13s.

The next Sussex League fixture planned for February 24 will now be the final match of the Horsham series.