Sussex cross-country aces ready for relays

Ben Collins is one of Chi's under-17 cross-country runners for the new season
Ben Collins is one of Chi's under-17 cross-country runners for the new season
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Saturday sees the start of the 2016-17 cross-country season with the top Sussex athletes at Goodwood for the Sussex relay championships.

In addition there will be guest clubs from Hampshire and in the past a number of future internationals have cut their teeth over the undulating Downland course.

The new under-15 boys’ team will be spearheaded by Liam Dunne, Alex Mani and Harry Sage, who have all performed well over the track in the summer.

With the standard of athletics in Sussex improving each year, competition is certain to be tough for team medals and fastest lap awards.

In the junior races, many of Chichester’s teams will have a new look to them with two of the fastest-ever runners on the junior lap, Ben Collins and Will Broom, now in the under-17s and due to run the senior 4k lap.

They will be joined by Leo Stallard, with all three running well in training and confident of making the transition into the older age group.

The new under-15 boys’ team will be spearheaded by Liam Dunne, Alex Mani and Harry Sage, who have all performed well over the track in the summer, while the girls will be aiming for a top-six placing after also having a good summer.

The under-13s will no doubt throw up some surprises with Douglas Smith, Archie Sadler and Joe McLarnon on form for the boys with Nina Moranne and Nicole Boltwood the most experienced of the girls. Both the under 13’s and under 15’s will run over the same 2800 metres course.

For the seniors, the men will have James Baker in their team in his last season as a senior athlete before moving into the masters ranks.

Showing a remarkable level of consistency over the years, Baker set the third fastest lap in the inaugural race in 2002 with a 12.35min clocking over the 4000m course and will not expect to be much slower 14 years later.

Chichester’s fastest senior woman from last year, Rose Ellis, is now at university so it will be up to Karina Bennett and Grace Wills to lead Chichester’s challenge in the senior ranks this season.

The action starts with the under-13s at midday, followed by under-15s at 12.45pm, senior women at 1.30pm and senior men at 2.30pm. Entry is free to the course and spectators are welcome.

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