Chichester athletes soldier on for Army course honours

Jane Harrop tasted success for Chichester Runners
Jane Harrop tasted success for Chichester Runners

Members of Chichester Runners were scattered far and wide at the weekend on the road, over the country and – in some cases – having to overcome obstacles.

The Army assault course at Bordon provided the venue for the event known as the Hellrunner with Nigel NcNestrie and Debbie Lord completing the race in 1hr 33min and 2hr 20min respectively, while Terry Healy braved the same mud and hills the next day to finish in 1hr 55min.

Somewhat shorter but no less demanding was the Hampshire League cross-country course at Popham Airfield near Basingstoke.

With the club’s juniors having a weekend’s rest from racing in preparation for their inter-county battle this Saturday, four seniors flew the flag with Jane Harrop finishing 20th in a very competitive women’s race and fourth in the veterans’ category with Amanda Godfrey 58th in the same race.

For the men, James Baker was slightly below par with a 16th place in a very competitive 9k race in 28.33 while club chairman Tom Blaylock crossed the line 174th in 37.06.

Maria and Sophie Wright took part in the ladies’ Worthing Christmas Cracker race with Maria ninth in the 10k race while daughter Sophie finished an equally-impressive 11th in the shorter 5k option.

John Betts returned to his roots to take part in the Pirie 10k cross country over the famous Farthing Down course near Coulsdon, Surrey.

Breaking the 90-minute barrier in 86th place was a good achievement for an athlete in the over-60 age group but the race was also a chance to commemorate the achievements of top GB international Gordon Pirie, whose distance-running exploits from the 1950s and 60s are legendary.

His club, South London Harriers, were also marking a milestone by celebrating their 140th anniversary, a remarkable achievement having been one of the first athletics clubs to be formed in England way back in 1871.