After the highs at last weekend’s Hickstead Gallop Cross-Country warm up, the Haywards Heath Harriers were looking to take their form into the Cross-Country season proper.
The Brooks Sussex Cross-Country League kicked off on Saturday with races from Under 11 to Veterans on the Downs at Goodwood.
Cross-Country is often described as the rawest and purest form of the sport and where harriers get their name, but it’s not for the faint-hearted, typically taking in undulating, rough off-road routes through the countryside. It also attracts some of the best local runners which the traveling 44 Harriers found out this weekend.
Conditions on the Downs were firm but a biting wind made for a chilly afternoon. In the Senior Men’s 8km race, Harrier Chris Smith went off quickly, taking the early lead and eventually hanging on to third in 24:39. Izzy Coomber went one better with a commanding display to finish second in the 5km Senior Women’s race (17:55). Darja Knotkova-Hanley continued to impress over the longer distances, taking fifth in the 4km U15 Girls race with her time of 15:50. Harriet Dray was also fifth girl in the 2km race (8:08).
In the team competition, there were third places for the U15 girls and Senior Men and fifth for the Senior Women. In division 3, the Senior Men were second and the Vets men A team 5th overall.
It was also the penultimate West Sussex Fun Run League fixture of the season this weekend with Lancing Eagles hosting their Steepdown Challenge five mile trail run. On a hilly course over chalky tracks to Steepdown trig post and back, there were some excellent Harrier performances. With heavy legs from the Cross-Country on Saturday, Paul Cousins finished in fifth (31:20) with Julian Boyer (33:03) and Barry Tullett (33:06) also scoring top points for the Club in 14th and 15th. First lady was Amy Mitchell (45:32). Ryan Armstrong (5:58) had a brilliant run to finish second in the Junior race.
Thirteen Harriers were attracted to a new race on the calendar this weekend, joining over 1700 others in the Bright10, a fast and flat ten mile route around Brighton & Hove’s famous landmarks. First Harrier home with ever steady pacing was Steve Dallman in a fantastic 1:03.26, showing why this is one of his favoured distances.
Ben Adams was closely behind in 1:03.53 and was delighted with a new best for this distance. Phil Payne ran well in 1:05.20 despite running the gruelling Cross-Country fixture on Saturday as did Bryan Tiller and Carl Bicknell (both in 1:18.57). There were brilliant personal bests for Michael Burke (1:05.35), Kim Lo (1:05.51), Matt Quinton (1:12.49), Sarah Banks (1:17.17) and Chris Glanfield (1:24.13).
There were more great performances in the shape of: Graham Jenner (1:12.57), Sam Ridley (1:16.24), Marion Hemsworth (1:22.05) and Richard Neale (1:25.09).
There were further best times on Sunday for Harriers Jack and Natalie Chivers at the Abingdon Marathon. Despite being unwell, Jack clocked a very impressive 3:04.34 indicating that a sub-3 hour time is within reach and also securing himself a ‘good for age’ London Marathon entry. Natalie’s race was timed at an excellent 4:24.28, five minutes ahead of her previous best.
Goodwood Cross-Country Full Results
U11: 8.08 Harriet Dray, 9.47 Martha Hayes (2km)
U13 Girls: 13.23 Isobel Russell, 14.34 LilyTomlinson-Bliss, 19.05 Emma Vince (3km)
U15 Girls: 15.50 Darja Knotkova-Hanley, 16.43 Katie Hastings, 17.30 Jasmine Mamoany, 20.03 Eleanor Stoner (4km)
U17, U20, Senior Women: 17.55 Izzy Coomber, 21.08 Kat Barrett , 23.08 Katherine Buckeridge, 25.39 Michelle Holdstock, 26.59 Linda Tullett, 28.53 Justine Tanner, 34.02 Jenny Denyer (5km)
U13 boys: 12.17 Adam Dray, 13.12 Daniel Adams, 14.17 Henry Forrest (3km)
U15 boys: 15.45 Joseph Martin, 15.48 Daniel Blain, 17.59 Scott Ridley, 18.49 Jake Ridley (4.5km)
U17 Men: 17.55 Matt Holbrook, 19.32 Patrick Kenwood (5km)
U20, Senior & Vet Men: 24.39 Chris Smith, 28.01 Phil Hardaway, 28.04 Russ Mullen, 28.24 Paul Tomlinson, 29.03 Marcus Kimmins, 29.13 Paul Cousins, 30.25 Phil Payne, 30.45 Barry Tullett, 31.08 Will Herbert, 31.09 Julian Boyer, 33.53 Tim Hicks, 34.27 Andy Dray, 34.34 Richard Cole, 35.50 Bryan Tiller, 37.02 Michael Essex, 37.09 Carl Bicknell, 37.41 Graham Kenwood, 37.49 Steve Navesey, 38.34 Mark Sykes (8km).
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