February 2016 Race Results Report Chichester 10km.

Expectations were very high that the 25th Chichester Priory 10 K was going to be very special and the organisers, athletes and spectators were not disappointed in the way it all turned out - a day truly to be remembered. The organisers were relieved to wake to a cold but dry Sunday morning. In spite of the very windy conditions, the 25th Chichester Priory 10km proved to be a resounding success, with fast times and a record entry of runners completing what is recognised nationwide as a top quality road race and an important part of the English road running calendar. The heavy rain of the past few days stayed away for the morning and it was a good day for running, although the strong winds on the Lavant course prevented any new records, despite a very strong field.

The high standard and depth of the race over the previous years resulted in a best ever turnout of runners who enjoyed one of the most popular and prestigious events in the South of England. The exact number of finishers was 1710 - the highest number ever in the history of the race. Many athletes whether elite, club runners or recreational runners were delighted to achieve their personal bests, despite the windy conditions and some running for the first time commented on how much they had enjoyed the course and the scenery and how well organised the race was.

This year the race was once again organised splendidly by the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory, who were fortunate to have for the tenth year running, the same sponsors Brooks, the International Shoe Company but in addition there was Wannops LLP (Solicitors) and Henry Adams (Estate Agents). The starting party included the Vice-President of Chichester Priory Rotary Club Julian Moores and the Chairman of the Chichester District Council, Nick Thomas, a great supporter of sport in the area. The runners were an extremely impressive sight as they streamed up College Lane and it was quite a spectacle as they wound their way along Connolly Road and into Graylingwell Park.

The race was expected to be very competitive with a large number of runners capable of going under or close to the magical 30 minute mark for men. The race got off to a cracking pace and it was evident at an early stage that the men’s race was going to be as predicted. After a kilometre there was a group of 12 runners who were forcing the pace and the lead kept changing with John Beattie (Newham and Essex Beagles), Scott Overall (Blackheath and Bromley AC), and Phil Wylie (Cheltenham Harriers) taking turns to be in the front. The group of 12 kept together until the top of Pook Lane when the pressure of the fierce competition started to take its toll and it proved a very fast race to the finish. Eventually the pre-race favourite Paul Pollock of Kent AC, an Irish international, pulled away but not by much as at the line he was only a second ahead of Luke Caldwell (Dorking and Mole Valley) and Scott Overall, who were both given the same time of 29.43.They were followed by a procession of runners with Lee Merrien, (also of Newham and Essex Beagles) and Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s AC) breaking the magical 30 minute barriers. A further five runners were under 31 minutes with John Beattie (6th), Chris Zabocki (Chichester Runners -7th), Phil Wylie (8lh), Alex Wall Clarke (Southampton AC - 9th) and Joshua Grace (Aldershot, Farnham & D - 10th).

The quality of the race was demonstrated in that the first 17 runners had all finished within 31 minutes and the top 100 in 36 minutes.

The male 40 plus vet title went to Howard Bristow of Brighton and Hove AC, followed by Mike Ellicock (Lewes AC), Lewis Sida also of Lewes in 3rd Place. Stewart Gregory (Holme Pierrepont RC) was1st Men’s vet 50 home, Martyn West (Winchester), 1st man over 60 in an incredible time of 41.30 and Stubbington Green’s Michael Welland was the first Vet 70 plus. In such a competitive field it was good to see three local Chichester Runners finish so high in the results - Zablocki, an American international based locally (7th), Peter Concannon (25th) and James Baker in 31st position.

Thanks to the generosity of the Chichester Observer, the Ben Steppel memorial prize to the first local under 23 man home went for the fourth year running to Harry Leleu of Chichester Runners & AC in a time of 34.10.

The Start in College Lane

Paul Pollock (1), WINNER
& Luke Caldwell (75), 2nd in the closing stages of the males division.

Louise Damen (2009) WINNER of the females division