There was a thrilling finish to the 27th Chichester Priory 10K at Goodwood yesterday morning (4 February) as a field in excess of 1,500 runners were treated to glorious winter sunshine at the famous motor racing circuit.
The bright sun disguised the freezing, windy conditions that made the winning times even more impressive. However, it was the nature of the successes that brought the crowd in the grandstand to their feet and warmed their hands with well deserved applause.
Andy Maud (Highgate Harriers) wore bib number 1 as the fastest on paper but races are won and lost on the unforgiving ribbon of tarmac that, in this case, took the competitors on a tour round the tiny Sussex villages of Westhampnett, Strettington and Westerton, before a final 4k lap of the race track.
Sniffing the sweet scent of victory, Richard Allen (Aldershot) timed his sprint to perfection to cross the finish line in the pit lane in 29:45, just two seconds clear of the gallant Maud who had made all the early running. The pair immediately embraced to respect their joint efforts. Joe Morwood (Aldershot, 30:37) was third and helped secure the team prize for Aldershot.
Katrina Wootton (Coventry, 33:23) is a GB international who competed in the European Cup 10,000m last year. With 31:45 pace to call on she had more than enough gas in the tank to secure her latest win. Kate Maltby (Bristol and West, 33:59) and Rebecca Murray (Bedford, 34:09) were closely matched in the scrap for runners-up awards. Arena 80 took the team prize from an all W50 Tonbridge trio.
This race has previously hosted the UK, England, South of England and other championships. This year it acted as a Sussex County Championships and Harvey Curtis Road Race Challenge event and an age group qualifier for England Masters 10k international team selection.
Among those older athletes giving the selectors a nudge were M40 Mark Worringham (Reading RR, 32:59), M50 Mike Dooley (Team Bath, 34:24), M65 Paul Whelpton (Brighton, 39:19) and M70 Peter Young (Ryde Harriers, 41:41). Also showing great form were W50 Maria Heslop (Tonbridge, 36:38), W60 Nicky Yeates (Arena 80, 44:28) and W70 Pauline Rich (Run Academy Worthing, 54:03).
Image courtesy Mark Pitcairn-Knowles, Tonbridge AC