SEAA Cross Country Championships

After being held at Brighton last year, the South of England Cross Country Championships returned to their home course at Parliament Hill Fields in North London on Saturday 26th January 2019.


A total of 25 Chichester athletes were in action across the age groups ranging from U13’s to seniors with the whole squad emerging with credit. Covering an area from Norfolk right down to Cornwall and involving the whole of the home counties, competition in this fixture is always of the highest standard and any place in the top 100 is a mark of being along the best in the south. Once again, the best represented age group was in the senior women with nine members of the club in action resulting in a well-fought 34 place among over 70 clubs who fielded a full team.


Having missed the Sussex championships earlier in the month, Lucy Thraves led the squad home in a fine 113th place, only beaten by two other Sussex runners on the day. There was good packing from the other three scorers in the “A” team with Sophie Wright having a very good latter part of the 8K tough, undulating course over Hampstead Heath to pull through to 246th with Charlotte Reading in 273rd and Anne Sydenham 306th.


There was an equally good showing from the “B” team with Jenny Jakeman 396th, Nadia Anderson 407th, Jo Prosser 512th and Amanda Godfrey 561st with reserve Sue Baker 620th out of over 700 starters. In the girls U15’s, Cerys Dickinson ran a well-judged race for 164th with Nicole Boltwood in 238th closely followed by Emily Weymouth. Of local interest in the U17 women, Seaford College pupil Olivia Macdonald ran a fine race for her club, Guildford and Godalming, to finish in 3rd place, her best-ever in this event and continuing her rich form following her win at the Sussex Schools Championships ten days earlier.


In the men’s races, Chichester best result was from the U17 men who finished in 17th place in the team standings although it was a question of what might have been in another two age groups. Ned Potter was another to continue his recent good form and led the U17’s home in 59th place was Alfie Spurle 182nd, Harry Sage 206th and David Bisatt 224th and give Chichester third Sussex team on the day behind Hastings and Crawley and just in front of Brighton & Hove.


In two other age groups, the lack of a fourth scorer cost the club potentially good places in the team standings. This was nowhere more evident than in the U20 men’s race where Chichester had its top two individual placings of the day with Ben Morton having the race of his life to finish strongly in 31st place, just beating teammate Leo Stallard to the finish just eight places further back and third scorer Brodie Keates just outside the top 100 in 103rd.


In the team standing Horsham packed well to finish 4th, the highest team placing for Sussex of the day, but his was a team which only just pipped Chichester in the County Championships at Bexhill three weeks previously. In the U13 boys there was a similar story with Harvey McGuiness 29th, just over ten seconds in front of Fionn O’Murchu in 83rd and just is the closeness of competition at this standard Max Sydenham in 206th but barely a minute slower than his two team mates. Both Gabryel White and Bradley Holder battled well in a very competitive U15 boys’ race for 224th and 286th respectively while the club’s major disappointment of the day was only having a single finisher in the 15K senior men’s race with Paul Stallard flying the flag for the club just a week after running in the Sussex Masters Championships, his second tough cross country in eight days.