Chichester Corporate Challenge

Another fine evening greeted the runners in the final evening of the Chichester Corporate Challenge road race

series last Wednesday 29th March. With more than 800 finishers across the 8 races, this brought the combined total for the series to over 2500 runners, a new record for the event, now in its 26th year. From modest beginnings in 1992 with a senior only series for around 250 runners a night, the event has caught the imagination of schools, sports clubs and local businesses alike. When juniors were introduced into the programme in the late 1990’s, one single race was sufficient whereas this year there have been a need for 6 separate races to accommodate around 500 competitors in the school’s section of the event. There were no individual course records on Wednesday but the crowds saw the youngest ever winner of the senior A race with 16-year-old Portsmouth based Lachlan Wellington too strong for the rest of the field to cross the line in 1st place, only a year after breaking the record on the junior course.


Primary schools

Once again it was the mass charge of the year 6 Primary boys who got the evening under way with the first 3 boys setting the 3 fastest times of the series. It was win number 3 for Fionn O’Murchu from Bishop Tufnell ahead of Max Sydenham from Fishbourne and improving Harvey McGuiness in 3rd and at the same time sealing a series win for his Bosham team. It was a similar story in the girls race with Camelsdale duo of Ailsa Newton and Evie Pickford sandwiching Ellie Jeffkins from Downview, exactly repeating the result of two weeks earlier although all three girls set faster times. Camelsdale were convincing winners of the series.


Secondary schools

The secondary girls race had a new winner in the form of Nicole Ainsworth from Portsmouth, 2016 National Junior cross country champion. Having run previous winner Ellie Farrow from Ditcham Park very close in the opening race on March 1st, Nicole had things very much her own way this time in the absence of her main rival. In her year 9 age group the next two places were taken by Maggie King from Bishop Luffa and Sophie Lambourne from Felpham CC. Second home in the whole race was top year 7 runner Olivia East, daughter of former men’s course record holder Michael East, who set her fastest time for the series at 7.11 ahead of Cerys Dickinson from St Philip Howard. Top year 8-runner was Isabelle Brydon from Portsmouth Academy ahead of Nian Moranne from Bishop Luffa while Rosie Sloane from Mayville High just beat Caitlin Brown from Felpham CC for top spot in the year 10 race.


With the years 9 & 10 boys running an extra lap, the first to cross the line in the Secondary boy’s race were again talented year 7 athletes Joe Mclarnon from Ditcham Park and Cameron Walker-Powell from Mayville High, the pair having occupied the same 2 top places all series and the only two to have beaten the

7-minute barrier for the 3-lap course during the series. Adam Robinson from Bourne CC once again got the better of Josh Fawcett from PGS and Seamus McCormack from St Philip Howard in the year 8 race while there was another fine tussle between top-year 9 runner Liam Dunne from Bohunt and year 10 Alex Mani from St Philip Howard who both won their respective races last time but the overall winner was Ethan Fincham from Angmering school who repeated his convincing outright 4 lap win from the first race.


Senior Corporate Challenge

There was another new name on the winner’s overall roll of honour with 2016 junior winner Lachlan Wellington from Portsmouth stepping up to win the senior race after a blistering last lap. The under 17 South of England Champion and National runner-up has been on sparkling form all season and set a new course under 17 record to win by two seconds in 13 minutes 27 seconds from Brighton Phoenix runner Max Pickard with Ed Dodd from RGP in 3rd. Another new name from Portsmouth took the honours in the women’s race with Charlotte Bowsher having a 17 second margin over previous winner Rhiannon Dunlop with two more Hampshire based athletes Anya Pigden and Corin Bearpark occupying the next 2 places and cementing their places in medals positions together with series winner Rhiannon Dunlop. Team wise there was another win on the night for DSTL Portsdown while Chichester Youth were back to winning ways in the sports category while DSTL Ladies and Bishop Luffa girls came out on top in the female Corporate and Sports categories respectively.