Chichester Corporate Challenge Race 1

The popularity of the Chichester Corporate Challenge Road Races shows no sign of lessening following another bumper evening on Wednesday 21st February 2018.


As well as the total of over 860 runners who completed the course in one of the 7 races in the programme, the number of spectators seems to be getting larger year by year with the streets of Chichester thronged with spectators and supporters. The event is now in its 27th year having initially been started in 1992 as a seniors’ only competition between local firms and businesses plus sports and other organisations. Juniors were added a few years later although at first they comprised just a small part of the total entrants. Both senior and junior elements have developed over the years to such an extent that the total junior numbers on Wednesday at just over 450 were slightly more than the seniors totalling 410. As for the seniors, there were 82 complete teams in the 3 categories with no less than 42 competing in the Corporate Category.


Senior races

As usual the seniors were split into two races to enable both fast and slow to have more room to manoeuvre around the tight turns of Chichester City Centre. In the A race, a fairly large group of about a dozen runners formed in the first of the 4 lap 4500 metres course and there were still half a dozen together at the half way distance covered in just about 6 minutes 45 seconds. It was a strong surge over the final lap which saw Ed Dodd of the local Russell Giles Partnership stride clear of Jack Woods from Worthing Hares and Matt Gordon running for another Chichester based team, Linn Systems. All the top three broke the coveted 14 minute barrier with Dodd winning by seven seconds in 13.46. The winner could not quite manage to put his team at the top of the ranking as it was great packing from former winners Dstl Portsdown that gave them a 4 second margin over Russell Giles with an aggregate time of 61 minutes 41 seconds from their 4 runners. There is nearly a 5 minute gap to the third place team with Irwin Mitchell just edging out Linn Systems. In the mixed sports category, Chichester’s combined youth squad of under 17’s and under 20’s running as Conrad’s Lads, led home by Leo Stallard, have an advantage of just over a minute from Worthing Hares and at 59.05 were the only team on the night to break the hour barrier. First woman home was last year’s series winner, Rhiannon Dunlop who at 15.28 was nearly a minute clear of Alice Wright from Chichester University with Lucy Thraves in third place. Team wise, Dstl made it a double in the Corporate standings to lead WSCC by nearly 3 minutes while Chichester University Students had the biggest margin of the day with a 9 minute advantage in the Sports rankings.


Junior races


The evening’s proceedings started off with the Primary Schools and once again the boys had to be split into separate year 5 & 6 races in order to accommodate the numbers competing. The fastest 3 were all unsurprisingly from the year 6 race with Rufus Edsell from Hollycombe emerging as the winner in 4.51 just in front of Samuel Tonks from North Mundham and Joshua Dunne from Westbourne Primary with all 3 boys under the 5 minute barrier for the 1400 metres 2 lap course. Team wise things could not be closer with North Mundham at 15.38 holding a slim 10 seconds advantage over Westbourne with Aldingbourne a single second further back. In the girls’ race, the top 3 finishers were all raiders from over the Hampshire border with Hattie Bond from Herne Primary having a great run to win by 16 seconds in 4.54 from Florence East from Lyndhurst and Kitty Bryden from Newbridge. Florence Ingram ran impressively in 4th to give her Jessie Younghusband team a convincing 45 second lead in the team standings from Westbourne with St Richards a further second back.



The Secondary School girls’ race over 3 laps had all 4 age groups together and it was in-form year 10 Maggie King from Bishop Luffa who led the field from the start to finish in 7 minutes 16 seconds. She was chased hard at the end by year 8 Olivia East from Mayfield who had narrowed the gap to a single second at the line. Eva and Isobel Buckler from Bishop Luffa were followed by Cerys Dickinson from St Philip Howard to make it 4 year 8 runners in the top 5 overall. Natalya Smith from Noadswood just won the year 9 race on the line from Nina Moranne from Bishop Luffa with Nicole Boltwood from Felpham 5 seconds further back. Tilly Russell-Stoneman from Midhurst RC was first year 7 to finish but second place Evie Pickford from Bohunt led her team to the top of the standing while Bishop Luffa dominated the other age groups.


The boys’ race was all action from the start with the year 9 & 10 boys running over 4 laps while the year 7 & 8 stop after 3. It was no surprise to see Sussex under 15 cross country champion Liam Dunne at the head of things running for Bohunt in year 10. Two scorching laps of just over 2 minutes each brought Liam to the halfway point at record equalling pace but, looking forward to the National cross-country championships a few days later, he eased off to win in 8 minutes 26 seconds, still one of the fastest times on record. James Gardham from Bishop Luffa also broke the 9 minute barrier with George Ashby and Leon Heard under 10 minutes. The top two year 9 runners, Douglas Smith and Adam Robinson, both from Bishop Luffa, ran stride for stride to also dip under 10 minutes and enable Luffa to easily head the combined years 9 & 10 team table from Chichester High School.


Over the 3-lap race it was year 7 Fionn O’Murchu who once again got the better of club team mate year 8 Joe McLarnon from Ditcham Park with both boys delighted to dip under the coveted 7-minute barrier with 6.55 and 6.58 respectively. Harvey McGuiness from year 7 next home to give Bishop Luffa second place in the year 7 team standings behind St Philip Howard who also made it a double in the year 8 race in front of Chichester High School.