Record numbers of runners turned out for the first of this season Sussex Cross-country League races on the Downs at Goodwood on Saturday when more than si hundred runners completed the nine races.
Following her fastest lap in the Sussex Cross Country relays a couple of weeks back Horsham Blue Star’s Johanna Spannagl showed that her return to racing was no fluke by winning the senior women’s race. Taking the lead from the start the Blue Star runner, who a decade ago was the most promising young Sussex middle distance runner, fought off a mid race challenge from Almi Nerurkar (Brighton Phoenix) to win handsomely in 17.29 with Nerurkar, repeating her second placing in this race twelve months back in 17.41 while newcomer Masie Trafford clocked 17.52 in third place. Finishing in fourth spot Alex Richer (Horsham) ran the race of her career so far to finish second U17 runner home behind Nerurkar in 18:18.
Chichester took the team hoours with 45 points to Arena 80’s 50 and Brighton Phoenix’s 76 points.
In the senior men’s race reigning League champion, Chris Smith (Haywards Heath) set the early pace. He still had his nose in front at the half-way stage before he relinquished it to Brighton & Hove’s Jamie Knapp. Knapp then powered clear to win in 24.51 from Bernie Spannagl (Horsham), Jo’s younger brother, who is also making a successful return to racing and clocked 25.19 while veteran Jamie Baker (Chichester), a frequent League champion in the past, was third in 25.25. Max Dumbrell (Phoenix) placed fourth in 25.26 ahead of Smith who recorded 25.35.
Brighton & Hove took the team event with 73 points to Haywards Heath’s 107 and 142 points for Phoenix.
In the U17 men’s race Tom Eames (Brighton & Hove) dominated the race from the start cantering to a clear cut victory in 15.21 over Hastings’s George Pool 15.45 with Ethan Fincham (Synergy) clocking 15.49 in third place.
Brighton & Hove had a narrow team victory over Horsham 26 points to 27.
In the U15 races Atticus Mohapi-Dobouny from Lewes was a convincing winner of the Boy’s race with 14.44 to Horsham’s Ashley Williams’s 14.52 and Ethan Ward’s (Worthing) 14.55 with Worthing winning the team race from Lewes with 25 to 28 points.
The Girl’s event saw a predictable victory for Bodywork’s Bethany Cook in 15.12 ahead of Alice Wright (Phoenix) 15.39 and Maya Ramnarine (Hastings) 15.52 with Brighton & Hove taking the team race from Hastings with 22 to 25 points.
Crawley athletes won both the U13 races with the Wormley twins virtually dead heating in the girls race on 12.10 but though their times were the same Lauren was given the nod over Charlotte and they led their team to victory over Brighton & Hove 13 to 29.
Nicholas Hollan-Ellidge won the boys race in 10.55 ahead of the home club’s Joe McClarnon who clocked 11.12 with Hastings and Crawley both scoring 16 points in the team event but Hasting had their third scoring runner home first.
The U11 races saw Dulcie Yelling (Brighton & Hove) winning the Girl’s run in 7.32 and Max Webb (Crawley) the Boy’s race in 7.09.