Nearly six hundred runners contested the second of this season’s Sussex Cross-country League event at Bexhill Down on Saturday which is a record number for the Bexhill course for a League event.
Bodywork’s Daisy Burton, who is the reigning Sussex Schools Year Seven champion, tasted first blood of the afternoon when she won the U13 1.8-mile Girls race in 12:25s over a testing but mainly firm course. She finished eight seconds clear of Eleanor Strevens from Eastbourne with East Grinstead’s Gabrielle Holland in third place a further three seconds behind.
Crawley took the team race from the combined Bodyworks/Eastbourne squad.
In the Boys race, over the same distance, there was a repeat victory from Crawley’s Nicholas Hollan-Ellidge who clocked 11.10s well clear of Brighton & Hove’s Henry Yelling, who clocked 11:32s and Jonas Judah’s (Hastings) 11:39s in third place.
There was a tight finish in the team race with both Brighton & Hove and Hastings scoring 16 points but Brighton & Hove taking first place as they closed their scoring three runners in first.
There was a disaster in the U15 boy’s race when all but the leading three runners went off course and failed to complete their 2.8-miles.
As it is part of a four race League competition the officials decided that the clear leaders should fill the first three places ahead of the rest of the field and Will Carey (Brighton Phoenix) was awarded the race ahead of Liam Dunne (Chichester) and Callum Stone (Crawley) with Crawley taking the team race with 22 points to Lewes’s 32.
The U15 girls’ team race was won by Brighton & Hove with 15 points to Hastings’s 19 points.
The U17 men’s team race was won by Brighton & Hove 16 points to Crawley’s 29 while the U17 women’s team went to Brighton Phoenix with 17 points to Chichester’s 22.
In the Senior women’s team event it was reigning champions Lewes who scored 72 points to Arena 80’s 83 points and Brighton & Hove’s 94 and it was Brighton & Hove who won their fifth team victory of the afternoon with 57 points to Brighton Phoenix’s77 and 104 for Lewes.
In the Veteran’s races Arena 80 took the Women’s team event with 15 points to Hailsham’s 25 and Brighton & Hove the men’s race with 13 points to Haywards Heath’s 20 points.
Dulcie Yelling (Brighton & Hove) won the U11 girl’s race and Barney Hastings (Lewes) the boy’s race.
An interesting runner in the senior women’s event was Crawley’s Regeena Joyce who is still the County Record holder for the marathon, at 2:32:56s and the 10,000m at 32:35.7s. Both records were set in the early 1980s. Geena, who was one of the leading Sussex middle distance runners though the age groups from the seventies but left for America in the eighties.
She was back home for her club’s sixtieth birthday celebration at the weekend. Now sixty and still running she finished 67th of the one hundred and thirty one finishers.