Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Chichester Priory 10km incorporating UK and AAA Championships – October 7th, Chichester, West Sussex – an insider’s review (written for Running Fitness 10/07).

The sixteenth edition of this popular and well-supported 10km road race delivered the goods once again with an exhilarating days’ action, in which Kate Reed and Williard Chinhanhu came out on top from over 1000 participants, writes Nicola Bamford.

Covering the primarily flat 6.25mile-course, Reed (Bristol and West AC) put in a dominant display with a seemingly effortless performance, to romp home to victory over defending champion, Hayley Yelling, in a scintillating 32:07 – a personal best by 15 seconds, and eclipsing Yelling’s 2006 course record by 14-seconds to boot.

The 25 year-old European and World cross-country representative did however, have an adventurous journey to her first national 10km road title, after surviving three scares en route; “When the gun went, a massive barrier went up in the air and hit Louise Damen, who was beside me. Luckily it missed me but poor Louise never got started. After 1km, a man went down in front of me and I had to hurdle him. And at about 4km, I smacked my hip on the wing mirror of a car,” recalled the gutsy runner after collecting her £250 course-record winnings and heading off to the post-event buffet, “I think it was fright that drove me to the PB: I just wanted to get to the finish! I’m glad I’m in one piece.”

The outstanding time in this mixed race with spot-prizes, reinforces Reed’s position in fourth in the Power of 10 national rankings behind Mara Yamauchi (Harrow AC), Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers) and Paula Radcliffe (Bedford and County AC).

Additional testament to Reed’s performance was the emphatic winning margin she held over 2002 Commonwealth Games 10,000m sixth-placer, Yelling; an astonishing 1minute 12 seconds. With 33:19, Yelling (Winsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) claimed the UK silver medal only one week after finishing fifth in the BUPA Great North half-marathon , in an exciting battle in the final, downhill mile with Vicky Gill of Chorley (33:21).

The South of England honours went to Yelling, Gill and fourth-placer, Birhan Dagne (Belgrave Harriers), with UK team gold going to Winchester and District AC – lead by a breakthrough 33:59 run from Rachael Townend.

Surrey took Inter-County glory, ahead of Hampshire and Lancashire, with the Southern team, consisting of Yelling, Natalie Harvey and Jo Wilkinson, collecting inter-area gold; in a race in which your writer was 16th in 35:47 and all competitors were notified of their 5km split times in the chip-timed race.

The men’s title went to Williard Chinhanhu of Poole Runners in a fine 29:18; three seconds adrift of the Power of 10 National standard. Jermaine Mays (Kent AC) clinched the runner-up spot, with a solid 29:26 run, ahead of Crawley AC’s Gavin Thompson in 29:29 in third. All three took the South of England honours.

Newham and Essex Beagles captured UK team gold, thanks to a fourth-place finish from Moumin Geele and strong runs by Steve Hepples and Dave Mitchinson; whereas Kent took the Inter-County match and the South of England squad claimed inter-area success. Belgrave Harriers snatched the South of England win.

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