Southern CCC Brighton

 

MEN’S SOUTH OF ENGLAND CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS, STANMER PARK, BRIGHTON, 27 JAN 2018

HISTORIC WIN FOR JOHN GILBERT AND TEAM ARE FOURTH IN THE SIX TO SCORE

John Gilbert’s tremendous cross country season got even better on Saturday when he won the prestigious South of England Championships. Already this season John had come out on top in the Senior South of the Thames and the Kent County. But to win the South of England title is really something –  a first for the club and for John a deserved reward for his recent years of dedication and hard work.

He’s had some terrific results since he’s been seriously competing – a sixth place in the National and third at the Southerns when they were held at Parliament Hill. Plus of course some consistently high quality marathon times. But to win the Southerns puts him in exalted company. As a winner, his name will be added to a list of high quality athletes who have triumphed in this event – in fact there have been some extremely good runners who have tried very hard and still missed out on a win at these championships.

There had been heavy drizzle for most of the day which meant the arduous course was muddier than usual. In terms of the race itself, John once again laid down his marker early. At the start he swiftly moved to the front of the field and almost challenged runners to go with him. He quickly put a bit of daylight between himself and a chasing pack – a pack that included Max Nicholls, who’s been so good for our cause as a second claimer in the Surrey league.

As the race progressed, Adam Hickey of Southend broke out of the pack, and went on to pursue John for the duration of the race. Early on John had forced a gap of around fifty to sixty metres, but the pursuing Hickey did gradually make inroads into the lead and towards the end of the last lap John’s supporters got a little anxious as the gap visibly narrowed. From the vantage point I’d been viewing the race, it was impossible to scramble back to see the finish in time. So both Ken and I were delighted to learn when we got back that John had hung on and secured a famous victory.

We didn’t just have John’s victory to celebrate. Although the team missed out on medals, our six to score team were fourth, which is the highest position the club has achieved. What’s more, in the 12 to score we again showed the depth we possess in races like this. We were second here behind the always strong Highgate.

Both Tom Mower and Jordan Weaver showed they appear to be running into good form. Tom was an excellent 25th, whilst Jordan was 30th, just missing out on a top thirty place in the run in. Dame Dibaba was our fourth scorer (77th). As is now customary, there was quite a bit of toing and froing as regards Dame’s position the race. However, he always seems to rally when he knows the end is in sight.

Fifth scorer was Pete Lighting (92nd) who seems to employ the right tactics – or at least they’re tactics that work for him. He starts very steadily and then moves through the field. Then sixth scorer – actually 100th) – was Neil Phillips.

As mentioned, the runners who made up the 12 to score meant we were second only to Highgate. There were some highly creditable performances; Rob Laing was a very useful 128th, not far behind was Dan Pettit (133rd) who was followed by Stuart Beaney (137th) – a run that perhaps indicates the new regime is showing signs of promise. The final three in the 12 were Dan Ansell (147th), Phil Sanders (159th) and Tim Alexander (163rd).

All our runners should be listed, but a mention to Barny Day.  He squeezed inside the top 200 (199th), which is not to be underestimated in a race of this standard. Also, honourable mentions to Ben McGoeown (254th) and Will Pitt (255th) – it looks as though they had a close tussle. Finally, we were all obviously delighted with John’s triumph, but we were also extremely pleased that Max Nicholls had also made it onto the podium by claiming third place.

Prior to the senior race we had been given a boost by the way Noah Armitage-Hookes had run in the Junior men’s race. He came twelfth in a very competitive field. It was a very encouraging run – especially when you take into consideration the fact that Noah is at the younger end of the age group and I believe will be able to make two more appearances in this age group.

Results:

Senior Men

1st      John Gilbert             50 57                                                                         Teams :    6 to score

25th    Tom Mower            54 22                                                          1st    Bedford & C                   185

30th    Jordan Weaver       54 40                                                          2nd    Highgate H                    209

77th    Dame Dibaba          56 32                                                          3rd     Serpentine                    210

92nd    Peter Lighting         57 15                                                          4th     KENT AC                        325        BEST EVER position

100th   Neil Phillips             57 40                                                          5th     Hercules W                   327

128th   Rob  Laing               59 03

133rd  Dan Pettit                59 07                                                                 Teams   :   12 to score

137th   Stuart Beaney        59 19                                                          1st    Highgate  H          866

147th   Dan Ansell              59 41                                                           2nd   KENT AC             1192

159th   Phil Sanders           60 10                                                           3rd    Serpentine         1229

163rd  Tim Alexander        60 22

185th  Sean Fitzpatrick      61 12

199th  Barny Day                61 28

254th  Ben McGeown        63 12

255th  Will Pitt                     63 14

392nd  Jonathan Beatty     67 58

403rd   Thomas Thain         68 17

540th   Roger Beardsworth 73 52

644th   Alan Curtis               79 31

677th   Bernie Hutchinson  82 59                                                                                          782 finished

 

U20 Race          

12th     Noel Armitage

Full Results can be seen here:

http://seaa.org.uk/index.php/results/cross-country