Tom Hooper, Tuesday 16th April 2019
It was our women who led the way at the Sussex Road Relay Championships on April 6th, fielding no less than 6 Senior teams - including the winning trio of Tara Bage, Milly Dickinson and Beth Kidger.
Not that it was a bad day for our men, who also retained the Senior title - in their case for the 9th (yes ninth) time in succession.
This event in the scenic grounds of Christ’s Hospital school is always a great day out for runners of all ages as well as for spectators, and is proving more popular than ever now that Phoenix stalwarts Bruce Warren, Ruth Mansfield and Steve Hardman have taken on the organisation of the event, ensuring it's smooth running as well as bringing in improvements such as chip batons and this year a new safer senior course entirely with the school grounds.
Hundreds of teams from 16 different Sussex clubs took part, including an excellent Phoenix turnout of 26 teams, with our U13 Girls (4 teams), U13 boys (5 teams) and V60 men (3 teams) outdone only by our 6 senior women teams. Notable results, aside from the wins for our Senior men and women, were 4th place for our U13 and U15 Boys, 3rd place for our V60 men, and 3rd place too for our V50 men (despite Steve Selby taking a tumble in the congested changeover area at the very start of his leg).
Individually we had the two fastest women runners (Beth Kidger and Tara Bage), and no less than 6 men in the top 10, led home by George Mills in 1st place. There were also silver medals for Naomi Fonteyn (U20) Steve Atkinson (V50) and Paul Whelpton (V60). Finally, there was also a welcome reappearance from former Phoenix star Carol Webb - who posted the fastest time of our V50 Women’s trio - and whose husband Steve gallantly stepped back into action for our V60 men despite nursing an injury.
Thanks to Paul Whelpton for the report.