Saturday 18th May 2019
With only four Phoenix women making it to the start line we fell short, for the second race in succession, of the minimum 5 men and 5 women needed for a good team result under this year’s revised SGP scoring system. But there were some great performances by those who did take part. First Vet home, and 6th finisher overall, was V45 Joe Butler in a very impressive 28:29, and there were also age category wins for Paul Whelpton – 5 minutes clear of his nearest V65 rival – and returning star Carol Webb, who followed up her welcome comeback appearance at Christ’s Hospital with a spectacular V60 age category win. Top three age category finishes also for Tony Rickwood and Andrew Haig (turning out gallantly for the team despite injury). Invaluable contributions too from Charlotte Softly, Steve Selby, Mike Townley, James and Lizzie Miles and Val Avella.
With only one runner below Vet age and an average age of around 50, our top 5 PHX men still comfortably outscored title favourites Wadhurst Runners, making it especially disappointing that our shortage of women runners prevented us from gaining a good team result (in contrast to our Hastings Half Marathon result where it was our lack of male runners that spoilt a great team performance by our women).
Despite the view in some quarters that Grand Prix races present little challenge to elite runners, there is usually a very high-class battle at the front of the race, and on this occasion the field was led home in outstanding fashion by Hastings AC star Adam Clarke, who overcame the stiff east early breeze in the latter half of the race and came within a whisker of breaking 24 minutes, obliterating the previous course record set three years ago by former Phoenix stalwart Ross Skelton.
And for any of our members still unconvinced it is worth repeating that last year’s controversial SGP team scoring system has been replaced for 2019. The new system ensures that common sense prevails and the quicker you run, the more points you get for your team! It also ensures that in one way or another every single Phoenix member who turns up and runs any SGP race will improve our score in the team competition. If you are in the hunt for individual trophies you do need to run in at least 6 of the 12 races but for the team competition any race you do, even just 1 of the 12, will help us.
With two of the 12 races completed all individual prizes are very much still up for grabs, and we still have a slim chance of regaining the overall title, though only if our turnout improves in the remaining races. So please sign up if you can!
Thanks to Paul Whelpton for the report.