Sussex Grand Prix Champions Again

Thursday 26th December 2019

Sussex Grand Prix Champions Again!


Final results are now out for this year’s Sussex Grand Prix league road racing competition, and our spectacular success has been confirmed, with victories in both of the team competitions by emphatic margins.  Phoenix athletes claimed top spot in no less than 10 of the 22 different age categories, including overall wins for Simon Heath and Rachel Gorman, with the remaining 12 age category titles shared between the 20 other competing clubs. Our youngest winner was Amy Gamblin in the Junior (Under 20) age group whilst our Coaching Director Malcolm Kemp was victorious at the other end of the age spectrum in the V7 (70-74) age category.

The results are proof of our current strength in depth, in respect of both standard of performance and  commitment to racing over a long 9-month  season;  this impressive level of success has been achieved with relatively little involvement  from most of our best senior athletes who have generally been competing on wider regional, national and international stages.

As in all league competitions turnout/participation, as well as speed, is an essential element for success, and congratulations to all our athletes whatever their standard, who turned out in one or more, or many more, of the SGP races and contributed to our team success.

Rundown of the twelve 2019 races :

1: Hastings Half Marathon: some long climbs in the first half of the race but an exhilarating finish speeding downhill back to the seafront and along the prom to the finish. 2019 highlight: a cracking 1:23 run by Will Wakefield.

 2: Hastings 5 Miles: a fast and flat seafront race with pb potential, and the chance to get yourself a high power of 10/runbritain ranking at this relatively rare distance. 2019 highlight: former club stalwart Carol Webb celebrating her  return to action for Phoenix with victory in the V60 Women’s category,

3: Rye 10: ten scenic miles of hills and wooded country lanes. 2019 highlights: great win for our Women’s Captain Amelia Culshaw, and victory after 70 minutes of hard racing for Phil Grabsky by just 5 seconds over his Phoenix clubmate and V55 rival Lance Bellers

4: Horsham 10k: more country lanes and hills. 2019 highlight: victory for Rachel Gorman in the Women’s race by an unbelievable 5-minute margin.

5: Heathfield 10k: very scenic but one of those races where you finish convinced there was a lot more up than down despite ending back exactly where you started. 2019 highlight: Rachel Gorman finishing over two minutes ahead of the second woman finisher and well ahead of our most of our men despite having to stop to tie the laces on her state of the art trainers.

6: Bewl 15 Miles: lovely trail route taking you down to  Bewl Water and around it, before a long climb back to the finishing field where the world’s best cake stall - and free beer – will ease your pain. 2019 highlight: the bed of long soft grass in the finishing field!

 7: Phoenix 10k: the best organised of all the races of course, thanks to the efforts of Andy Bone and all his helpers; and pb potential on the familiar  flat seafront route. 2019 highlight: the finishing line for those of us who’d run 15 tough miles at Bewl just 3 days earlier (that’s why the Phoenix 10k will be a week later in 2020!)

8: Bexhill 5k: another chance of a pb on a flat seafront course. 2019 highlight/lowlight: victory No.5 for Simon Heath edging closer to an  unprecedented perfect 3000 points total; Paul Whelpton, producer of our meticulous course notes for every SGP race, doubling back redfaced after racing blithely past the finishing funnel.

 9: Hellingly 10k: more scenic country lanes. 2019 highlights: gutsy run by Liz Halliday who  as usual cycled all the way to the race before produced another solid performance to come home as our vital 5th woman finisher.

 10: Lewes 10 Miles: the only downland race in the Grand Prix, with the course taking in  the tough but exhilarating climb from Ashcombe Bottom up to Blackcap. 2019 highlight: excellent 1:06 run by Jonny McCormack.

11: Hove Prom 10k: another chance to have a crack at a pb on a familiar flat seafront course. 2019 highlight: over 20 solid performances from Amy Gamblin and many others to ensure a good team result despite the absence of virtually all our quickest runners.

12: Crowborough 10k: a great climax to the season with final positions at stake, and  two  ford crossings plus a couple of challenging climbs to negotiate. 2019 highlight: it doesn’t get any better than this – Phoenix clinch both team titles and both individual titles, with a perfect 3000 points victory for Simon Heath

Full list of 2019 Phoenix medallists:

Female Winners: Top 20 Overall Finishers: 1st Rachel Gorman, 4th Amelia Culshaw, 14th Georgia Flowers, 16th Caz Garrett, 18th Alison Moore, 20th Gill Checkley

Age Category Winners   1st Junior Amy Gamblin; 1st Senior Rachel Gorman; 3rd Senior Georgia Flowers; 1st V1 Caz Garrett; 2nd V1 Val Avella; 2nd V3. Amelia Culshaw

Male Winners: Top 20 Overall Finishers: 1st Simon Heath, 8th= Tony Rickwood, 12th= Paul Whelpton, 18th Will Russell

Age Category Winners 1st Senior Simon Heath; 1st V1 Tony Rickwood; 1st =V4 (the perfect finish!) Phil Grabsky and Lance Bellers; 1st V6 Paul Whelpton; 1st V7 Malcolm Kemp; 2nd V7 Andrew Haig

The race programme for 2020 is virtually the same, with just one change - Haywards Heath 10 replacing Hastings 5. Please sign up online for any of the races you can make it to – and ask to join our SGP mailing list!

2019 SGP Results       

2020 Races




Relaxing after Bexhill 5k

Andrew Haig at Crowborough

Tony Paul Simon & Austen

Rachel Gorman

Malcolm Georgia & Alison

Gill Amelia Caz & Georgia