By Kelly Wickham
Thousands of keen runners took part in the 29th Chichester Priory 10k race on Sunday.
The annual run, organised by the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory, returned again to the Goodwood motor racing circuit.
The high standard and depth in quality of the race over previous years resulted in another good turnout of elite, club and recreational runners, who enjoyed an event which is one of the most popular and prestigious in the south of England and an integral part of the English road running calendar.
The runners were an extremely impressive sight as more than 1,500 streamed away from the Goodwood circuit and along Claypit Lane towards Chichester, running on public roads for the first 6.5 k.
They passed the entrance to the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars assembly plant, along Madgwick Lane to the historic Stane Street, through Strettington and back along New Road – finishing with a complete lap of the the motor circuit.
A spokesman said: “On paper, this was one of the strongest male fields ever assembled for Chichester. The race set off at a cracking pace and the expectation of something special in 2020 was soon realised.
“From an early stage, the top runners meant business and there was a queue of some 40 to 50 runners heading the main field.”
As the runners entered Stane Street, a group of at least ten runners started to pull away and this included Nick Goolab (Belgrave), Charlie Hulson (Liverpool), Ross Skelton (Hastings AC), Owen Hind (Kent AC), Ben Bradley and Andy Vernon (both Aldershot, Farnham and district), Jonathan Roberts (Southampton), Alex Milne (Hercules Wimbledon), James Bellward (RAF) and Jake Shelley (Shaftesbury Barnet).
Goolab was always near the front but behind the leaders kept changing until around the 5k mark when he managed to start creating a gap from the other front runners.
As the race unfolded, he moved further ahead and as they re-entered the racing circuit the chasing group was down to five including Shelley, Hind, Hulson, Bradley and Skelton.
Goolab continue to forge ahead but being out on his own and against the wind he found the last bit tough. Nevertheless, he was very pleased with his time of 29.01, which is a new course record and the fastest time in 29 Chichester 10Ks, beating Peter Riley’s 2007 time of 29.02.
The chasing group continued to battle it out around the racing circuit for the next 3 kilometres, with Ben Bradley eventually taking the silver medal and Owen Hind the bronze.
Once again, the 2020 Chichester 10K is one of three qualifying opportunities for the ‘Age Groups Masters England 10k Championships’ and the leading athletes at Goodwood will don a specially designed England Masters vest at the Great Birmingham 10k in May.
The women’s race was also a very competitive affair, with a number of the pre-race favourites acquitting themselves well and battling it out for the podium places.
As with the men’s race, there was a group of women together in the early stages of the race.
As the race unfolded, it became clear that the winner would come from a group of four, which included Dani Nimmock and Sarah Astin (both City of Norwich AC), Laura Brenton (Southampton AC) and Naomi Mitchell (Reading AC).
For a number of kilometres, this group kept challenging each other until some point after half-way when Nimmock was able to make the break and the gap kept growing, especially as she wound her way around the circuit.
The competition for second place continued right up to the finish line, eventually going to Astin, with Brenton third and Mitchell fourth, with only six seconds between them.
For a full list of results, visit: chichester10k.com