By Hilary Humphrey
Seaford Striders’ latest participation in the Sussex Grand Prix have seen them travel across the border into West Sussex for the Horsham 10K on 20 May and almost as far as the Kent border for the Rye 10 miler on 28 May.
Starting at Horsham Rugby Club, the 10k route takes in a circuit of the hallowed turf followed by two laps of a route on road, lane and bridleway. This meant the pleasure of the energy sapping hill back to the Club could be savoured twice and it certainly proved testing the second time around, although the excellent spectator support on the hill made it worthwhile.
First of eight Striders present and in full flight at Horsham was Simon Fletcher, who crossed the line in 6th position, in a time of 37:29, ensuring that he won his age category. He was followed by the ever-reliable Ed Tuckley in a time of 39:02 and Luke Borland in 40:33.
There was strength in the middle order with Josh Nisbett 42:35; Ben Shorer, 45:30 and Peter Weeks 49:00. The honour of first female Strider to cross the line went to Kristiane Sherry in a excellent time of 51:48 with notable times also being recorded by Anna Norman in 52:20 and Claire Keith in 54:48.
One week later it was time for another challenge, in the form of a 10-mile road race, the only one of its length in Sussex; covering the quiet twisting country lanes, which undulate through stunning countryside outside Rye. After completing the looped section of the course and pushing through all those climbs, with barely any flat to recover and get back into a comfy stride; the runners headed back, with a nice downhill stretch that they had climbed at the start, to be welcomed by all the spectators at the finish line.
The first strider home was once again the unstoppable Simon Fletcher coming in 4th in an outstanding time of 01:02:45, ensuring yet another first in his age category. Another excellent performance by Gareth Hutchinson saw him finish 11th in 01:05:26, with Josh Rudd finishing off his usually fast pace, to finish in what for him will be a disappointing 01:29:09.