The 9th Super Series race – Arena 80 Hill Run Champs
After last year’s successful trial run this was added to the 2017 Super Series challenge. Not one for the faint hearted, strong belief as well as a strong heart were needed to take on this 13k hill run from Devils Dyke down to the Steyning Road and back.
Last year the weather was very damp and so foggy that you could hardly see the runner in front of you so we hoped for more clement weather this time. Alas it wasn’t the summer evening we had hoped for this year either as there was a force 9 gale up on the high ground (although it got slightly calmer the lower you went).
There were 24 runners in the race and it was a high-class affair to say the least. Of the four winners last year, Al Silvester 1st M (57.07), Katherine O’Hara 1st F (62.39), Caroline Wood 1st F40 (68.01) & Kevin Price 1st M40 (62.29), there was only one defending their title in the form of Katherine O’Hara. It was a very difficult call as to who would be this year’s champions.
The runners started at 30 seconds intervals, similar to a handicap race, with the fastest runners setting off last. At the halfway point the first runner to touch the gate was Michael Miller followed very closely by Jenny Hughes. From that point on they came in thick and fast and it was hard to say who would come out triumphant at the end as there didn’t seem to be a lot between them. Of course that was the easy part of the race as it was all downhill and the conditions were a little more favourable to the runners. Only three runners took on water as time was everything to them.
Oh how it all changed after the gate turn! There is a looooong path going uphill, which for those that know this route or have run it, just seems to go on forever and really starts taking it out of you until you hit the road.
The marshals waited patiently at the finish, just about able to remain upright as the wind whipped up around them. The first runner came into sight and it turned out to be the very in form Richard Clayton. This boy really is on a mission this year and to attack the course is the only way he knows how to race at present. Last man out and first man home in a course record of 54.36, smashing Al’s time of 57.07 from 2016.
One by one the rest of the runners came through but it was difficult to know who won what due to the 30 seconds intervals between start times. The first lady to finish was the lover of all things hills, Emily Hutchinson in a time of 60.40, taking the fastest lady time previously set by Katherine in 2016 (62.39). The first M40 went to Andrew Bargery in 59.53, beating Kevin Price’s 62.29 set in 2016. 1st F40 went to the in form Dani Tarleton in 61.50 beating Caroline Wood’s time of 68.01 set in 2016. I don’t know how these runners managed it but they all came in so strongly at the finish and are greatly applauded for the effort they put into this race. Well done to each and every one that took part in this year’s hill champs race and we can now look forward to even more of the Areneez taking part in next year’s race. The full race results can be found here: http://arena80.co.uk/results-2017/
Our thanks as always to all the volunteers that helped to make this race go ahead. We really couldn’t put these events on for you without their help and support.
Photos can be seen here courtesy of Colin Hannant.; Here
The next Super Series race is the very popular Adur Challenge on Thursday 17th August. A 10k run up and down the banks of the Adur. Details to follow in due course.
All the Super Series races can be found here; http://arena80.co.uk/super-series/