After high winds on November 20 led to the cancellation of the Brighton 10k, the 2016 Harvey Curtis Sussex Road Race Challenge (SRRC) was forced to conclude after five races rather than the intended six.
This meant Kevin Rojas (Brighton & Hove AC) was crowned champion for the third year in a row with a total of six points from his three qualifying races, finishing three points ahead of second-placed Paul Navesey (Crawley AC). The ever-improving James Westlake (Crawley AC) finished third on 13 points.
The cancellation of the Brighton 10k was disappointing for all concerned, not least Howard Bristow (Brighton), who, needing to complete one more race to qualify for an overall position, was poised on just four points. The hotly anticipated showdown between these four fast training partners will have to wait until next year.
Rojas’s hat-trick of SRRC titles rounded out an excellent year for the 35-year-old, who represented England in October at the Toronto Marathon, where he finished ninth despite warm conditions in an excellent 2hrs 24mins.
In the women’s contest, it was SRRC title number two for Rebecca Moore (Chichester AC), who won two of her three qualifying races, and whose lead was thus unassailable after Race 4, the Phoenix 10k, where she sped away from her rivals to clock a swift 34:30. Izzy Coomber (Lewes AC) took second place overall, finishing four points behind Moore and just one point ahead of third-placed Sue Fry (Hailsham Harriers).
In the battle among the over-40s, it was Mike Ellicock (Lewes) and Sue Fry who took the Masters titles. Ellicock finished just one point ahead of team-mate Lewis Sida in second, while Fry was five points clear of runner-up Katherine O’Hara.
The team contest was won by Arena 80 AC, whose excellent women’s squad provided the necessary strength in depth to finish two points clear of Brighton & Hove City AC. In third place were last year’s champions Lewes AC.
The prize-giving took place on Sunday, November 27, at the Crowborough 10k, each champion picking up £300 cash and the SRRC perpetual trophy.
The 2017 SRRC begins with the Chichester 10k on February 5.
Matt Bradford (Lewes) one of the organisers of the SRRC was involved in a tense battle with a couple of Tonbridge athletes at the Crowborough 10k on Sunday which is probably the toughest 10k to be held in the County.
It is particularly tough on the knees with a long, steep, downhill start followed by an equally tough long climb back to the finish and many leading Sussex athletes choose to give the event a miss.
Bradford’s battle was eventually decided in his favour as he proved the stronger on the final climb and reached the finish just ten metres clear of Julian Rendall (Tonbridge) and his club mate Daniel Bradley clocking 34:22 to 34:24 and 34:29 respectively.
Daniel Skinner (Haywards Heath) filled fourth place in 35:00 and Alan Silvester (Arena 80) fifth in 35:32 while the first woman to finish was Maria Heslop from Paddock Wood who finished 16th overall in 38:46.
Hailsham’s Sue Fry (33rd) and Alissa Ellis (43rd) took the silver and bronze medals in the womens event in 40:29 and 41:47 respectively.