A well supported Inter-County race was incorporated into the Brighton & Hove City 10km road race on Sunday which proved successful for Sussex.
For this, the inaugural year there were 8 county teams who accepted the invitation to take part including ourselves here in Sussex, plus a non-scoring B team from Sussex, so 9 teams in total but only 8 of these scoring in the match. Counties taking part being Sussex, Essex, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent.
Teams comprised 4 male and 4 female athletes from which the first 3 to cross the finish line score. All awards were based on finish times rather than places and we had 5 trophies in total, these being for first individual male and female along with first male team, female team and first mixed team. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to all 4 athletes in each team and hence 8 athletes in the mixed teams.
Sussex’s Adam Clarke won both the inter counties race and the Open race with a time of 30:24, some 20 seconds ahead of Ross Skelton, also from Sussex. Third place went to Jonny Roberts from Hampshire just 3 seconds back with Phillip Sewell (Hampshire), Archie Davies (Sussex) and Alex Pointon (Hampshire) completing the top 6 in the inter counties race and in fact the top 7 in the race as a whole, all of whom recorded sub 31-minute finish times. Clearly it can be seen that the inter county team race was a close fought battle between Sussex and Hampshire with the first 6 places being taken by just those two counties, the result being a narrow victory of just 30 seconds for Sussex in 1:32:03. There was an equally tight battle for the bronze medals between Essex and Surrey where Essex just pipped Surrey by 40 seconds in 1:36:18 cumulative times. It must be said though that Sussex made the most of home advantage where their B team, had they been able to score in the race, would have squeezed into 3rd place, just 23 secs ahead of Essex.
As for the women’s race, Beth Kidger from Sussex mirrored the achievements of Adam Clarke in winning the race outright with an excellent time of 34:30, in her case however the winning margin being some 41 seconds over 2nd placed Liz Davies (35:11) from Essex with Victoria Pritchard (Hertfordshire) 3rd in 35:39. Rachel Sweatt and Rachel Wiseman, both from Essex were 4th and 5th over the line in 36:03 and 36:24 respectively resulting in Essex winning the ladies team race, albeit by just over 30 seconds from Sussex in 1:48:02 with Caroline Hoyte in 9th and Emily Proto in 11th with times of 36:40 and 37:00 respectively for second team spot in 1:48:31. Surrey ladies coming home 3rd with 1:50:15 while a tight battle between Kent and Hampshire for 4th and 5th with just 1 second splitting them on gun times or 5 seconds on chip time.
The ‘main event’ of the day was the mixed team race and this was again a close battle, particularly for the silver and bronze medals but as for the gold, Sussex came out on top in 3:20:33, almost 4 minutes ahead of Essex who totalled 3:24:20 and in turn were just 34 seconds ahead of 3rd placed Hampshire 3:24:54. Non-scoring Sussex B would have placed 4th but that went to Surrey with Kent 5th. Hertfordshire with Berkshire only 38 secs further back followed by Suffolk.