Martin Read – Sports Reporter

In perfect conditions Horsham’s Neil Boniface led home a strong field in Horsham’s 10km race, starting and finishing at Horsham Rugby Club. Third time winner Neil completed in 34 minutes four seconds, saying: “Not my fastest time – I’m a bit tired after running in the 5 km County Championship at Hove yesterday! But I always like to do this race, its local.” Sue Fry of Hailsham was the fastest lady in 38.50, telling the District Post: “My fourth run here, I won it for the ladies two years ago. It was so hot last year but today there was a refreshing breeze.”

The outstanding multi-terrain course has two laps, mainly on quiet open roads, including country lanes and a woodland bridleway stretch. Ahead of the main event there was a 1200 metre run around the rugby pitch for under 16 year olds, won by Nathan Buckeridge (13) one of the contingent from Haywards Heath Harriers, setting the standard for mum Katherine, about to run in her third Horsham 10K. The first girl in the junior race was 12 year old Isobel Russell, also from Haywards Heath who said: “I did it last year – it’s not too bad!”

Paul Aylett, Race Director again, told us: “As well as our local runners we’ve got entrants from as far afield as Portsmouth and Eastbourne. This year for the first time we had to disappoint latecomers. We’ve got over 100 people here organising – about 70 marshals and a large group from Horsham Lions dealing with administration.” John Parish of the Lions added: “I hate turning people away but 500 runners is our limit. We had 23 spaces left on the day but they all went in 15 minutes, it’s such a popular event.” The on course marshals were backed up with counterparts at the rugby ground, like Ian Wilcox who ran the all important water station.

Every runner received a race memento, with prizes awarded in the various categories, and all were chip-timed. For the first time there were balloon carrying pacemakers for those looking to run in a specific time. Emma Catlow – whose husband Mike was marshalling this year, taking a breather from running – has already completed several half marathons this season and is in training for Iron Man events, explaining: “My balloon displays number 55 so any competitor wanting to finish in 55 minutes can just follow me!” Emma smiled her way round the course shepherding her followers to the finish in almost exactly the designated time, confirming: “I love this race – it’s so friendly!”

Race profits are donated to Horsham Joggers and Horsham Lions Club nominated charities. Fun runners included two brothers from Horsham Football club – Doctor Neil Clarke and Dave Clarke both achieved PBs, Neil saying: “I’ve been running for a couple of years and I’m getting quicker!” while Dave, proudly wearing his HFC shirt, summed up: “Neil got me running – the last two hills were a bit tough, but this is a lovely event!”

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