Children raced round Slinfold cricket ground in an aperitif for the memorial race, brother and sister Sam and Maisie Ayling leading home an enthusiastic horde of boys and girls, Sam saying: “It was exhausting but well worth it!” and Maisie added: “I am a runner but this is my first race here and it was tiring!”
Then, 113 adults were given a noisy send off on the five mile memorial run by a barn full of gobbling turkeys. A steep hill beckoned and then it was single file across undulating farm land. Simon Manning from South London Harriers was the men’s winner in 29 minutes 59 seconds, saying: “This was my third attempt; I was runner up last year so it was great to win!” Horsham Joggers’ Lucinda Potten was the first lady finisher in 34.32, one second short of the record previously broken by her, telling us: “I’m coming back from injury, so it was tough but the conditions were excellent.” The route was well known to Roffey cricketer Alex Collins – it took him through the family farm but that did not make it any easier, Alex commenting: “I’m no runner so that was really hard work!”
Slinfold Cubs served tea and cakes in the marquee to raise funds for their forthcoming winter camp at Colgate before the range of prizes were presented by local resident, twinkle-eyed Diddy David Hamilton.
Alf Shrubb was born in Slinfold in 1879, living in Hayes Lane and became an astonishing middle and long distance runner, virtually unbeatable over any distance up to 15 miles, setting 28 world records. In a letter to memorial race organiser Cliff Comber, Sir Roger Bannister, the first four minute miler, wrote: “As a young athlete I read advice from earlier athletes, including Alfred Shrubb – he was a great runner, ahead of his time in many ways.” Cliff said: “A film of Alf Shrubb’s exploits is being prepared and there ought to be a local street named after him – there is one in Canada, to where he retired.” He continued: “Incredibly David Hamilton has hosted a combined total of over 13000 shows on TV and radio and we’re delighted to have him here,” David interjected: “Yes, I’m the only Radio 1 DJ not to have been arrested or sacked!” before Cliff told everybody: “David is currently on the road with his show ‘Rock and Roll Back the Years’”
Proceeds from the races will be donated to the Chestnut Tree Children’s Hospice and the Ambitious about Autism charity.
Full results are available at www.sussexraces.co.uk