Chichester 10K goes down a storm

Ben Noad on his way to victory at the Chichester Priory 10K
Ben Noad on his way to victory at the Chichester Priory 10K
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Strong winds failed to deter a record turnout for the 20th Chichester Priory 10K.

Great Britain international Ben Noad led the way as the Highgate Harriers man shrugged off the gusty conditions to take the title in an exciting race.

He emerged from a group of 11 athletes at the head of the field to take the 2011 title with a time of 30min 04sec.

And Liz Yelling added the class to the women’s field as she continued her build-up for the London Marathon.

The Bedford & County ace clocked a time of 34.04 to comfortably fend off the challenge of Arena 80’s Caroline Hoyte (34.45).

It was at the front of the men’s field that the drama unfolded, however.

The quality entries at the top end used all of their experience to push each other along as they formed a pack to take on the wind.

Gusts reached up to 27mph, slowing the times on what is usually a fast, flat course.

It was Noad who topped the record 1,630 finishers, though, with New Zealander Paul Martelletti taking second place in a blanket finish.

Martelletti was given second spot despite Southend-on-Sea runner Adam Hickey clocking the same 30.16 time.

Bristol & West’s Michael Johnson was fourth, just a second behind the pair.

How close and exciting the finale proved to be could be seen with Herne Hill Harrier Christopher Busaileh fifth, despite also registering a time of 30.17.

Thousands of people braved the conditions to lend support to athletes.

Race referee Graham Jessop was impressed with both the quality of the performances, despite the weather, and the smooth running of another fine event.

He said: ‘It was a bit hectic and the winds were strong at times.

‘But the performances were still impressive and we have a lot of runners who still managed to get around that magic 30-minute mark.

‘It was a special race this year, being our 20th anniversary, and we had our highest number of finishers, which can’t be bad.

‘Ben’s winning time was very creditable and Liz will have been relatively pleased with her performance at this stage of the season.

‘James Baker normally wins all of the local races and he finished 17th. That shows you how strong the field was.

‘It was good for us that the race was an interesting spectacle, too.’

Despite the Chichester Priory 10K being well established and respected on the running circuit, organisers will still be looking to develop its reputation.

Jessop said: ‘This was a big year for us, being our 20th year. We will definitely be back for a 21st.’