Harriers men reach lofty heights as Tom leads them home at Lancing

Haywards Heath Harriers will compete for the first time in Division 1 of the Sussex Cross Coutry League after finishing runners up to Lewes.

The local runners consolidated their second placing in the league by filling that position in the fourth and final meeting of the season on Saturday.

The hilly 5-miler at Lancing Manor can be a real test but good conditions underfoot evened out the gradients.

First Harrier home was Tom Mullen in 24th in 30mins 40secs and good packing behind ensured Harriers their promotion place.

Paul Cousins was 43rd in 32.37, Richard Sutor, in his league debut, 47th in 33.01 and the ever-improving Barry Tullett 53rd in 33.29. Outside the scoring places were Tim Hicks 76th, Julian Boyer 87th and Steve Horn 113th.

Cousins went one better than his bronze in the Masters Championship last month as his consistency over the season was rewarded with league silver in the V50 category. He was also second in that class on the day.

Harriers ladies also had a team in the 5k race at Lancing, where Michelle Pearce was 54th, Linda Tullett 62nd, Michelle Holdstock 63rd and Jenny Denyer 66th. Thsat earned them eighth out of 14 teams on the day and left them 11th for the season.

The first spring Sussex marathon is the Steyning Stinger Marathon and this year Julie Essex completed the 26.83 miles in an excellent 5hrs 13mins.

The course directions left a little to be desired and led to some extra wear and tear on competitors’ footwear.

The longer endurance events are now starting to pick up, with Harriers travelling far and wide.

At the Spitfire 20-miler at Dunsfold Airfield, Mike Scholes was 51st and a superb second in age group with a chip time of 2.19.55. In the same race Debbie Day was pleased with her 2.57.07.

A crop of Harriers were at the Eastbourne Half Marathon, where more than 1500 runners competed on a bitterly cold Sunday morning.

This race includes a gruelling climb towards Beachy Head and this time a long run into a strong easterly wind.

A trio of Harriers finished in the top 30. Mark Davies was 24th in 1.26.53, Phil Payne 26th in 1.27.04 and Steve Dallman 28th in 1.29.41.

They were followed by Jason Russell 50th in 1.29.41, Ben Adams 1.37.30, Dave Kirby 1.39.11, Stuart Austin 1.40.00, Abbey Fisell 1.42.24 (1st lady), Peter Cobbett 1.56.10, Mims Davies 2.22.15 and Matthew Lagden 2.28.20.

Further afield, Hoss Davies recorded a brilliant new pb of 2.06.15 for the Bath Half Marathon.

The younger section of the club distinguished themselves in the final Sports Hall League match of the season as the boys finished third and the girls fourth.

That result delighted their committed coach Linda Tullett. Full results at www.HaywardsHeathHarriers.co.uk