Hardy Joggers tackle gruelling 100-mile relay challenge

The Joggers South Downs 100-mile teams. The first team and (below) the second team completed the tough challenge
The Joggers South Downs 100-mile teams. The first team and (below) the second team completed the tough challenge

Two teams of six Horsham Joggers took on the formidable challenge of the South Downs Relay, a trail run of almost 100 miles following the steep ups and downs of the South Downs Way from Beachy Head to Winchester, on Saturday June 7.

During a day that started with a 4am pick-up and ended with an 11.30pm drop-off back in Horsham, each team member was required to tackle three of 18 stages, which varied between 3.75 and eight miles long.

Horsham Joggers' 2nd Team at the finish of the South Downs 100-mile relay: l to r Paul Aylett (driver), Fiona Clifton, Julie Gallagher, Elisabeth Scott, Maldwyn Thornton, Alan Pettitt, Mark Smee.

Horsham Joggers' 2nd Team at the finish of the South Downs 100-mile relay: l to r Paul Aylett (driver), Fiona Clifton, Julie Gallagher, Elisabeth Scott, Maldwyn Thornton, Alan Pettitt, Mark Smee.

By the end of the day, everyone had covered between 16 and 19 miles on challenging terrain with numerous brutal ascents.

The Joggers’ first team of Tony Johnson (captain), Julia Johnson, Crispin Scott, Catherine Corck, Marianne Bourne and Richard Bourne completed their epic task in 13 hours 50 minutes 44 seconds.

The second team were Mark Smee (captain), Maldwyn Thornton, Alan Pettitt, Julie Gallagher, Elisabeth Scott and Fiona Clifton and their last runner arrived at the finish near Winchester just over an hour later in 14:52:12.

This is only the third year the Joggers have competed in the relay, a prestige event with formidable competition.

The following day, four members of the relay teams joined 19 other Joggers for the eighth West Sussex Fun Run League event of the year, the Hove Park 5k, which was contested by 385 runners in the heat of glorious afternoon sunshine. The four fastest Joggers finished in under 20 minutes, with Vet 50 Pete O’Connell taking a brilliant sixth place, overtaking five runners on the final lap.

Matthew Anstee-Brown was 12th in a new PB of 18:12, with Rob Crocker (19:32) and Mike O’Grady (19:38) completing the sub-20 group. They were followed by first female Jogger home and 10th female overall Val Purnell in 21:34. Kirsty Anstee-Brown (24:15) and Emma Catlow (25:15) also achieved impressive PBs.