Harriers put in a marathon effort to conquer the South Downs

The Gade Valley Harrierstackled the South Downs Marathon Relay
The Gade Valley Harrierstackled the South Downs Marathon Relay

The big club outing for the Gade Valley Harriers this weekend was at the South Downs Marathon Relay, in the rolling hills of West Sussex and Hampshire.

The 26.2-mile trail run route starts in Slindon College, West Sussex and works its way across the beautiful chalk hills of the South Down National Park, before finishing at Queen Elizabeth Park in Hampshire.

The Marathon Relay is split into four legs and Gade Valley put six teams forward this year.

Team Wookie, comprising Steve Newing, Dylan Wendleken, Paul Rumble and Dave Wise came home first for the Harriers in a combined time of 3:17:45, in eighth team place overall out of 89 teams.

Following Team Wookie were the ladies’ team The Curry House Kleptomaniacs, who returned to the South Downs to pick up third overall ladies’ team prize.

The Kleptomaniacs were made up of Gemma Bitaraf, Claire McDonnell, Victoria Crawley and Laura Sharma, who was running in her first ever trail race. The team came back in 3:39:37.

Next home for the Harriers were Boys and Girls Go Downs – the team name of Russ Bailey, Paula Cook, Anita Berwick and Mikey Ferris who completed the tough course in 3:44:26.

The Mighty Silverbacks finished in 31st overall place, in a combined time of 3:46:29, as Tom North ran two legs of the race and had club chairman Andy Newing and Martin Storrie as team-mates.

Next were The Hairy Tortoises – husband and wife teams Andy and Helen Terry, and Dean and Joanna Kidd, who finished in 4:13:12.

Bringing up the rear were Paul Mosely, with Peter and Sam Tucker (who ran two legs) under the team name Gade Valley Rockets, in a combined time of 4:42:44.

Following a Gade Valley tradition, Sam crossed the finishing line carrying The Big Gade Bear – a large teddy bear wearing a Gade Valley vest.

Also at the South Downs was Harrier Andy Norton, who ran the whole marathon course. Andy braved the intense heat and demanding route to complete in a very respectable 4:52:31.