Thousands of pounds was raised for charity on Sunday morning when more than 2,000 runners took part in the annual Worthing 10k.
It is thought around £50,000 will be netted for various charities from the race, which started with 2,057 runners along Worthing promenade.
The out-and-back route had a westerly turn point at Goring Gap and was won by Brighton Phoenix’s Jon Pepper in 32min 28sec – six seconds ahead of Brighton & Hove’s Kevin Rojas. Haywards Heath Harriers’ Glenn Driver was third in 33-52.
The first lady home was Havering’s Faye Fullerton in 35-38, ahead of Worthing & District Harriers’ Helen Buller (37-36) and Arena 80’s Caroline Hoyte (37-47).
Hundreds of runners took part to raise money for charity, with large teams representing St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House, while numerous club runners were also racing on a hot, sunny morning.
There was the incentive of a £500 cash prize for the first male and first female to go under 30 and 34 minutes respectively. Despite being on course to go under 34 at the halfway stage, Fullerton said she hit the wall on the last 5k – although the race was just her third since tearing a calf muscle two months ago.
Pepper, 28, admitted he was not targeting the sub-30 minute time this year: “It’s pleasing to win. I just wanted to sit in and see how it went rather than race against the clock. I sat in behind Kevin, who ended up second, and was feeling quite good at 5k and got a bit of a gap straight after the turn. I was going to try to push it and increase the gap but I wasn’t chasing a time and thought I’d hold the gap as it was quite hard with the heat. I wasn’t going to get anywhere near 30 today.
“At my best form ever, I’ve run under 30 a few times but it has to be ideal conditions and it wasn’t really about that today. It was just about enjoying the race and I was really impressed with the course. I hadn’t won a 10k for ages, I always seem to come second. I’ve been second in Chichester twice and second in Brighton, so maybe Worthing is my seaside town and I should come back and try to defend my title.”
Fullerton admitted her sights were on achieving a sub-34 minute time prior to the race but said: “I was looking at it at first but I think it was just too much to ask for a 40 second improvement from Monday when I ran a 10k.
“I love racing and when there’s girls in there and I’m racing them, I get more competitive. But when I got to 5k, I just sort of hit a wall. I got fatigue and my legs were heavy for the last 5k, so it was just a case of lumbering along and getting across the line.”
On the course, she said: “It’s a beautiful course and really nice by the sea but I’m not very good with out and back. I find it a bit of a struggle mentally when you get to 5k and you know what you’ve run and what you’ve got again on the way back.
“But it’s a fast course and I’ll come back maybe another year when I’m properly fit to try to get sub-34.”
Co-race director Gavin Stephens was delighted with how the event went and said: “We were blessed with the warm weather again like last year, which was fantastic.
“Everyone felt it, even at the front end, and they were probably 30 seconds to a minute down on their normal times because it was so hot and tough.”
With a number of runners racing for charity, Stephens added: “We reckon in the region of £50,000 will be raised for charity from the event. It’s getting bigger each year and there’s been so many people who have come out to support it. Worthing is embracing it, the crowds are much bigger and all the runners have been getting roared home. It’s been a fantastic day for everyone.”
The event is set to get bigger in the future and Stephens said: “The interest in running is booming, so I think 4,000 people could want to do this next year. We had to close entries three weeks before the event this year, so we’ll evaluate and see whether we can grow safely by a few next year.
“We might have to change a bit of the infrastructure but the interest is there.”
For runners who want to up the distance they run, Runbase – who organised the Worthing 10k with Worthing Harriers – are hosting the Bright10, a ten-mile race on October 16. For more information, visit www.bright10.co.uk
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