Two years ago it was fourth place, last year 3rd place and this year the Phoenix men’s M40 team went one better to win the silver medals for second place in the Sussex Masters x-country championship.
The race was held at Lancing Manor over 5.8 miles, comprising two small and two large laps, resulting in two long climbs up to the dew pond. Conditions were good under foot and the rain stayed away but there was a strong gusting winds making climbing the hill even harder.
Phoenix managed to field 14 runners in total in the three age groups, who all started together in the one race with age groups separated in the results.
The M40 team were led home by Darren Elliott who ran a controlled race working through the field with a strong effort up the final hill, flying down the long descent home to finish in a magnificent age group 9th place. He was followed by Bruce Warren(12th) and Andy Bone(15th) with John Marinko(19th) completing the silver medal winning team. They were backed up by Lance Bellers(23rd) Stuart Pal(26th) Andy Chapman (32nd) and Rolland Harrington(33rd) who bought the B team home in 8th place and greatly contributed to the A team's silver by helping to reduce other teams points. With Bruce and Andy struggling with injury and John not running much recently (his own account) the team did not expect to medal, therefore the unexpected medals are testimony to the fact that if you turn up there is no telling what can happen on the day.
The M50 team were unfortunate not to be able to field Phil Hampshire who was injured on race day (a medal had been a distinct possibility) but they were led home by Malcolm Hughes who had a strong run to finish in 10th, closely followed by Brian Friend (12th) with Colin Simpson(38th) and Vimutka Thurlow(40th) bringing the team home in 5th place.
The M60 age group finished one short of a team (Rik Taub having to retire at the start of the second lap) so could not repeat last years medal winning performance. Both Terry Avery(5th) and Andrew Haig(11th) ran well but the over 60s will now be re-grouping for the road relays at easter
Well done to all those who turned out to represent the club. Will it be one better again next year for the M40 team?