Navesey wins at a canter; Turner and Shanahan can’t be separated

2019 end-of-season report by Matt Bradford

The 2019 Run Store Sussex Road Race Challenge (SRRC) concluded, as is tradition, at the Brighton 10k on 17th November. Conditions were pretty much perfect and quick times were expected.

2019 SRRC champion Paul Navesey

Going into the race, in the men’s contest, it was the deadly AB Training Group duo Paul Navesey (Crawley AC) and Ben Savill (Lewes AC) who were able to shake things up for podium places, neither having yet completed the required three races. Sadly, Savill was unable to make the start line, so it was a relatively simple task for Navesey, requiring only a stroll around, by his standards, to clinch the title. The 2.17 marathoner is a very worthy winner, given the phenomenal year he has had.

James Turner (Brighton & Hove AC), like Savill, also nervously sat out the last race, but as it turned out his previous tally meant he held on for second place in the series.

Improving on his fourth place from last year and making the podium for the first time was James Skinner (Haywards Heath Harriers). Skinner competed in every race of the series and was also the Masters winner for 2019.

In the women’s competition, Tara Shanahan (Arena 80) and Elspeth Turner (Horsham Blue Star Harriers) were the series front-runners coming into the last race. Both had seven points from previous races and could only be beaten by Caroline Hoyte (Arena 80). Everything was to play for!

Unfortunately, we were denied the head-to-head battle the fans were hoping for, as Elspeth did not race at Brighton. Hoyte was on start line but dropped out at halfway with an injury niggle. Shanahan started and finished but was unable to improve her overall points tally. This all meant that Shanahan and Turner both finished on seven points and couldn’t be separated by countback (counting back their head-to-head record), so will share the 2019 overall and Masters titles.

2018 champion Maisie Trafford (Arena 80) fought to defend her title but was scuppered by an ‘off’ day at Barns Green, and so took third place overall.

This was the first year of Run Store headline sponsorship of the series, and we thank Kurt Hoyte and his team for their generous support. We will be in touch soon to confirm the races for the 2020 series.

Photos: Alex Begley