Record turnout for Round Hill Romp

The Round Hill Romp gets underway in Steyning High Street
The Round Hill Romp gets underway in Steyning High Street

A RECORD number of runners took part in Steyning Athletic Club’s annual Round Hill Romp race last Wednesday.

The six-mile trail race, which is part of the West Sussex Fun Run League, took place on a hot and sticky evening and was won by Bognor Regis Tone Zone’s Simon Gill in 35min 34sec.

The Round Hill Romp gets underway

The Round Hill Romp gets underway

The event was back to its original course, which went through Wiston House, and 540 runners completed the course – the first time the event had exceeded 500 runners.

The race started at the Clock Tower in Steyning High Street and then headed west through the grounds of Wiston House.

After a challenging climb up to the South Downs Way through Chalkpit Wood, competitors ran along Round Hill and then came down down via the Upper Horseshoe to finish on Steyning Memorial Field.

Gill was delighted to win and said: “It was really tough and was warm straight away, particularly running on the road as the heat was bouncing off, so it was really hard. It’s a really tough course. It’s fine when you get to about three miles and have got up the top of the hill but then you’re a bit exposed and it was pretty sunny up there but there were lots of water stations.

“I kept thinking the guy in second was getting me up the hill and I ran the whole race thinking I could hear him behind you. Because it’s so rough underfoot, you can’t really turn around to have a look, so it was just head down and keep going.

“I’d never run this before, so I didn’t know how long it was or what to expect. It was very hot, so it wasn’t going to be a really quick time but I enjoyed it.”

He finished 55 seconds ahead of runner-up, Ewan Dunlop, of Steyning, who got home in 36-29, ten seconds before Worthing Harriers’ Jack Leitch.

The winner of the ladies’ race was Arena 80’s Tara Shanahan, who finished in 44-19. Claire Miles was the runner-up in 44-54, with Sally Norris third in 45-18.

Shanahan said: “It was unbelievably tough. It was really hot and that hill was just ridiculous.

“This was the second time I’ve done the race. I was leading until the hill and then I had to walk up it and was over-taken by two women but I over-took them again on the straight. All these runners were then over-taking me and I was just praying that none of them were female.”

Race director Ollie Beaney said: “It was a record turnout and it’s been a really good race. We went back to the old course which went through Wiston House, after we changed a couple of years ago. This year, Wiston House and the management were kind enough to let us go back through the grounds.

“It’s been a great race. Personally, I’ve had awesome support from all the volunteers and marshalls and I can’t thank them enough.

“It’s a tough course and there’s no lying about how tough it is. It’s been an incredibly hot evening but we had an excellent first place time and the event has gone brilliantly. I’m looking forward to trying to top it next year.”

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