A Grand affair
The Sussex Grand Prix is a series of 10 races held annually across Sussex. Runners compete for individual and team points, with every race counting. This year, Phoenix athletes have again shown their commitment to this league.
A special mention to Amelia Culshaw (1st V3 woman & Individual winner), Ella Grabsky, Charlotte Mathews, Connie Jankowski (1st, 2nd, 3rd Junior women), Caroline Garrett (3rd V2), Ash Dorrington (1st Senior man & individual winner), Matt Greenall (2nd V1), Steve Selby (2nd v2), Paul Wishart, Lance Bellers, Phil Grabsky (1st, 2nd, 3rd V3), Paul Whelpton 91st V6), Malcolm Kemp, Andrew Haig (1st & 2nd V7). This medal haul places Phoenix second in the league. As this is an individual and team event it is a fantastic way to be a part of a team, with every runner contributing at every race. But don’t just take my word it.....
“This is not a very considered piece just the first memories that come to mind. I really love the SGP and while I have missed running more this year the ones I have done I have really enjoyed. The country lanes of Horsham and Heathfield are a treat and I thoroughly enjoy the massed ranks of the Phoenix team plus my own individual battles - this year I beat two or three fellow V50-60 year old for the first time - and that's fun & satisfying. Perhaps my favourite this year has been Horsham as my daughter Ella ran so well and for me the Lewes Downland which is such a great route and race - with plenty of pacing issues and varied terrain to navigate - and I got up that big hill for the first time without stopping (though walked it just as quickly behind me!)... Just as much fun is pouring over Paul Whelpton's stats which he sends out so quickly after the race...” Phil Grabsky
“For me the camaraderie , the team spirit and that it’s really sociable - plus who can resist Pauls infectious enthusiasm !! Bewl 15 is my favourite race: Beautiful, bagpipes and beer afterwards - what’s not to love!!” Amelie Culshaw
“Well not sure I’ve made a very good go of doing it this year compared to last year. I loved the ability to contribute to the team effort despite being one of the slowest runners in the club. This in turn really helped me feel I was a legitimate club member and I enjoyed the camaraderie, the spirit of competition and got to know my club mates that bit more. Sadly I don’t seem to have maintained the momentum this year. Could do better! Favourite race: “Any where the weather is pleasant and I manage to survive. I clearly need a bit of coaxing and encouragement. That and a bit more training might help. Paul’s prompt crunching of the numbers is inspirational.” Jude Mathews
“Ok, so I haven’t done it this year but this is why I did do it and hope to again. When I joined the Club in 2003 the then chairperson told me to do these races. They are quality events, local and varied and provide great competition across the ages. Lewes 10 mile is my favourite because I like the distance and prefer a challenging off-road terrain. The series can provide a great opportunity to race for our Club and all scores count for our club.” Liz Halliday
“I do SGP because it's a great way to get to know everyone within Phoenix as well as keep up my running and motivation when I know there's always a race coming up. It's also nice to know that even if I'm not the fastest my points still contribute! My favourite race is the Hastings Half. There's always amazing crowd support and I enjoy the route even if it's hilly!” Hannah Felton
“I like the variety of the SGP races as it offers a real test of a runner's range and ability to adapt - from speedy 5 miles along Hasting Prom to the 15 mile undulating trail running of Bewl. I think the series could go further and have a 5k and/or even a proper XC race to really mix it up, but that would be being picky! I also enjoy the season long battles you get with the same competitors (whether they're from other clubs or your PHX team mates) Last but not least it offers a great opportunity to meet and stay in touch with other PHX runners that are outside your normal training groups. Really important for club! Favourite race has to be Bewl 15 for its scenery and trails but I really enjoyed Heathfield 10k for the fact it was hard descent for first 5k followed by a brutal ascent for the second 5k which really splits the field.” Ash Dorrington
“This was the first year that I've taken part in the SGP, mainly inspired by Paul Whelpton's brilliant emails from last year. It's been a fun experience, I definitely plan to do it again next year. My favourite race: difficult to choose. Bewl was beautiful but brutal, Lewes 10 had stunning scenery throughout, Horsham and Heathfield were good days out too. The Phoenix 10k was a fun evening with a huge turnout, coinciding with the World Cup semi-final (pity about the result). The best bit about taking part has been the camaraderie, regardless of how fast or slow you are everyone is treated the same, part of the team. We've been one of the biggest clubs at most of the races I've attended, I think because everyone is so welcoming and friendly.” Pete Goodman
“Things I love about the Sussex Grand Prix: being part of a Phoenix team that includes both men and women and a big mix of ages and abilities; the range of races of varying distances and terrain; the banter (and of course the competition) with the familiar rivals from other clubs that you come up against regularly. Hard to pick one favourite race as it's the variety that I like, but Heathfield 10k has a ridiculously long uphill finish and I like the challenge of that. I would like to see all the local clubs,and more elite runners, participating fully in the SGP, and we are doing our best to help bring in changes that will make it an even better and more inclusive competition.” Paul Whelpton
“As a newcomer to Phoenix, joining in the summer, the Sussex Grand Prix immediately appealed to me. Like many runners I enjoy analysing my past performances and those of fellow runners so the SGP has brought that to a new level for me as I can see the cumulative performance throughout the year for myself, friends and that of Phoenix overall. It is also great to be able to contribute to the overall success of Phoenix without having to be among the best in the club. I have only made it to 2 races due to my late start this year but of those my favourite was the Lewes 10M. A tough but stunning run on the Downs, it was great to be welcomed in by the faster Phoenix runners gathered at the finish.” Tony Rickwood
If you would like to contribute in this year’s races, check out the website below for further info, book out as many dates as you can when they are announced & get yourself on the group Phoenix e-mail group: