Matt Sharp (Enfield & Haringey) headed 714 finishers as he retained his title in the 71st staging of the City of Portsmouth AC Victory 5 on a revised course on Sunday (3 December).
The continued work on the Portsmouth sea defences prevented the use of a section of the normal course and an alternative route from Mountbatten Centre to avoid the closed section was rejected by the local authority. A new course was therefore established at Lakeside North Harbour, Cosham.
The lightly raced Sharp was the only man inside 24 minutes as he sailed to 23:56 for victory over Joe Wade (Aldershot, 24:47) and Chris Powner (Winchester, 25:13). The top six were rewarded with prizes and the leader board was completed by Daniel Eckersley (Kingston & Polytechnic, 25:39), Rob McTaggart (Bournemouth, 25:48) and Richard Waldron (Southampton, 26:12).
Also among the awards were leading masters Anthony Roper (M50 Bristol & West, 28:47), Jon Cross (M60 Hart RR, 29:43) and Peter Young (M70 Ryde Harriers, 33:26). Southampton AC claimed the men's team awards from host club Portsmouth and Winchester & District AC.
The women's race was a much more exhilarating contest with Lucy Reid (Tonbridge, 27:34) prevailing by 15 seconds from Laura Brenton (Southampton, 27:48) and Beth Kidger (Brighton Phoenix, 27:53). Reid's PB by a whopping 79 seconds moves her to third on the UK rankings for 2017. Jen Elkins (Southampton, 27:58), Emma Jolley (Portsmouth, 29:22) and Sarah Kingston (Southampton, 29:28) completed the top six.
Women's age group winners included W40 Emma Jane Monteil (Portsmouth, 29:54), W45 Kathryn Bailey (Winchester, 29:44), W55 Cath Wheeler (Overton, 32:47) and W65 Jane Georghiou (Farnham, 37:16). Southampton AC took the team honours from City of Portsmouth and Victory AC. There were 90 athletes operating at sub-six minutes per mile and the midpoint runner was home inside 38 minutes.
The Portsmouth club has been promoting a 5 mile race since 1946 and the Victory 5 is one of the top 5 mile races in Europe, attracting many leading runner from the UK and overseas. The outright race records are held by Rob Denmark (22.43) and Nnenna Lynch (USA, 25.35).