There cannot be many road races in Britain that can beat the City of Portsmouth Victory 5 for longevity. This year’s race on Sunday, 4 December marks the 70th anniversary of one of the top five milers in Europe that annually attracts elite athletes from the UK and overseas.
The Victory 5 course has changed several times over the years and currently enjoys a single lap course taking in Stamshaw Promenade and Lakeside. The outright race records are held by Rob Denmark (Basildon, 22:43) and Nnenna Lynch (USA, 25:35).
Last year's race winners were Scott Overall (Blackheath, 23:59) and Bryony Proctor (Aldershot, 28:44) and there were 654 finishers in 1:13:30. The race has chip timing and starts and finishes on the track at the Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth, where there are facilities for changing and refreshments. Victory 5 is suitable for all abilities and first timers often use the event as a stepping stone between 5k and 10k.
This year there is a special prize fund of £3,500 that includes race record and course record bonuses and veteran prizes in age groups from 40 to over-80. Entries for the main race are closed and none are available on the day but there are spaces in the supporting Victory Mile for anyone aged over 9 years.
The host club is no spring chicken itself and can trace its history back to Portsmouth Harriers formed in 1880. Portsmouth AC emerged in 1945 and Andy Gibb accepted the ‘temporary’ post of club secretary until the first AGM – then finally stepped down 35 years later!
Full details are at the race website