City of Portsmouth AC's annual Victory 5 road race has been a magnet for top athletes since 1946 – surely one of the oldest, continuously held events in Britain. There were 815 finishers in the 73rd edition of this historic race on Sunday (1 December).
Lakeside North Harbour, Cosham – described as the south coast's leading office campus – provides the base for the three-lap blast on perfectly flat, smooth tarmac paths, which also hosts the Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun.
The outright Victory 5 race records are held by Rob Denmark (22:43) and Nnenna Lynch (USA, 25:35). The race is managed by Nice Work.
Victory 5 often rewrites the UK rankings and this proved to be the case again as the top three dipped under 25-minutes. Matt Bergin (Bedford & County, 23:39) does not feature on that list due to his Irish heritage but a PB for Henry McLuckie (24:18) took the under-20 Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier to number one junior for 2019. Third-placed Joe Wade (Ryde Harriers, 24:31 PB) rose to 12th best in the UK this year.
Lucy Reid – pictured below – of Tonbridge AC, has been unbeaten in Victory 5 for three years and trimmed her own club record by a second (27:04). Her time is second fastest in UK this year. Maisie Trafford (Arena 80, 27:33 PB) and Emily Wicks (Aldershot, Farnham & District, 28:00) were among seven women inside 30-minutes.
There were plenty of higher age-group performances to admire. Examples include M40 James Baker (Chichester, 26:21); M50 Simon Stevens (Winchester, 28:02); M60 Jon Cross (Hart Road Runners, 29:18) and M70 Peter James (Ryde Harriers, 34:20).
Charlie Metcalfe (W40 Ryde Harriers, 29:33) was sixth in the women's race and other category winners include Winchester's Karen Rushton (W50, 31:09) and Lynne Whitaker (W60, 34:48).
The top 100 averaged better than six-minute-mile pace and Gosport Road Runners over-70 age group athletes Michael and Marie Bowers were the final finishers in just over 75 minutes.