HRRL Victory 5

The Victory Five race was the third Hampshire Road Race League race in three weeks and yet Farnham Runners had a good turn-out of twenty members to tackle this highly competitive event.

This year was the 71st, it having been organised by City of Portsmouth Athletics club since 1946. Due to work on the sea defences on the normal route a new course from Lakeside North Harbour was used this time, with a short start leg and then two anticlockwise laps.

Despite some twists and turns, some wind and an off road section, there were some impressive performances and personal best times from Farnham Runners.

James Clarke completed the hat trick of races with another excellent personal best of 28:13, as 35th finisher of 720. Andrew Ellison also flew round his third race in three weeks, for 4th place in the M45 category in 28:58.

Impressive newcomer Matt Saker took 7th M45 place with a very useful 29:45, while Mike Anderson eased back into racing 31:50, 3rd in the M60 category. This A team was third in division two of the league but still lies top on aggregate after five matches. This result was repeated exactly by the B squad in B division two, led in by Harvey Wickham who is improving in every race, this time with a new best of 31:53. Tim Cummins was second in this team in 33:23, with Keith Marshall hot on his heels with a new PB of 33:27, 8th M60 in a particularly competitive category. Final B team scorer was John Phillips in 34:15.

Chris Cramp (34:57), Ali Hardaway (35:01), Kevin Laurie (37:10) and Stuart Laurie (37:53) comprised the C pack that were 11th but maintain 8th of 17 on aggregate.

With A and B teams in top divisions, the ladies gained a sound result against tough opposition. The A team was 8th of 10, slipping to 8th on aggregate but still safe. The B team was 13th but still safe on points as 11thof 15 clubs.

Emma Russ led them in with a fine 36:19. Linda Tyler, after a gruelling 8 mile off road race the day before where she finished first in her category, and fighting off a cold, still managed 37:17 and 3rd F55 in her debut 5 miler!

Five seconds back at the finish but in a one second quicker chip time was 1st F65 Jane Georghiou, whose 37:16 puts her 2nd on the UK W65 five mile table for 2017.

Leading in the B trio was Anne Snelson in a PB 38:25, 4th F50, followed by Rebecca Martin (41:44) and Tina Harrison (43:58).

Peter Strange, 10th M70 in 49:00 and Christine Chapman in 56:08, provided further backup to the teams.

In addition to James Clarke and Andrew Ellison, Harvey Wickham, Keith Marshall, Ali Hardaway, Linda Tyler, Rebecca Martin and Peter Strange all ran the three Hampshire League races in three weeks, the Gosport Half, the Hayling 10 miler and the Victory 5.