HRRL Victory 5

Renowned for its fast flat course since its inception in 1946, runners flocked from a wide area to take part in the 2019 Victory 5 miler. Unexpected pavement works caused a few headaches for hosts City of Portsmouth A.C. as they had to devise a new route in the last couple of weeks – either that or cancel the race. Working hard to avoid any lap cross-over points, they came up with a new route and managed to get its distance officially checked in time. Though twisty in parts, it had some long straight sections and the cool weather with little wind led to some fast times.

Fourteen of the 24 strong Farnham Runners contingent recorded personal best times and two of the ladies topped their age categories, while two of the men were third in their groups.

This race was the fifth of twelve races in the Hampshire Road League and the men’s A team maintained their sixth place of ten in the top division, while the ladies stayed in eighth.

James Clarke was delighted with an impressive new best time of 27 minutes 5 seconds to place 21st of 815 finishers in a very competitive field. Matt Saker was third M50 in a personal best 28:46, with Matthew Morgan in 29:45 and Harvey Wickham in 30:14 (PB, 7th M45). These four made the A team that was sixth on the day.

Neil Ambrose led the B quartet with a new best of 30:43, followed by Charles Ashby in 32:01, Tim Cummins in 33:31 and Damian Probett in a PB 33:41.

The C string comprised John Phillips in 34:01, Chris Cramp in 34:42 (PB), Ali Hardaway in 35:27 and Tim Farrant in 35:23 (PB). After a long run the previous day, Craig Tate-Grimes clocked a PB 37:49. Steve Bailey settled for 42:36 this time, while Douglas Blyth was third M75 and beat his own club record in 46:45.

Back racing for the ladies A team, which placed eighth in the top flight, was Gabriella Hitchcock, who gradually increased her pace to record a fine 33:44 as 26th lady. Winner of the F55 category was Linda Tyler in a new personal best of 35:28. This will put her 19th on the UK 2019 F55 five mile ranking table. Jane Georghiou, in 38:05 was first in the F65 category and will go 5th on the F65 2019 UK table.

Kay Copeland led the B team in 40:33, followed by Clair Bailey and Vicky Goodluck with PBs of 42:35 and in 42:39 respectively. Jane Probett gained another PB in 45:33 to lead the Cs, followed by Tina Harrison in 45:37 and Clair Arnott in 46:57 in her first 5 miler.