Chichester athletes make hay in Midsummer

They're under way in the Midsummer 5 Picture by Sara Ellis

They're under way in the Midsummer 5 Picture by Sara Ellis

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Much-improved weather conditions greeted the field of nearly 250 runners for the 26th running of the Midsummer 5 road race, resulting in fast times and competitive racing.

The race, which is reckoned to be the oldest midweek event on the south coast, takes in a lap of the Goodwood motor circuit - a change from its early years when runners strode past Goodwood House itself.

A group of half-a-dozen runners were soon leading the way from the start at Lavant village green, including race favourite James Baker, Stubbington’s Lewis Chalk and Julian Manning from Denmead, winner of the recent Trundle Hill Race.

Going on to the 2.4-mile circuit of the motor-race track, Baker began to pull clear to continue the pace right to the end with a winning time of 25min 49sec, nearly a minute clear of runner-up Chalk, who featured prominently in this year’s Corporate Challenge race series in Chichester in March.

With Manning in third and Andrew Cannell from Midhurst Milers fourth, the next three places featured winners in three different age categories.

Harry Leleu, still an under-17, continued his excellent form of the past year to finish seventh in 28.03 with top veteran Karl Spielman fifth, followed by Ronnie Adams from Portsmouth Joggers winning the over-50 prize.

There was more individual success for Chichester Runners when Dave Worcester picked up the over-60 award with a great 31st place overall in 31.40.

This was followed by a virtual clean sweep in the women’s race with veteran over-50 Jane Harrop winning outright from her younger rivals in a fine time of 32.23, just over 30 seconds in front of first senior Fay Cripps with Portsmouth-based Gemma Corbett in 3rd.

Team-wise, it was a double win for Chichester with both men and women proving too good for their rivals.

The trio of Baker, Leleu and veteran Chris Jack were the same three who won prizes at both the Chichester and Bognor 10k events earlier in the year, this time scoring 22 points with Jack in 14th place.

Behind them another local team, Midhurst Milers, did well to gain second with 36 points in front of Portsmouth Joggers in third.

In the women’s team event, Harrop and Cripps were joined by Anneliese Shaw in ninth for a low winning total of just 12 points.