Previous winner James Baker had to settle for fifth place in a high-quality Gosport Half Marathon on Sunday, run in dry but chilly conditions.
Attracting more than 1600 runners, the event is one of the longest-established races in the autumn south-coast calendar and Sunday’s race certainly did not disappoint.
Baker had a west-country invasion to contend with, including winner Tom Merson from Exmouth, who set an impressive new course record of 67min 33sec.
The Chichester man did have the consolation of being the first over-40 home, so he did not came away empty-handed.
Four more Chichester club-mates were also in action with Justin Eggins 66th, and 15th veteran, in 1.21.28; Jason Snow, 205th and 48th veteran in 1.25.07 and Dan Bushere, 387th overall in 1.31.58 and a fine sixth in the over-60 category.
Sarah Morris finished in 13th place in in the senior women’s field and more importantly knocked nearly five minutes off her previous best to cross the finishing line in 1.37.11.
Some 23 were first-timers and 28 recorded new personal bests. Representatives of 16 different clubs took part, including Chichester Runners & AC,
Horsham Joggers, Fittleworth Flyers, Promenade Plodders, Midhurst Milers abd Burgess Hill Runners.
There were visitors from Gloucester, Cambridge, Wales, Bracknell, Hove, Beckton and Milton Keynes.
First male home was James Baker (VM40-44) in 17:40, followed by Max Costley in 18:17 and Lindsay Russell in 18:20.
First female was Alice Wright in 19:35, with Bethan Everson second in 21:05 and Sarah Loy third with 21:15.