Almost-perfect conditions greeted a field of more than300 runners for this year’s popular Midsummer 5 road race.
Starting at Lavant village green, the runners headed off to do a lap of the Goodwood motor circuit before returning back to the starting point.
With a strong entry it looked in the early stages as if a group of a dozen athletes would stay together for much of the race.
However, approaching the mile point, James Baker had other ideas and decided to push the pace on the uphill section after the Fordwater bend.
The sudden injection of pace was too much for the rest and by the time the leaders turned into the Goodwood circuit, Baker had established a clear lead over his rivals.
This was all the more surprising as the Chichester Runner had contested a hard-fought Hayling Billy race the previous evening (see article and picture on this page).
Over a 20-year running career, Baker’s power of recovery has been one of his greatest attributes and he showed no sign of easing up to win the race in a time of 26min 15sec.
Not far behind was Karl Spielmann from Midhurst Milers, while Julian Manning from Denmead Striders, a regular racer in the Chichester area, completed the top three.
Marathon runner Simon Gill from Bognor’s Tone Zone club was fifth, closely followed by Chichester-based Dan Bailey in the colours of Victory AC.
Chichester Runners occupied the next two places with improving Mike Houston seventh and Jim Garland eighth, Garland picking up the veteran over-50 prize in a speedy 29.19.
Steve Davy, 11th overall, was third over-40 while Dave Worcester had to settle for runners-up spot in the over-60s’ race with Portsmouth’s Reg Ball coming home in 33.06, Worcester just under half a minute back in 33.32. They can be proud of finishing 36th and 44th among their much younger rivals.
There was a fine display from the winner of the women’s vets’ race – ex-international Kath Bailey from Winchester AC finishing 15th overall and as first woman by more than two minutes in 29min 55sec.
Veteran runners occupied second and third women’s places with Kari Mack from Tone Zone in the over-35 age group just getting the better of over-50 Jane Harrop from Chichester, the pair finishing in 32.17 and 32.25.
The event completes a busy few months for host club Chichester Runners & AC and their race organisers have a few months’ rest before the cross-country season kicks off with the Goodwood relays at the end of September.
This weekend sees all age groups in action on track and field.
Chichester’s seniors head to Swindon on Saturday for the next match in the Southern Athletics League while the under-13 and under-15 team travel to Horsham the following day to try to maintain their fine start to their season.
They have already secured top-three places in the opening two fixtures against strong opposition.
The under-15s especially should be in confident mood having gained a convincing second place recently in the Sussex League, with only 2014 Sussex champions Crawley finishing ahead of them.
The throwers will be looking forward to keeping up their fine form with James Gillett, Michael Ackerman and Gus Haplink sure to feature strongly.
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