Chichester athletes are Midsummer marvels

Action from the Midsummer 5 / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Action from the Midsummer 5 / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Chichester Runners virtually swept the board in the popular Midsummer 5 road race at Lavant.

The field of 350 runners quickly raced through Lavant village towards the Goodwood straight to tackle a lap of the motor-racing circuit.

The Midsummer 5 was the culmination of the 2015-16 programme of events which Chichester Runners promote during the year.

Even after the first half-mile there were a pair of Chichester athletes at the front of the race with James Baker and Peter Concannon running stride for stride.

Further back team-mate Conrad Meagher had pulled away from the chasing pack with top over-50 veteran Jim Garland prominent. On a near-perfect evening for running with circling thunderstorms holding off, the leading duo stretched their lead and were still together exiting the circuit with just over a mile to run.

Behind, there was a close battle at the front of the women’s field with Chichester’s Beth Garland and Emma Monteil from City of Portsmouth AC locked together.

The final mile into the finish in Lavant saw the outcome of the race decided in both the men’s and women’s races with the younger Concannon able to pull away to win in a good time of 26min 18sec, just over half a minute in front of Baker who is less than six months away from joining the over-40 veteran ranks.

Another of Chichester’s younger runners, Meagher, was clear in third place in 27.19. Just three places further back, Garland was having a fine run to finish in sixth place overall and as top over-50 veteran by a margin of well over a minute.

Making it a family double, first lady coming into view was daughter Beth Garland, who had managed to pull clear of Commonwealth Games runner Monteil to win the women’s race by nine seconds in 30.04.

There were more prizes for the club as third overall in the women’s race and easily the first over-55 was Jane Harrop in a very impressive 32.49 seconds, 37th overall in the race, making her just outside the top ten per cent of all the men in the race.

Just pipped for another age-category win was over-60 Rob Wiggins, who had to settle for the runners-up spot in the over-60 race with a time of 32.28 in 32nd overall, just 18 seconds behind winner Reg Ball of City of Portsmouth AC.

The Midsummer 5 was the culmination of the 2015-16 programme of events which Chichester Runners promote during the year, starting with the Goodwood cross-country races in the autumn, followed by the spring road-race challenge of the Corporate Challenge city centre race series in the spring and the Trundle Hill 10k in May.

Over the seven races, not far short of 5,000 finishers have crossed the line in total.

The club now have a short breather before the first of the 2016-17 races which will be the Sussex cross-country relays at Goodwood on Saturday, October 1.

PHIL BAKER

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