Iconic five-mile race produces some Midsummer magic

The leaders in the Midsummer 5 / Picture by Lee Hollyer
The leaders in the Midsummer 5 / Picture by Lee Hollyer

The 31st running of the Chichester Midsummer 5 was a cracker.

On a lovely summer’s evening, the number of finishers – 365 – was the largest on record, with 82 of those from the host club.

The event had a new race director, Chichester Runners & AC chairman Keith Akerman, and saw chip timing used for the first time.

Lavant Memorial Hall and village green provides the ideal setting for an event which has been promoted for the longest time of any endurance running event in the district.

It starts in Sheepwash Lane and winds its way through East Lavant to New Road and on to the Goodwood motor circuit.

After a complete lap of the circuit the runners make the return journey to East Lavant finishing with a lap of the village green.

Turner put his foot on the gas and came home in first place in a time of 25.48 with Baker, a previous winner, 32 seconds behind.

It was started by Jen Evans-Brewer from the Goodwood Health Club, who with the Run Company were major sponsors of the event.

Along the Lavant straight and into the motor circuit a group of six runners were making their mark. The leading group included James Turner (Brighton & Hove AC), James Baker, Mike Houston and William Boutwood (all Chichester Runners & AC), Simon Gill (Tone Zone) and Julian Manning (Denmead Striders).

Slowly each one started to drift off the pace. Manning was followed by Gill as the pace started to hot up on the return to Lavant.

Turner put his foot on the gas and came home in first place in a time of 25.48 with Baker, a previous winner, 32 seconds behind. Houston was third, Boutwood fourth and Gill fifth.

Over-40 runners featured well in the top ten with Baker first in that category followed by Gill, Manning and Charles Rodmell of Chichester Runners. Top over-50 was James Garland, also from the home club, in a time of 30.49, with Phil Guest of Portsmouth Joggers first in the over-60s category – he has been a regular supporter of Chichester Races for over 30 years.

Chichester Runners & AC were the leading team.

The women’s event was dominated by Chichester Runners with three of their athletes taking the podium slots – Alice Cox-Rusbridge, Jane Harrop and Imogen Mathews.

They meant business from the start and it was Rusbridge in 32.38 who took top spot followed by Harrop (32.48) and Mathews in 33.00.

Cox-Rusbridge continues the good form she showed in the Chichester Priory 10k at Goodwood in February while Jane Harrop was back in action after a lengthy absence through injury from competition. Fourth was Jessica Thompson of Tone Zone.

In the veteran categories, the winners were Charlotte Laing (Brighton & Hove), Cathy Ulliott (Brighton & Hove) and Jenny Hughes (Arena 80). The home club had the leading women’s team.

The prizegiving was led by Chichester Runners president David Worcester at the Memorial Hall. He congratulated all the athletes and volunteers who had contributed to a successful evening.

GRAHAM JESSOP