Midsummer 5 Road Race

On Wednesday 20th June 2018 was the 31st running of the Chichester Midsummer 5 and what a cracker it turned out to be. It was a lovely warm summers evening, the number of finishers was the largest on record and a great time was had by all.

The 2018 event had a new Race Director, Chichester Runners & AC Club Chairman, Keith Akerman, and saw the re-introduction of burgers for all finishers and helpers, online registration and for the first time at the Lavant event, chip timing. All these features together with the weather contributed to the huge turnout.

Lavant Memorial Hall and Village Green provides the ideal setting for this event which has been promoted for the longest time of any endurance running event in the district. The event starts in Sheepwash Lane and winds its way through East Lavant to New Road and onto the Goodwood Motor Racing Track. After a complete lap of the circuit the runners make the return journey to East Lavant finishing with a lap of the Village Green.

The race was started by Jen Evans-Brewer, Health Club and Spa Manager at the Goodwood Health Club who along with the Run Company were the major sponsors of the event. The runners looked a splendid site as they set off from the village green and moved off in the direction of Goodwood.

Along the Lavant Straight and into the Motor Racing Circuit a group of six runners were slowly making their mark felt. 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). This group were bunched up and working together as they made their way around the circuit but slowly each one started to drift off the pace. First was Julian Manning followed by Simon Gill as the pace started to hot up back on the return to Lavant.

It was at this stage that James Turner put his foot on the gas and started to build on his lead as he came home in first place in a time of 25.48 with James Baker a previous winner of this event some 32 seconds behind. It was then a procession of runners as Mike Houston (third), William Boutwood (fourth) and Simon Gill (fifth) crossed the line.
Vet 40 runners featured well in the top ten positions with James Baker first in that category followed by Simon Gill, Julian Manning and Charles Rodmell of Chichester Runners. The winner of the Vet 50 was Jim Garland also from the home club in a time of 30.49 with Phil Guest of Portsmouth Joggers first in the over 60s category. Phil has been a regular supporter of Chichester Races for over 30 years.

Given the positions of the leading men it should not be surprising that the event promoters Chichester Runners & AC were the leading team on show on the night.

The women’s event was dominated by Chichester Runners with three of their top runners taking the podium slots namely Alice Cox-Rusbridge, Jane Harrop and Imogen Mathews. They meant business from the start and slowly but surely, they pulled themselves away from the rest of the women’s field.

As the race progressed so their positions unfolded and as they returned to the Lavant Memorial Hall it was Alice in 32.38 who took the winners slot followed by Jane (32.48) and Imogen third in 33.00. Alice continues the good form she showed in the Goodwood 10K in February when she was first local young female home whilst Jane Harrop just continues on from the successful winter she had over the country.

The fourth placed runner Jessica Thompson of Tone Zone was a further minute and a half behind the third-place runner. In the Veteran Categories the winners were Charlotte Laing, Cathy Ulliott and Jenny Hughes. As with the men’s event the home club had the leading team of women runners.

All the above awards were made at the traditional prize giving event after the race by the President of the Chichester Runners, David Worcester at the Memorial Hall. Not only did he congratulate all the prize winners for their efforts but all the athletes and volunteers who had contributed to an extremely successful evening.

In particular he thanked Keith Akerman and his team for organising a splendid event and to Vicky Balandis and her team for providing a splendid end to the evening with her burger bar. All went home happy vowing to return next year. A provisional date for the diary is Wednesday 19th June 2019. 

Report by Graham Jessop