THE Romsey 5 road race retains its allure to runners from around the area – even after the latest of a number of location changes inspired by traffic considerations.
This year the race transferred to Broadlands Estate after many seasons at the Greatbridge Industrial Estate, using a circuit around Fishlake Meadows.
This attraction no doubt swelled the numbers of entries taken on the morning at Crossfield Hall.
Once the gates to Broadlands were opened nearly 500 competitors flooded into the grounds and enjoyed a three-lap course as flat as a billiard table and entirely traffic free.
It was easy to navigate, despite the lapping of some slower runners towards the latter part of the race, and race organisers Concept Sports even managed to conjure a calm morning to allow the runners to feel the benefit of the fast terrain.
Toby Lambert of Winchester AC built up his speed gradually, being more used to much longer distances, and pulled progressively away from the long crocodile of runners twisting around the paths of Broadlands.
He won in a time of 24mins 24secs from Southampton’s Steve Phillips (25.09), who enjoyed a solo run similar to Lambert.
The third man home was John Collier of Westbury Harriers, who came into the race fresh from his Parkrun win at Eastleigh the day before, and he finished in a time of 25.46.
Top veteran in the men’s race was Andy Morgan Lee, now running in Thames Hare & Hound colours.
The first two ladies home had both travelled long distances to take part at Romsey, Joanna Emery of Coventry Godiva just managing to hunt down and pass Camilla Briggs of Bristol & West AC in the last 400 metres, winning in 29.05 with a six-second margin over Briggs. Third lady and top veteran was Helen Wallington from Totton.
The ‘home’ teams of Romsey Road Runners and Halterworth Harriers had predictably large contingents in the race.
The Harriers had 19 runners taking part, with Michael Tanner the first Harrier home in just 28.42, taking over two minutes off his personal best and finishing 14th place overall and fourth in his category.
He was closely followed by Mark Sills and Jon Tilt.
First woman home was Ann Bartholomew, running it in just 36.11 (and coming first in her category), with Rachel Shimell (37.17, fourth in category) and Jane Heyer (37.26, second in her category ) c o m - p l e t i n g the women’s A team, which came second overall in the team event.
Carol Anderson (38.17, third in her category) followed close behind.
Newcomer Eleanor Wilde, who was celebrating her birthday and running as a birthday treat.
The Road Runners had 18 runners taking part, with the Romsey Ladies’ A team of Amanda Hull, Lynne Whitaker and Hannah White finishing first in the team event.
The women’s B team, of Anni Dawes, Julia Abab and Pippa Archibald finishing in fourth place.
In addition to the two fantastic ladies’ team performances, the Romsey men also put in some great individual displays.
Jimmy Hunt was the highest placed Road Runner in 29.53 (26th overall) closely followed by Marc Balistrari, who clocked a personal best time of 30.18.
E l s e w h e r e , Romsey’s Ali Longworth finished the Gloucester Marathon, his first in eight years, in a time of 3.36.58.