ROB ARKELL showed his recent marathon success has not taken anything away from his speed and sharpness with victory in the first race of the summer Gosport 5k Series.
The Stubbington Green athlete, who ran the London Marathon in a brilliant time of 2hr 37min 04sec, set a personal best on Tuesday night.
He finished in 16.26 to fend off the challenge from some fast rivals at Stokes Bay.
Lewis Banner, also in the Stubbington colours, crossed the line in second position with a time of 16.30.
Victory’s Paul Mitchinson took third place with a strong personal best of 16.33.
He prevented a Stubbington clean sweep with Chris Brobin having to settle for fourth (16.34) and Andy Simpson fifth (16.39).
Karen Andrews took the prize for first lady with a very good time of 18.56 as she enjoyed the good conditions.
Second lady was Fareham Crusaders’ Kirsty Edwards in 20.27 and then third place went to Gosport’s Sarah Ruby-Rennison who finished the race very quickly (20.30).
Organiser Nick Carter, of Absolute Running, in Gosport, was thrilled with the first event of the five in the series.
He said: ‘It was fabulous, we couldn’t really have asked for much more.
‘The weather was kind to us. It was good to see the club shirts turn out in strength. Stubbington were definitely up for it. That showed in them winning the men’s and women’s team prizes.
‘Overall, as has been the case every year, everyone finished with a smile.
‘It’s just a nice friendly community event. We are really pleased.
‘Rob Arkell has started his year really well. It was a really good race to watch, led out by the main man Andy Simpson.
‘I don’t think Andy would have wanted to be but he was an ideal pacer.
‘Then it was a good sprint to the finish. That was exciting to watch.’
The likes of Stubbington Green, Victory, Fareham Crusaders, Gosport Road Runners, Portsmouth Joggers and City of Portsmouth were all well represented.
The races in the series always have a brilliant atmosphere and the marshals are very supportive to all the runners.
There was also a junior 1k race before the adult 5k and this again proved very popular.
Carter added: ‘The series is growing, it’s very family friendly.
‘I am a bit biased but there are no marshals better than Gosport marshals. They are just the best. They set the tone, set the mood and everyone feels included.’
Race two of the series takes place on Tuesday, June 13. Then it’s the Gosport Golden Mile on Sunday, June 18.
The Junior Golden Mile is at 9.30am, then the adult mile race at 10am and the 5k race is 10.45am, with wheelchair races from 9am.