Baker closing in on a return to top form after Lakeside win

James Baker, wearing 3, leading the charge in the Lakeside 5K. Picture: Sarah Standing (143484-8245)
James Baker, wearing 3, leading the charge in the Lakeside 5K. Picture: Sarah Standing (143484-8245)
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James Baker continued his fine recent form with another victory in the Lakeside 5K Prologue on Sunday.

Baker, the 2013 champion, finished 34 seconds clear of second-placed James Share, from Poole Runners, to reclaim his title.

The 38 year-old clocked a time of 15min 56sec in cold and blustery conditions, 12 seconds off his season’s best.

Remarkably, his latest victory came less than 24 hours after his previous race.

Following on from his course-record victory in the Hayling 10 and an impressive fifth-placed Gosport Half Marathon finish, Baker believes he can use his latest win as a springboard for greater success.

He said: ‘I really enjoyed the three-lap course they introduced this year, it’s a shame they can’t use the three-lap course for the main series next year.

‘I ran the Sussex League cross-country on Saturday, and I think that slowed me down a bit, but I’m glad to have claimed the victory.

‘The race went to plan and I was happy to break the 16-minute barrier.

‘Looking ahead, I’m competing in the South of England Cross Country Championships at the end of January, and hope I can put in a good performance there.

‘As a personal target, I’m also aiming to break the two hours 30 minutes barrier at the Bournemouth Marathon next year.’

Baker has attributed his latest success to an increased training schedule, allowing him to recapture his best form.

Having been defeated in the full Lakeside Summer Series last season, the Chichester Runners athlete is keen for revenge this time and is eyeing overall victory when the races commence in April.

‘I’ve upped my training mileage from 60 miles to 100 miles a week this year, and I really think my recent performances demonstrate that it’s starting to pay off and I’m returning to my level of 10 years ago,’ he added.

‘I’m looking forward to the summer series and have a few events lined up beforehand, so hopefully I’ll be able to approach it in top form and reclaim the title.’

This year’s Lakeside 5K Prologue saw a turnout of 72 runners brave the bracing conditions, with all proceeds of the event going to the Hilsea Lido Charitable Trust.

While Baker ran clear of the field, only six seconds separated the second-to-fifth-placed runners.

Share came in second, with Ross Nickerson, of Winchester & District, third (16.33) and Stubbington Green’s Lewis Banner fourth (16.36).

City of Portsmouth’s Harry Moore claimed the under-15 boys title.

Rising-star Elizabeth Rose, ranked second in the UK in the under-15 age group, further enhanced her reputation with an impressive victory in the women’s race, coming in 11th overall in a time of 18.35.

Race organiser Peter Newton was delighted with this increasingly popular event.

He said: ‘Other than the chilly conditions, it was a good race and we were able to raise some money for charity.

‘It acts as a good lead-in for our summer series in April and a new course gives the runners a good challenge.

‘Seeing our young athletes, especially Elizabeth Rose, perform so strongly bodes well for the future.’