IT WAS a record-breaking night as the finale of the Bayside 5k Series in Gosport was a scorching success.
Hosts Absolute Running welcomed their biggest ever turnouts for both the adult and junior races at Stokes Bay on Wednesday.
Gosport Road Runners were superbly well represented among the 169 finishers for the main event.
Stubbington Green, Fareham Crusaders, Bayside Tri, Portsmouth Joggers and Victory were among the other clubs with runners in action.
To crown her overall series win in style, Jen Elkins won for the fourth time in five races in Gosport with a quick time of 17min 55sec.
Stubbington’s Andy Simpson did not race but he had already secured the men’s series prize.
Gareth Smith, representing Portsmouth Joggers, won the final race with a very good time of 16min 48sec, with Victory’s Paul Mitchinson second (16.52) and Gosport’s Rob Byrne third (16.56).
It was a warm night but with no wind to contend with it was good for quick times.
Carter said: ‘What always pleases us at Absolute Running is how much everyone seems to enjoy the races.
‘Yes, there’s a competitive side to the series but also an emphasis on having fun and being part of something.
‘Our volunteer marshals never cease to amaze us with their boundless enthusiasm.
‘As ever, we have to thank Gosport Borough Council for their support and Adrian Chalk and his team at Bayside Cabin for their hospitality.’
Carter was delighted to welcome 1983 London Marathon winner and 1982 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mike Gratton, who ran 21.53.
‘The final night of the series was made extra special for us by the arrival of Mike Gratton,’ added Carter.
‘What a thoroughly pleasant chap!
‘Mike was impressed with our course and has promised to bring his club runners and friends next year.’
Even 33 years on Gratton’s winning time of 2.09.43 in London places him 14th on the British all-time list for marathons.
He ran strongly in the 5k and was happy to get some good speed work in as he focuses his training on the Rushmoor 10k.
Don’t miss The News on Saturday for more reaction and pictures from the spectacular final race.
The series is managed by Nice Work.