Classy Kenyans clean up at Victory 5

Peter Emase
Peter Emase
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The Victory 5 Road Race history books will need a quick rewrite after Peter Emase and Agnes Chebet smashed the course records on their way to glory.

The Kenyan duo were the pre-race favourites going into Sunday’s prestigious annual event.

And they certainly lived up to their billing, with Emase claiming the men’s title in a comfortable time of 22min 57sec – the fastest in the UK this year – and reducing fellow countryman Edwin Kipyego’s original record by seven seconds.

Chebet, meanwhile, saw off the challenge of City of Portsmouth’s Cassie Thorp to secure the women’s race in 26.43 – taking 15 seconds off the previous course record set by Lucy Elliott.

With the Victory 5 appealing to top runners for many years – and it’s Lakeside North Harbour circuit notorious for quick times – new records were always on the cards.

And it appeared a place in the record books was at the forefront of Emase’s mind as he led early in the race.

Ethiopian Berihu Tesfay (25.19) tried to go with the fast pace but he eventually had to settle for third spot as Martyn Cryer set a new personal best of 24.58 to take second place.

The London-based athlete, running for Woodford Green, improved on the time set when winning the Overton 5 and dipped under 25 minutes for the first time.

Keeping up his consistent form, Chichester Runners’ James Baker was fourth (25.32), while Lewis Chalk of Stubbington Green was fifth in a time of 25.36.

In the women’s elite race, there was no stopping Chebet as she won her UK debut in style.

But there was still plenty to celebrate for runner-up Thorp following her time of 27.05.

With the race part of the Hampshire Championships, she was named the new county queen.

Her new personal-best time also elevated the 24-year-old up to third in the UK rankings for 2012.

Aldershot, Farnham & District’s Jessica Andrews took third spot (29.08), with the New Forest Runner pairing of Valeria Sesto (29.41) and Erica Fogg (29.55) making up the top five.

The veteran categories also proved highly competitive, with Isle of Wight AC’s Russell Burton (28.09) the winner in the men’s over-50s category, and City’s Cecilia Morrison excelling in the women’s over-60s.

For the first time, a ‘Run for Fun’ 10k was organised in conjunction with the main race.

First home was Mark Hayter of Eastleigh in a time of 37.32, with Brighton & Hove’s Fiona Powell leading the women home in 38.20.

Race director Peter Newton was delighted with the event, topped by two course records.

‘The organisation of a major event like this becomes more complicated every year with more hoops to jump through but it is satisfying when it goes off well,’ said Newton.

‘We are indebted to our sponsors, Asics and Alexandra Sports and also Highcross for the use of the Lakeside North Harbour complex.

‘Without their support, the race would not be viable.’