French ace Bazeille secures Portsmouth half marathon crown

Sebastien Bazeille wins the Portsmouth half marathon.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (14538-0588)
Sebastien Bazeille wins the Portsmouth half marathon. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14538-0588)
Runners stream past HMS Victory in the Historic Dockyard

Simplyhealth Great South Run

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A strong performance from Frenchman Sebastien Bazeille saw him take the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon crown on Sunday.

Super fast times were not on the agenda as the strong wind battered the runners for long stretches of the event along the seafront.

As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the muddy off-road sections were even more testing than usual after all the recent flooding.

But Bazeille, 32, overcame the difficult conditions as he powered on to seal victory in a time of 1hr 18min 34sec.

Victory’s Paul Mitchinson gave chase before settling for second place (1.20.37).

Bazeille often races in France but he visits England regularly as his wife lives on the south coast.

That meant the popular Portsmouth event, organised by Rob Piggott, fitted in nicely with his schedule.

Bazeille said: ‘In France I sometimes win races but not that often.

‘My wife lives in England so I come here every weekend.

‘I found this race and it was a good opportunity for a good run.

‘It was difficult. It was a real struggle against the wind.

‘This is a good event and the atmosphere was great.’

Mitchinson improved on his 2011 placing of sixth and was happy with his efforts.

He felt the wind seemed to give the runners no respite – coming at them in all directions along Southsea Promenade.

The muddy beach at Milton Common also lived up to it’s reputation as one of the more testing parts of the course.

Mitchinson said: ‘I ran this event in 2011 and I came sixth so it was nice to get a higher position.

‘The muddy beach was very sticky.

‘On the way out I think I got half my shoe stuck in it. It was like a swamp.

‘Running from Eastney it was very, very windy.

‘Then, for some reason, the wind was in your face coming back as well.

‘It seemed to be coming at you from all angles.’

Mitchinson’s Victory club-mate Zack Lahlal finished fourth and was the top under-20 runner (1.25.13).

Tracy Cook, from North Dorset Tri Club, was the first female finisher (1.31.18).