Golden glory for Lewis

Lewis Banner wins the Gosport Golden Mile. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Lewis Banner wins the Gosport Golden Mile. Picture: Paul Jacobs
The start of the Gosport Half Marathon race as James Baker, wearing 85, hits the front early on. Picture: Neil Marshall

Baker’s perfect timing with Gosport triumph

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Lewis Banner powered to Gosport Golden Mile glory on Sunday and smashed his personal best in the process.

The Stubbington Green athlete managed to see off the challenge from training-partner Matt Gordon, of Havant, taking the victory in a time of 4min 25sec.

Gordon had to settle for second spot in 4.28, with Boniface Kongin third (4.32).

For Banner it was a reversal of fortunes after Gordon pipped him in a high-quality 800m race at the Hampshire Track & Field Championships recently.

It was also a big improvement on his performance in the Gosport Golden Mile in 2013 when he finished third.

Banner said: ‘I managed to up my game a bit.

‘It was nice to get a bit of revenge on Matt after he beat me in the 800m at the county championships.

‘Now I’ve beaten him in the Golden Mile but he said he will try to hit me back.

‘I think he’s usually better than me over longer distances and I have the edge in speed over the shorter events.

‘But it seems to be the other way round at the moment. I have beaten him this season over a mile and over the 5k at Lakeside.

‘I’m really happy with my time. I got a PB for a mile, quicker than my track time. I also beat my time from last year by eight seconds – a fairly large jump.’

Banner was not feeling great on the day and was in a bit of a rush to get to the start line in time.

So he was even more pleased to get over the line first and was impressed again with the standard of the event put on by Absolute Running.

Great Britain athlete Andy Vernon, who started his career with Stubbington Green, presented the prizes.

That added to a great atmosphere on the day.

Banner said: ‘The event is really good.

‘Trophies were presented by Andy Vernon so that was nice.

‘I ran with Andy a couple of times at Stubbington.

‘He was in the team with me for Testway relays back in 2007.

‘It was good he came along and gave out the prizes for all the age groups and categories.

‘I know Nick and Harry Carter from Absolute Running fairly well.

‘It’s a really good event and I think it will grow over the next couple of years and it can attract a high calibre of runners.’

Third-placed athlete Kongin, from the Run Fast club, proved his quality as he then sped off to win the Poole 10k on the same day.

His club-mate Joan Chelimo was the fastest woman in the Gosport Golden Mile with a great time of 5.01.

Kayleigh Johns, of City of Portsmouth, took second (6.15) with Ellie Czura (6.29) just beating Viki Middleton (6.29) to third place.

Meanwhile, the junior mile was also a spectacular event.

City of Portsmouth talent Ted Yeates was the winner (5.13).

Josie Czura again highlighted her ability with a stunning performance to take second in a time of 5.18.

City club-mate Bobbie Davies was in third spot (5.40) and Maisie Grice came home fourth (5.43).

James McIlroy won the Gosport Golden 5k (16.03), with Kelly Fielding the first lady (20.14).