Chris Thompson admitted he found the going tough as he celebrated back-to-back Great South Run victories.
The Aldershot, Farnham & District runner became the first man to defend his title around the streets of Portsmouth & Southsea since Gary Staines in 1994 with a winning time of 48 minutes 32 seconds.
But not only did he have to contend with the remnants of Storm Brian as high winds accompanied the runners around the 10-mile course, he also had some stiff competition in the field to deal with.
That included Ben Connor (48.36), who set the pace for the majority of the race alongside Thompson.
But while he faded from just past the nine-mile mark to claim third place behind Matt Sharp (48.36) and finish two seconds ahead of former City of Portsmouth ace Alex Teuten (48.38), Thompson dug deep to claim a famous victory.
It was a classic finish to the race, with the winner in doubt right until the end.
And Thompson admitted he had to work hard to claim the win.
‘That was tough, really tough from the word go,’ he said.
‘At no point did I feel particularly comfortable.
‘But that was classic racing, there was no way of getting away from any of those lads.
‘I was at the front,trying to press but everyone was too comfortable behind.
‘And it turned into a real ding-dong battle and eventually when it became me and Ben it was just mind games the whole way, classic neck-to neck, whose feeling thaat little bit better.’
Gemma Steel, who won the women’s race in a time of 55.25 ahead of Lily Partridge (55.37), said she enjoyed the conditions.
She said: ‘I really enjoyed it.
‘I was really relaxed at the start and thought I was out for a training run, until it heated up halfway.
‘It was really enjoyable and when I broke away it was even more enjoyable.’