Hards makes it look easy as he lands ultra victory

Darryl Hards wins the Portsmouth ultra. Picture: Allan Hutchings

Darryl Hards wins the Portsmouth ultra. Picture: Allan Hutchings

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Darryl Hards became the first Believe & Achieve ultra race winner in Portsmouth.

The Brighton Phoenix runner was making his debut at the distance.

David Elder, of Portsmouth Joggers, had a great run. Picture: David Brawn

David Elder, of Portsmouth Joggers, had a great run. Picture: David Brawn

He certainly took to it well with an outstanding time of 3hr 16min 24sec for the Harbour 50k Challenge in difficult weather conditions.

Rain and the notorious Southsea wind ensured it was a difficult day for getting quick times.

The muddy beach sections also added to the task.

But Hards, winner of the 2015 Abingdon Marathon, showed no signs of slowing down as he set an average pace of around 6.19 per mile on his way to victory.

The pace was a bit quicker until I hit the wind on the seafront in the last two miles. It is nice to win, especially with longer races as well.

Darryl Hards

He said: ‘It was my first ultra race and I really enjoyed it.

‘There are not that many around and this one is flat.

‘It was tough, with the shingle and the muddy beach.

‘But although it has got muddy sections it is still a flat race overall.

‘I wanted to do a 50k as a bit of a test because I have previously done marathons.

‘My aim was to do a certain pace and just stick to that all the way.

‘It felt good. I managed it pretty much.

‘The pace was a bit quicker until I hit the wind on the seafront in the last two miles.

‘It is nice to win, especially with longer races as well.’

Hards won the ultra by more than 15 minutes with Adam Cracknell second (3.31.30).

Nathan Montague, who finished on the podium in the 2014 Portsmouth marathon, crossed the line third (3.32.54).

Organiser Rob Piggott’s plan to run the marathon alongside the ultra and half marathon proved popular and George Garratt did well as race director.

A big plus point for Hards was the support and encouragement he received from other runners.

He added: ‘What is good about this one is that, even though I ran the whole race on my own, you had people coming the other way, or you were overtaking half-marathon runners at the end and stuff.

‘You have always got people around you.

‘While some sections were a bit narrow and it slows you down a bit when you might bump into a few people, it is nice to have the company at the same time.

‘Everyone is cheering you so it is nice.’

David Elder, of Portsmouth Joggers, finished sixth in 3.40.49 as he enjoyed a very strong ultra debut.

Chichester Westgate Triathlon’s Dan Winkworth finished seventh in 3.46.36.

Portsmouth’s Mark Campion ran a good time of 3.55.04.

Mike Gilmour, of Fareham Crusaders, crowned his ultra debut with an excellent 3.55.24 time.

Great Britain age-group triathlete Neil Collins ran strongly to finish in 3.55.33.

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