Manning grabs Plod win

Julian Manning
Julian Manning
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Julian Manning braved the tricky conditions to storm to victory in the Meon Valley Plod.

The Denmead Striders athlete turned in an impressive display across the 21-mile course, to post a winning time of two hours, 25 minutes and 49 seconds – 40 seconds clear of his nearest rival, Lee Kemp (Waverley Harriers) and Denmead club-mate Nick Baker (2:31.52).

With the freezing conditions over the weekend, areas of the multi-terrain course were particularly challenging.

But race director Alan Shons was delighted that Portsmouth Joggers had managed to stage the popular event which has been running since 1995 and always attracts a decent entry.

Shons said: ‘With all the ice and snow, it was pretty treacherous out there in a few places.

‘It was excellent – we didn’t get any broken bones. The worst injuries we ended up with were a few grazed knees where people slipped over.

‘Julian finished in an excellent time.

‘Considering the conditions, it’s either brave or foolhardy and I can’t work out which!

‘With that time, he certainly didn’t go round gently checking for icy patches.

‘But if it was dangerous, I wouldn’t have held the event.

‘There were some challenging areas, though.

‘He led all the way.’

Emma Taylor-Gooby of Midhurst Millers was the first female finisher (2:40.28), while there was an impressive total of 255 finishers.

Shons said: ‘We had more than 300 entries, 260 started the race and we had 255 finishers.

‘To only have five retirements is fantastic.’