JAMES BAKER enjoyed a comfortable victory on his return to Portsmouth for the opening race of the Lakeside 5k Series.
The Chichester athlete was pleased with the way he paced his effort to finish with a time of 16min 01sec.
It continued his excellent record in the competition which he has always ran well in over the years in its many different guises.
City of Portsmouth and Southampton were very well represented among the leading runners as 114 people in total completed the 5k.
Havant’s Chris Spinks took a good second place as he ran 16.18 with Southampton’s Tom Stevens in third (16.28).
Sarah Kingston finished first lady with a time of 18.17, just ahead of under-13 runner Annie Mann (18.26) and City’s Emma Jolley (18.27).
Weather conditions were difficult with a very strong head wind for the more open sections of the course at Lakeside North Harbour.
Baker got clear after a mile or so and picked up his pace to open a winning advantage.
He said: ‘The 5k went well. It felt very easy in the first mile.
‘I put in a long, hard effort just before one mile and got a good lead at halfway, then I could relax a little during final mile.
‘I left it a bit late to go sub 16 despite a dash for the line when I saw the clock.
‘Getting the win and feeling comfortable was the main thing.
‘That was my 29th Portsmouth 5k win in the series over the various different courses it has been held on.
‘I’m missing the next race of the series but plan to compete in the final three events. Hopefully it will be less windy next time.’
City got a number of successes across the various age categories.
Callum Crook recorded a personal best time of 16.48 as he finished fifth overall and was first under-17.
Adam Kimber (u20m), Holly Wilkinson (u15g), Paul Bleach (vm50), Martin Williams (vm55), Katie Simister (u20w) and Emma Montiel (vw40) all picked up wins.
City coach Vince Stamp was supporting his athletes and felt they did well.
He said: ‘Callum has now got personal bests over five different events since the winter season finished.
‘I said before that I was certain he’d run a personal best. He ran a smart race. The hard work put in over the winter is paying off.
‘Both Holly Wilkinson and Daisy Wilkinson ran personal bests as well.
‘Well done to all the athletes who were racing.’
Adam O’Hara ran well on his birthday to finish 14th (17.27).
Pete Collins led the Portsmouth Joggers contingent with a good run (17.53).
George Garratt (19.46) and Robert Langley (23.05) also raced well after they both completed the London Marathon on Sunday.
David Fleet led the way for Fareham Crusaders (18.34), while Joel Burchett, of Portsmouth Triathletes, ran 16.58.
The second race in the series takes place on Wednesday, May 23.