Arather fitting way to bow out.
That was the view of departing race director Peter Newton after overseeing his final Victory 5-mile event in the role yesterday – on its 70th anniversary.
And while Newton joked he had not been responsible for all of those, his 37-year involvement in the race has earned him the appreciation of thousands over the years who have taken part in the iconic meeting.
The 73-year-old is a City of Portsmouth Athletics Club stalwart, whose passion for athletics and helping others ensured he broke his own vow to hand over directorship of the Victory 5 at the age of 70.
There was nobody willing and able to so at the time.
But with a suitable replacement in place and supportive wife Lynne – masters/veterans team manager at City of Portsmouth – encouranging him to enjoy taking more of a back seat, the time is now right for Newton to do just that.
But as far as cutting ties to either club or race – you can forget that.
Newton said: ‘I said I would not go beyond 70 as a race director and 70 came and went and nobody was around to take over.
‘But now for next year we have somebody who is prepared to take on the role.
‘My wife has been reminding me this is my last race as race director!
‘I wont be out of the picture altogether, though – I will still help out with a bit of admin and stuff where I can.
‘I will also still be looking after the 5k series.
‘I have been involved for 37 years so I suppose it is about time I took a back seat.
‘And the fact it was the 70th anniversary of the Victory 5 means it was a rather fitting way to bow out.
‘I’ve not been race director for that length of time, though!
‘But I have been involved in the organisation of it for 37 years and it was a good day to relinquish a little bit to others.’
And it proved to be a good day for all concerned in the event, as the weather held firm – if a little chilly – for an exciting morning of racing.
A bumper turnout, just shy of 700 competed in the prestigious Victory 5 with 30 or so others lined up to compete in a one-mile offering.
Matt Sharp, third in October’s Great South Run, claimed Victory 5 glory ahead of Phil Wicks in a hard-fought affair with home favourite Alex Teuten in third place.
Emily Wicks, wife of Phil, breezed to victory in the women’s race, while Harry Grace was first over the line in the one-mile offering.
For Newton, it was pleasing for the event to live up to its pre-race billing, with feedback particularly rewarding on a landmark occasion for more than one reason.
He added: ‘It was clear skies, a little on the cold side mind, but quite good conditions for running.
‘I think most of the althletes would class the conditions that way and we had some good times run.
‘It was a good battle between Matt and Phil – Phil is a forceful runner and was runner-up last year as well.
‘He is getting closer to winning – his wife Emily won the women’s race well and I think they were hoping to do the family double but it didn’t quite come off this time.
‘As for Alex Teuten, he ran a personal best and has had a good year all round.
‘The feedback received in phone calls and emails from the race has been very complimentary as well so that’s always nice to hear.’