Brilliant atmosphere for superb Portsmouth race
Ashley Leigh picked up a well earned victory in the excellent Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon.
It was another very popular race for the city with good weather as well.
Sunshine helped and there were plenty of cheers from supporters out on the course.
Clubs were well represented with Portsmouth Triathletes taking the team prize ahead of Portsmouth Joggers in second.
Baffins Fitclub had a huge turnout as they certainly made their mark on the popular race.
Fareham Crusaders, Gosport Road Runners, Isle of Wight Road Runners and the Victory club, from Havant, were all out in force as well.
Leigh, from Southsea, led most of the way around the course and managed to open up a commanding advantage.
He kept pushing hard even though he was out on his own and finished the mixed terrain course in 1hr 20min 12sec.
Second went to Matt Dixon (1.22.30) after a good battle with Dave Haydon who was in third place (1.23.37).
Jennifer Millett secured the prize for first lady with a good strong run as she finished in 1.30.21 with Lisa Hale second (1.35.36) and Madeleine Armstrong third (1.36.11).
Organiser Rob Piggott enjoyed the good start to his 2018 Believe & Achieve events calendar with 870 finishers and lots of fantastic times set as runners relished the challenge.
He said: ‘It was such a brilliant atmosphere with people cheering all around the course.
‘Ashley was awesome, it’s nice to have a local boy taking the victory and he led pretty much from start to finish.
‘He was out on his own and he had to zig zag his way down the seafront a bit in the final stages.
‘Jennifer Millett had a good run to finish first lady and she was pretty chuffed.
‘We’re looking forward to our 2019 event already which will be the 10th anniversary of the half marathon.
‘The course has changed a fair bit over the years. In the first two years we started it from the lifeboat station down at Ferry Road.
‘We had a few years where runners had to go around Old Portsmouth and after we had to change it again when there was damage to the seafront so we had to have people coming back past the finish which wasn’t so popular.
‘The event has come on a lot since we started it and this is always a good way for us to start the year.’
Next up will be the start of the three-race duathlon series.
Talented multi-sport racers Piotr Meller and Kelly Stokes, of Portsmouth Triathletes, were crowned the champions from 2017.
Piggott added: ‘Entries are going well for the duathlons and we are starting the series a month earlier this year so it will be interesting.’
The duathlon opener is on Sunday, February 25.