Thorp sets a first in Promenade 5K

Action from the first round of the 2011 Promenade 5K Pic: Ian Burnett
Action from the first round of the 2011 Promenade 5K Pic: Ian Burnett
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Cassie Thorp continued her superb progress with a record-breaking display in round one of the Promenade 5k Road Race Series.

The Portsmouth athlete finished second in the women’s event as Southampton AC’s Ceri Mitchell took the honours.

But both runners made their mark, making it the first time in the history of the race that two women have broken the 17-minute barrier.

Mitchell crossed the finish line in an excellent time of 16min 44sec, placing her seventh in the overall UK rankings.

City of Portsmouth ace Thorp, meanwhile, was just 10 seconds adrift.

That kept up the 23-year-old’s huge promise since she decided to quit playing football for Pompey Ladies last year to concentrate on her athletics.

There was a close encounter for the third spot, with only two seconds separating City of Portsmouth’s Jess Chen and Lorna Russell of Winchester & District.

Chen, still a junior, recorded a personal best time of 17.33 to place her joint second in the national under-20 rankings.

With Gavin Jones, who competed in the London Marathon last month, also producing a solid time of 16.32 to finish eighth overall, City of Portsmouth coach Gerry North was delighted with how his athletes fared.

He said: ‘Carrie Mitchell beat both Karrie Blake and Cassie Thorp in the Eastleigh 10k.

‘I told Cassie to have a go this time and she certainly did that.

‘To have two inside 17 minutes shows how good her performance was.

‘Jess Chen, who has started training with me, ran a PB, as did Gavin Jones after running the London Marathon.

‘It was a good night overall.’

The Promenade 5k, which is hosted jointly by City of Portsmouth and Havant athletics clubs, saw business as usual in the men’s race as reigning champion James Baker kept up his winning streak.

The Chichester athlete was the first home in 15.21, nine seconds ahead of Winchester & District’s Phillip Berntsen

Chichester’s Dan Bailey, was the top junior in fourth place overall with a time of 15.55, followed by Toby Brimecome (16.20) from City of Portsmouth.

In the veteran categories, Tony Randell picked up the top over-40 spot once again but newcomers to the race came out top in both the over-45 and over-50 categories.

Tad Dicker, of Aldershot, Farnham & District moved to fourth in the 2011 M45 UK rankings with a time of 16.08.

And Veterans AC athlete Tim Ellis went even better to take second place in the M50 national rankings with a 16.23 performance.

The M60 and M70 winners of 2011, Peter Young and William Davies, continued to dominate their age categories.

In the women’s veteran section, Jane Harrop, a category winner last year, continued her good form to take the over-50 race.

Now competing for Chichester Runners, Harrop’s 19.16 performance earned third place in the national rankings.

The next race in the series is on Wednesday, June 1 and will be closely followed by the D Day 10k on Sunday, June 5.