Adam Clarke returning to Portsmouth looking to defend Victory 5 mile title - and make it a hat-trick of race wins

Defending Victory 5 mile champion Adam Clarke
Defending Victory 5 mile champion Adam Clarke
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Adam Clarke is back in town looking to defend his Victory five-mile title on Sunday.

The Aldershot, Farnham & District runner was the winner of last year’s race organised by City of Portsmouth AC around the Lakeside complex.

Clarke took top honours in the 72nd staging of the event in 23mins 56secs - equalling Matt Sharp's (Enfield & Haringey) winning time from the year previous.

That was the second time Clarke had tasted victory on the course, who had recorded a faster time of 23:42 on his way to victory in 2016.

Lachlan Wellington was the highest-placed local competitor last year.

The City of Portsmouth AC runner finished sixth in a time of 25:14. He was also the first under-20 male to finish.

There is an extensive prize list of more than £3,500 on offer this weekend in an event which doubles up as the fifth round of the 2019/20 Hampshire Road Race League.

Prizes will be awarded to the top six male and female finishers, plus time and race record bonuses.

First ran in 1946, this race has become one of the leading five mile events in Europe.

In the past it has attracted many leading runners from the UK and overseas.

The outright race records are held by Rob Denmark (22:43), who won gold in the 5,000m at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada.

Nnenna Lynch of the USA is the female race record holder (25:35).

The American won the gold medal at the 1997 Summer Universiade - an international sporting tournament for university students - in the women's 5,000m event which was staged in Italy.

The best times recorded in recent years both came in 2012.

Kenyan Peter Emase scissored seven seconds off the previous men’s course record to win in 22:57 while another Keynan, Agnes Chebet, broke the women’s course record.

Chebet saw off the challenge of City of Portsmouth’s Cassie Thorp to triumph in 26:43 – taking 15 seconds off the previous course record.

Four different runners have so far won the four Hampshire Road Race League events this season.

Salisbury’s Stuart Holloway was first home in the Overton 5, followed by Southampton AC’s Daniel Baker in the Solent Half Marathon, Winchester’s Toby Lambert in the Hayling 10 and Southampton AC’s Max Costley in the most recent Gosport Half Marathon.

Large groups from Portsmouth Joggers, Fareham Crusaders, Gosport Road Runners, Victory AC and Stubbington Green Runners are set to take part this weekend.