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Victory 5 road race start

Sharp Pace By Matt In Victory 5

Portsmouth AC's Victory 5 road race is 77 years old and still going strong...

The Victory 5 has to be one of the oldest continuously held road races in the UK having been promoted by City of Portsmouth AC since 1946, and the 77th event took place on Sunday 3 December 2023 with 562 finishers in 1:34:05.

This super-fast race often makes its mark on the annual UK five-mile rankings and previous winners include event record holders Rob Denmark (Basildon AC, 22:43) and Nnenna Lynch (USA, 25:35).

The cold and damp conditions meant this was not a vintage year for fast times but that did not stop the 2017 champion Matt Sharp (Ryde Harriers, 23:50) going fifth on the UK rankings for 2023 despite missing his PB by nine seconds.

Matt was kept on his toes by the 2021 winner Alex Teuten (Southampton AC, 24:04) – seven seconds outside his best time – and Jack Woods (Worthing & District Harriers, 24:18 PB).

Just the top three men went under 25 minutes this year but there were nearly 80 inside 30 minutes, including the leading women. Steph McCall (Clapham Chasers, 27:57 PB) led the way from W35 Emily Wicks (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC, 28:27) and W35 Bryony Proctor (Kent AC, 28:43) – revising her 2015 PB by one second!

Former GB international Emily Wicks must be due another victory in the Victory 5 – she won this race in 2016 and has since finished 4th in 2018; 3rd in 2019 and 2021 and runner-up in 2022 and 2023.

The Victory 5 course winds around Lakeside North Harbour, Portsmouth starting from Central Square with free parking close to the start, finish and registration. Lakeside North Harbour is described as the South Coast's premier business camp and is set in stunning 130-acre landscaped grounds with more than 50 companies and nearly 5,000 jobs created. It is also a fine venue for running events and has even hosted Segway racing!     

Victory 5 was the sixth race of the Hampshire Road Race League that comprises 13 fixtures between September 2023 and July 2024 – full details here. 

Results and previous event reports at the runABC South race listing here.

Library photo courtesy Nice Work race management

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