A local runner, Matthew Bennett of Southampton Athletic Club, has won this year’s B&Q Eastleigh 10k road race.
Bennett completed the 6.2 mile course in 30 minutes 47 seconds.
Runners from Southampton AC and St Mary’s University worked hard as teams to keep themselves in contention at the front of race and by the 6k point a seven-man group had broken clear.
It could have been any one of four as they rounded the corner for the home straight in Fleming Park but the Southampton runner managed to hit the line first with a pair of St Mary’s runners snapping at his heels.
Karl Billington was second at 30:52 and Ollie Lockley third at 30:54.
After the race Bennett said “working together as a pack just gave us enough to push on down the home straight”
The result was a personal best for him – last year Bennett finished the race in 33 minutes.
The strong performance by Southampton AC saw them take the men’s team prize with St Mary’s coming second.
The Women’ event was won by Helena Tobin who runs for Brighton and Hove Athletic Club in 34 minutes 29 seconds.
A delighted Tobin revealed that she ran her first ever 10k at Eastleigh and had set her a personal best on the course last year.
Amy Clements of Kent AC was second at 34:45 and Rotherham Harriers’ Annabelle Grady third at 35:35.
Over 2,500 runners had lined up for the early morning start on Passfield Avenue in bright though slightly windy conditions.
Many runners were supporting a charity and this included some of this year’s General Election contenders.
Current Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton was running for The Mayor’s Appeal while Conservative rival Mims Davies was supporting CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young). Labour’s Mark Latham ran for Keyring – while wearing his Candidate’s rosette!
The election hopefuls were grouped quite closely throughout the race and finished within 5 minutes of each other.
Latham romped home at 1 hour 5 minutes – a personal best, Thornton was second at an hour and eight and Davies followed soon after at 1 hour 9 minutes.
Even, so all three would have struggled to overtake the town’s previous MP Chris Huhne who in 2010 sped round the course 52 minutes 6 seconds en route to a live BBC TV election debate.
“Hopefully the last time I come last,” quipped Mims as the three exchanged some good-natured banter and even shared a water bottle.
While other gasping finishers were collapsing all around them, our local candidates still found enough puff for a few words over the microphone.
Latham revealed he’d been monitoring his heart-rate throughout while Thornton confessed the race had been “bloody hard”.
Mims Davies took the opportunity to highlight her chosen charity CRY.
The morning ended with a 2k children’s fun run staged in two age groups.
This was the 31st running of the race and competitors praised the fast flat course and organization.
The increasing popularity of running as a leisure activity suggests that the event will continue to go from strength to strength.