It was an auspicious start to Hendy Ford’s first sponsorship of the Eastleigh 10k road race as the fastest race in years saw a new course record set in the women’s race.
In the Men’s race it was third time lucky for Adam Hickey who finished first over the line having previously finished second in both 2013 and 2014.
A record field of 2,800 runners from all over the country set off from Passfield Avenue in a chilly 5 degrees.
It was the 32nd running of the race this year’s Hendy Fordstore sponsored race featured for the first time a medal for everyone and the introduction of pacesetters to help runners achieve their time goals.
Hickey powered through the 6k water station with a clear lead over chasers Chris Zablocki and Howard Bristow and things stayed that way until the finish.
The Southend A.C runner came over the line at 29:24 – the fastest time for some years and just over a minute down on the course record of 28.29 set by Glynn Tromans in 2003.
In 2013 Hickey was second at 30:40 and last year he was runner up again at 30:03.
He told Eastleigh News :
Chris Zablocki of Chichester Runners came in at 29:46 and Howard Bristow of Brighton & Hove A.C was third at 30:57 having finished fourth last year on virtually the same time.
“It was the best run I’ve done this year I was only just outside my personal best by four seconds. It was a little bit windy but I really enjoyed it.
Hopefully if I can stay injury free I’ll be back next year”
The first woman over the line was Laura Whittle at 32:35 breaking the previous Ladies course record of 32:48 set by Laura Kenny in 2010.
Whittle’s strong performance gave her a top 20 finish overall.
The Royal Sutton Coalfield runner told Eastleigh News she had been a late entry:
“It worked out perfectly because that is a personal best for me. I enjoyed it today the support along the course was really good with everyone cheering. It’s a really friendly relaxed happy race”
But she added:
Rebecca Moore of Chichester Runners was second at 34:17 and Emma Macready running for Worthing District Harriers came in third at 34:55 having also finished third in 2012.
“That last 1k seems a long way, All along the straight through the park, you’re thinking ‘Come on finish line!”
A full results list is on the official ‘Running Mania’ website here
This year there was no repeat of last year’s ‘race within a race’ when three of the candidates in the General Election took part in the 10k to find out who was the fastest local parliamentary candidate over 6.2 miles while raising cash for charity.
Mark Latham (Labour) won last year, Mike Thornton (Lib Dem) was second and Mims Davies (Conservative) was third but when it came to polling day the placing’s were reversed.
Unfortunately this year all three have picked up injuries and have been forced to rule themselves out but Paul Bicknell was on hand to fly the flag for local politicians.
The Liberal Democrat councillor for Eastleigh South and current chair of the town’s local area committee came through like a train at 46:27.
Afterwards he told reporters he was “over the moon” to have set a personal best and to have raised £235 for the Countess Mountbatten Hospice.
Cllr Bicknell was congratulated by MP Mims Davies who, although unable to take part in the race, started the Children’s 2k fun run and handed out the winners medals afterwards.
Many other charities will benefit directly from the race including the Mayor’s Charity, Wave 105 ‘Cash for kids’ appeal, Wessex Heartbeat and Water Aid Zambia.
The water and food stations were manned by cadets from Eastleigh 11 Platoon Army Cadet Force and the race Marshalls were provided by Hampshire Search and Rescue and Eastleigh Running Club.
Other race sponsors are the Daily Echo ,Up and Running, Wave 105, Full on Sport, Fleming Park Leisure Centre and Eastleigh Parkrun.