Grand Prix V, Werrington

Seventeen year old Alex Hampson became the youngest ever winner of the Peterborough Grand Prix 5k series, after securing the title with a fine run at Werrington on Wednesday evening. The Bourne based Nene Valley Harrier gained his third win of the series, in a race that fully lived up to its billing as a showdown between three of the best young distance runners to emerge on the local scene for some years.

Hampson, along with his Nene Valley teammate Lloyd Kempson, and Werrington Jogger Anthony Johnson were all in with a chance of winning the series, and the tension on the start line was palpable. To add to the nerves of the trio, Steve Robinson of Peterborough AC and French based Yorkshireman, Mark Rushworth set off at an unexpectedly fast speed, leaving the title contenders trailing in their wake.

With the race approaching its halfway distance the two leaders started to slow, and we're caught and overtaken by the Hampson. Kempson and Johnson group, who were running stride for stride.

Hampson, aided by his experienced coach Mike Prosser, has become something of a master tactician, and made his move at the four kilometre mark, adding to his lead with every stride and crossing the line in a PB of 15:23. which moved him up to second place in the national rankings for his age group. Hampson admitted after the race that the early pace had taken its toll, and that he felt he was running on lactic acid from the moment he made his run for home. Runners up spot in the race and the series went to Kempson who, although 11 seconds behind the leader was delighted to improve his PB by 12 seconds. Anthony Johnson came in just a second behind Kempson, in what was also his quickest ever outing over the distance.

The early pacemakers Robinson and Rushbrook faded to finish 4th and 5th, each with a time of 15:58, whilst Rhys Goddard of Nene Valley Harriers came in 6th, dipping under 16 minutes for the first time.

Fast times were not restricted to the men, and Cat Foley, of Nene Valley Harriers was first lady home in 17:49. Foley has concentrated on track racing this summer, and her only outing of the summer on the road delivered a PB for the Stamford based athlete.

Ladies series winner, Grace Mullins, made it a 1-2 for Nene Valley, finishing in 18:35, with Mellisa Neal of March AC hot on her heals in third Place.

The curtain raising junior 3k race was won by Nene Valley's Nandeli Palembe ahead of Daniel Ridley of the St Neots club, Riverside Runners. Ethan Ellison of Nene Valley ran well to finish third. The Nene Valley clean sweep was completed by Amelia Monaghan who comfortably finished first girl in 10:51. Monaghan team mate, Josephine Fortune, finished second lady just ahead of the Kettering based middle distance specialist Dannielle McCann Gaskell.

The series prizes will be presented after The Barney Memorial 5k. which takes place in Ferry Meadows on Wednesday 19 August with a 7:00pm start.

Barry Warne