REIGNING champion in the keenly-fought Hampshire road race league, City of Salisbury athlete Stuart Holloway gave his club a cracking start to the new season when he won the opening fixture, the Overton 5 mile, writes JOHN RUSKIN.

No less than 104 blue ‘CoSarc’ vests completed the distance making the Salisbury club by far the most prominent of the many contesting the event.

On an undulating course made the more challenging by hot sunshine, Holloway opened up a one minute gap over his nearest challengers to cross the line in 26min 19sec for the strongest possible start to defending his title, and leading the way to an excellent A team performance.

In fifth spot came Rob Drag with a good 28.20, and he was closely followed by Ben Saunby 28.31 and Richard Davidson 28.46, third in his age group.

The club enjoyed similar success in the women’s event, Sian Thomas’s 29.53 earning second place overall less than 20seconds down on the winner.

Behind her came Ruth Thom with 31.52 who was fifth overall and second in her age category and Poppy Langdon-Down in 33.20.

The men’s B team performances, notable for all beating six minute mile pace, were led by Lee Syrett with 29.28, and he was followed by Matt Sherfield 29.31, James Mills 29.43 and James Hassan 29.57.

Mike Brewster was third in his age group with 30.23 for the C team, supported by Andy Holme 30.24, Peter Callanan 31.11 and Henry Dix 32.48.

For the women’s B team, Alex Mundell opened the account with 33.41, and behind her came Sam Hibdige 34.39 and Sarah Brewster 36.40. The C trio comprised Victoria Thomas 36.57, Heather Hitchins 38.18 and Kate Mortimer 39.19.

At Salisbury parkrun at Churchill Gardens, 15-year-old Bea Wood set a fine new national under-17 girls’ parkrun record with a speedy personal best of 16min 46sec for fourth place overall.