Athletics: Hackett defies atrocious conditions to lift South Cheshire title
TWO Local runners defied atrocious conditions to record their first ever victories on the road.
South Cheshire Harrier Nicholas Hackett and Laura Thompson, of Trentham Running Club, were victorious in the South Cheshire 20-mile road race at the weekend.
Despite strong winds and driving rain, Hackett took up the pace to establish an early lead.
Once away from the pack, he maintained the pressure to score a convincing victory in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 33 seconds.
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The 33-year-old runner, from Crewe, was delighted with his victory. He said: "It is the toughest race I have ever run due to the conditions, and it was just a case of holding it together as it became very cold over the last four miles. I was so wet that I was just glad to get to the finish. Winning is a real bonus."
Colin Gell (Sale Harriers) finished just under two minutes behind the winner in 2.12.31, with Cliff Martin (Eryri Harriers) third in 2.13.45.
The women's race saw 28-year-old Thompson, from Burslem, make her intentions clear from the start as she swept into an early lead, and from then on was in total control throughout.
She maintained her concentration to the finish to record a victory in 2 hours 22 minutes 2 seconds.
She said: "I am absolutely delighted to have knocked to knock almost seven minutes off my previous best set in the Stafford 20. It is so unexpected due to the conditions; it shows my training is paying off."
Trentham team-mate Deborah Thomas also experienced the loneliness of the long distance runner as she claimed second place in 2.25.22 ahead of Amy Gamble (Stone Master Marathoners) 2.35.00.
THE final race of the Stone Master Marathoners' Spring Treble series saw Jason Burgess, of Staffordshire Moorlands, complete his hat-trick with another victory, this time on the Barlaston Downs course.
Burgess was brimming with confidence as he started in pole position after the previous two races and swept into an early lead and finished in 29 minutes 54 seconds to become the series champion.
He said: "I like local events in great locations and have benefited physically from the effort I have had to put in to stay at the front of a talented field."
Second place went to Nicholas Hackett (South Cheshire Harriers) in 31.13 with Robin Hope (Staffs Moorlands) third in 31.32, which was good enough to give him second place in the series.
Staffordshire Moorlands also won the team title.
Trentham's Deborah Thomas pulled out all the stops in the women's race to score an excellent victory in 35 minutes 12 seconds, with the winner of the previous two races, Audrey Wilson (Wolverhampton and Bilston), in the runner-up spot 12 seconds adrift.
However, it was good enough for Wilson's to claim the overall championship with Thomas in second place overall, ensuring Trentham took the team championship.