Athletics: Raider Jones in record-breaking Stafford victory
ANDY Jones hit top form to claim a record-breaking victory in the Stafford 20-mile road race.
More than 400 runners braved the bitterly cold conditions, but Jones ensured the heat was on his rivals from the start.
The Stockport raider and 2012 winner Ben Gamble (Tipton Harriers) set the early pace, but after three miles Jones was in total control.
He moved rapidly clear of Stone policeman Gamble to lead by more than two minutes after eight miles and then three minutes by the 14-mile marker.
With the course record in his sights, Jones piled on the pressure to storm home in a new best of one hour, 43 minutes and 19 seconds.
His remarkable solo performance in the cold, windy conditions slashed 33 seconds from Chris Penny's previous best, which had stood since 1992.
Jones said: "After that performance I am now looking forward to running well in the London Marathon next month."
Gamble, who finished well clear in second in a time of 1.47.00, had the consolation of retaining his Staffordshire Championship title.
Shrewsbury's Peter Middleton took third in a time of 2.00.08.
Louise Blizzard (Belgrave Harriers) set the early pace in the women's race, with 2012 winner Tracy Entwistle (Warrington RR) and Sharon Johnstone (Wilmslow RC) in close attendance.
But by halfway Entwistle had taken control as the challenge of Johnstone and Blizzard faded.
Determined to retain her title, Entwistle powered away to triumph again in a time of 2.13.51, all of five minutes ahead of Johnstone in second place.
She said: "I am really pleased with my run and the time, as it is a new personal best for the distance."
Staffs Moorlands runner Jenny Day claimed her first county title in winning the Staffordshire Championship for the distance.
TOP performers for Staffordshire at the World Trials and Inter-counties Cross-Country Championships were the senior women's team.
Led by Tessa Parkinson (55th) and Katie Holt (77th), they finished a creditable 13th out of the 33 counties contesting the event.
The best performance by Staffs' younger runners came from City of Stoke's Lucy Holt, who produced a sound performance to finish 13th in the under-17s women's race.
Cheshire teams were in fine form to win silver medals in the under-15s girl's race and bronze in the under-20s women's championship.
DESPITE still recovering from a recent illness, Trentham runner Christine Holmes won the Donington 10-kilometre road race in a time of 40 minutes 15 seconds.