Athletics: Rising star Brecker leads Stoke to highes finish in Birmingham league
EMERGING City of Stoke AC star Alex Brecker has led his club to their highest finish in the Birmingham Cross-Country League for more than a decade.
Stoke packed solidly to finish fifth in the final Division One fixture of the season at the Alexander Stadium. The performance ensured they also finished fifth overall.
And the 19-year-old from Betley capped some outstanding displays this winter by finishing in a season's best ninth place in Birmingham. The result also made him the league's third-placed junior overall.
Brecker, a student at Queen Mary University in London, said: "I set off harder than previously as I had decided to get into the top 10 from the start, instead of working my way through the field from back.
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"It worked, and I am pleased with the result. I think training alone in London has helped and given me confidence as I always run very hard and finish very tired after training on my own."
Seb Duffy also raised his game for Stoke with his best ever league finish in 21st place. Liam Hendricken was another to show a big improvement, as did his brother Tom.
Jack Gray (Birmingham Running Club) was the individual winner, while Loughborough were winners of the team championship.
It was not a good day for Staffordshire Moorlands, however, as their below-strength team, led by Marc Hartley in 38th place, recorded their worst result of the season.
However, thanks to good support from veteran runners they finished in 15th place, which gave them a final league position of 11th, good enough to avoid relegation.
The Division Two race, held at Pittvilla Park in Cheltenham, saw Chris Perrin (Cannock and Stafford) in brilliant form as he shook off main rival Tim Dalton (Severn AC) to triumph in 30 minutes 47 seconds. Dalton was eight seconds further back.
The race concluded an excellent season for Perrin as he completed a hat-trick of winning performances to claim the individual league title.
Perrin's twin brother, James, finished the season with another consistent performance in sixth place. Unfortunately they did not have much support as the team finished in fifth place overall to end any hopes of promotion.
Team success and the overall title went to Severn AC, who gained promotion along with Warwick University and Telford AC.
Tim Twentyman was the first finisher for Newcastle AC in 33rd place, but once again they failed to field a full side and were relegated to Division Three.
Stafford Harriers retained their Division Three status in the final fixture at Coundon Park, Coventry, with a 14th-place finish.
The result was good enough to lift them to 13th in the 18-team division and ensure they finished clear of elimination.
ENTRIES are being taken for the Knypersley five-mile race and its associated fun run.
It takes place a week on Sunday, February 24, and this year will raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care and the Biddulph branch of the Staffordshire Moorlands Cancer Support Group.
Organised by Biddulph Running Club, the race is held on trails in Greenway Bank Country Park around the Knypersley Pool and Serpentine reservoirs.
Minimum age for entry is 16, with the main race beginning at 11am.
For on-line entry and downloadable entry forms, go to www.biddulphrunningclub.co.uk. Forms are also available at Biddulph Library, Biddulph Town Hall and Biddulph Valley Leisure Centre.