Athletics: Vernon on a high after setting new best on way to retaining Aviemore title
MANDY Vernon produced a brilliant run to retain her title and set a new course record with a personal best performance at the Aviemore Highlands Half-Marathon in Scotland.
The Trentham Running Club veteran from Fenton swept into the lead from the gun and then dominated the race.
Paying little respect to the difficult route, which included trail paths in the first six miles or so, Vernon quickly left her challengers floundering.
She continued to pile on the pace throughout to extended her advantage to just under six minutes by the finish as she stopped the clock in a time of 1 hour 20 minutes 38 seconds.
60cm electric double oven
ONLY 459.90 and thats delivered Fast & free rom our vast warehouse stocks
Why not visit our Longton cooker centre for a look
The best deal is on your doorstep - only condition is you have to be prepaired to shop locally, supporting a local firm and live within 25 miles of one of our branches
How good is that?
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Sunday, June 02 2013
In doing so, the 41-year-old knocked more than two minutes off her best time for the distance, set when winning last year's race.
So impressive was Vernon's performance that she finished 11th overall out of the 500 runners who completed.
She said: "This is one of my best ever runs. I am really pleased to retain the title with a personal best performance.
"There was a lot of climbing in the first seven miles, but the conditions were good – there was no wind, although it was cool.
"I felt confident as I had done two weeks of very hard training beforehand.
"My target was to try to set a new record, so it all went to plan.
"I will now concentrate on cross-country in the main up to Christmas, but I'll also aim for a 10k road race and try to set a best for the distance before the end of the year too."
Second place went to Gillian Carr of Corstorphine in a time of 1.26.34 with Amelia Lloyd of Hunters Bog Trotters third in 1.87.48.
Debbie Thomas made it a highly successful weekend for Trentham Running Club when she stormed to victory in the Sandbach 10k road race.
Thomas, the winner of the event in 2007 and runner-up in 2008, threw down the gauntlet from the gun as she sped quickly to the front.
From then on, she was always in control, taking the tape in 40 minutes 25 seconds. She said: "I am delighted to win, but disappointed with my time as my plan was to try to break the 40-minute barrier.
"But I just went for it – it is the first time I have ever taken the lead from the start of a race."
Unattached runner Sarah Roberts took second spot in a time of 42.59 while Zoe Gmerek (Sale Harriers) was third in 45.06.
Stuart Doyle scored a comfortable victory for Vale Royal AC in the men's race, finishing in 34.49.
That was well clear of Graham Houghton (Spectrum Striders) and Nicholas Hackett (South Cheshire Harriers).
STAFFORDSHIRE Moorlands produced a creditable performance to finish 20th against some tough opposition in the national women's four-stage road relay championships at Clumber Park near Worksop.
Kerry Marchant finished the opening stage in 32nd place in a time of 13.14.
Kath Lamplough lifted her team six places over the next stage, which she completed in 13.39.
Debbie Hope claimed two more scalps on the penultimate stage, which she covered in 13.51.
Ruth Watchorn-Rice then produced the fastest time of the squad, 13.09, finishing the final leg in to put them in the top 20.