This weekend saw the fourth race in the Champions of the Road series take place in Preston with two new England Champions emerging from the competition.
The stormy weekend weather had settled by the morning of the race and conditions were good for endurance running and nine of the top ten runners all set personal bests over this less commonly run distance of 5 miles and the all of the top three broke the previous course record.
There was good battle for the men's champion's title between Joshua Grace of Aldershot Farnham & District AC and Jack Gray of Cambridge & Coleridge AC. It was Grace who broke away in the final stages to win by a three second margin in an impressive new course record of 23:43. Gray finished in 23:46, with the local man Rob Johnson (Southport & Waterloo AC) taking the bronze in a time of 24:23.
The women’s competition panned out a little differently with Holly Archer (Cambridge & Coleridge AC) opening up a good lead from early on in the race, to eventually take the win in a time of 27:38. Sophie Cowper (Rotherham Harriers & AAC) finished runner up in a time of 29:45, with Lucy Dowsett (Cambridge & Coleridge) taking the bronze in 30:08.
Leeds City AC men’s team looked intent from the start in adding another team medal to their growing collection at the club. The trio of Alexander Bellew, Matthew Lockyer and Mohamed Abshir all put in strong performances to securing a win for the club. Cambridge & Coleridge took the second spot, with a Lancaster & Morecambe AC taking home bronze.
Cambridge & Coleridge took the top spot in the women’s race with the trio of Archer, Dowsett and Rebecca Hair. A surprised and delighted team from Red Rose Runners which finished runners up, whilst South Cheshire Harriers finished in third.