Bury retain cup in heavy conditions

Cross Country ChampionshipsSAINT Edmund Pacers retained the Southgate Cup by winning the senior men's team on countback from Ipswich Jaffa. Both clubs finished with 14 points, although the Pacers' fourth scorer finished ahead of his counterpart.

Cross Country Championships

SAINT Edmund Pacers retained the Southgate Cup by winning the senior men's team on countback from Ipswich Jaffa. Both clubs finished with 14 points, although the Pacers' fourth scorer finished ahead of his counterpart.

Peter Barker, who finished highest for the Pacers in fifth, was supported by Steve Robinson (eighth), David Reed (13th) and Julian Long (15th) in the successful Pacers' quartet. It was the fifth year in a row that the Bury St Edmunds club had won the title.

Great Britain international Kelvin Hardy powered to the individual victory.


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Hardy made light of the heavy conditions to retain his senior men's county title in 45min 46sec.

Paul Holley, a veteran from Newmarket Joggers, was the closest challenger to Hardy. He was more than two minutes adrift, but was still an impressive second in 48.13.

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Youngster Sara Bird, of West Suffolk AC, won a closely-fought senior women's race. Bird has enjoyed success throughout the various age groups, including a victory at under-20 level last year and she produced a strong display of front-running at Hadleigh in her first appearance at a senior level.

Bird was just 11 seconds ahead of an in-form Helen Decker, who is in the middle of training for April's London Marathon.

There was an eye-catching run from Val Gladwell, of host club Hadleigh Hares. She was an excellent third to scoop an individual bronze medal.

American-born sensation Greg Billington blasted to victory in the under-20 men's race. The Newmarket teenager shot to fame by becoming the first Suffolk runner to win an individual gold medal at the Inter-Counties Championships in Nottingham last season.Among the younger age groups, Saint Edmund Pacers took an individual and team gold in the under-13 girls' race. Justine Anthony was four seconds clear of West Suffolk AC's Madeline Davies, with Holbrook High School's Hannah Peterson in third. The successful Pacers team was made up of Anthony and Elin Grose and Lauren Clipstone.

West Suffolk AC provided the female winners in both the under-15 and under-17 age categories. Abigail Marriott had opened up a big gap by the end of the under-15 race, with Harriers' Emma Burroughs in second, while Zara McLoone was more than a minute clear of the field in the older age group.

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