Culford School hosts the Suffolk Country Cross Country Championships

Justine Anthony on her way to victory in the senior ladies' race at the Suffolk County Championships

Justine Anthony on her way to victory in the senior ladies' race at the Suffolk County Championships, with Culford School's historic Iron Bridge in the background. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Culford School was the venue for this year’s Suffolk County Cross Country Championships. Carl Marston was there, as a spectator rather than a competitor

The under-13 girls get underway in their race at Culford School. Winner Ruby Vinton (No. 424) is alr

The under-13 girls get underway in their race at Culford School. Winner Ruby Vinton (No. 424) is already in the lead. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Jack Millar and Justine Anthony scooped the senior titles at the annual Suffolk County Cross Country Championships, held at Culford School near Bury St Edmunds on Sunday.

It was a very successful day for the county, with a record field in the senior women’s event (95 finishers) and the second-biggest field ever assembled for the men’s equivalent.

There was also some excellent competition in the younger age groups on a cold but dry day, with a keen wind.

The race route around the playing fields, in front of Culford Hall, and alongside the narrow Culford Lake and over the Grade I listed Iron Bridge (fifth oldest iron bridge in the world), was muddy in parts but it was generally a fast course.

Competitors in the senior and under-20 women's race stream over the Iron Bridge during the Suffolk C

Competitors in the senior and under-20 women's race stream over the Iron Bridge during the Suffolk County Championships at Culford School. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott


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Millar, a steeplechase specialist on the track, was for a while involved in a ding-dong battle with Norman Shreeve at the head of the senior men’s race, around a 12K course.

A talented member of Ipswich Harriers, Millar had won the under-17 county title in 2015, and the under-20 crown in 2016, and he duly added the senior championship to his collection with a time of 40mins 04secs.

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Millar had won the Great Bentley Friday Five in a cracking 24:12 last summer, while on the cross country circuit last winter the Bath University student had finished 11th in the under-20 race at the English National Championships in Nottingham, and 17th at the British Universities Champs in Sheffield.

Last Sunday, he ran very strongly during the second half of the race to open up a gap of 42 seconds by the finish, from runner-up Shreeve, of Cambridge & Coleridge.

Twin sisters Maddie Jordan-Lee (No. 208) and Millie Jordan-Lee (No. 209) lead the way in the under-1

Twin sisters Maddie Jordan-Lee (No. 208) and Millie Jordan-Lee (No. 209) lead the way in the under-17 women's race at Culford. Maddie was first and Millie second, in the same time. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

The top five was completed by Craig Fiddaman, who led home the winning Ipswich JAFFA team in third, West Suffolk AC’s Michael Bartram and City of Norwich AC’s Dominic Oliver.

The winners in the various veteran age groups were spread around the clubs.

Hadleigh Hares’ John Scaife (over-40), Felixstowe Road Runners’ David Solomon (over-50), Newmarket Joggers’ Greg Davis (over-55) and Waveney Valley AC’s Bill Kingaby (over-65) all topped their sections, as did the JAFFA trio of Keith Tilley (over-45), Brian Rogers (over-60) and Roy McCullough (over-70).

Meanwhile, there was no stopping Justine Anthony in the senior women’s race, which was held over a 8K distance.

Justine Anthony on her way to victory in the senior ladies' race at the Suffolk County Championships

Justine Anthony on her way to victory in the senior ladies' race at the Suffolk County Championships, with Culford School's historic Iron Bridge in the background. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

A former student at Birmingham University, and then the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Anthony enjoyed a winning margin of 56 seconds at Culford.

A long-time member of West Suffolk AC, Anthony also now runs for Loughborough Students.

Over-45 veteran Odette Robson, of the Bury-based Saint Edmund Pacers, took second place and was a comfortable 27 seconds clear of Ipswich JAFFA’s Laura Thomas, who was in turn 13 seconds ahead of club-mate Sara Bird. JAFFA completed the senior team double.

It was in fact the third year that Robson had finished second in this race, although she did land the title in 2015 at Ickworth Park.

Justine Anthony on her way to victory in the senior ladies' race at the Suffolk County Championships

Justine Anthony on her way to victory in the senior ladies' race at the Suffolk County Championships, with Culford School's historic Iron Bridge in the background. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

The first races of the day were for the under-11s, which saw good wins for the West Suffolk duo of Thomas Taylor and Amelie Taylor.

Lewis Sullivan, of the Pacers, was first home in the under-13 boys’ race, finishing 13 seconds clear of Harriers’ Elliot Gladwell, with team-mate Oliver Hitchcock four seconds further back in third.

Ben Bayly, who had won the under-13 title just 12 months ago, negotiated the step up to under-15 level with ease. He won from Harriers’ Charlie Turner and his Pacers’ club-mate Tom Henson.

Harriers’ athletes clinched both the under-17 and under-20 crowns, Nathan Goodard following up his under-15 win from last year with success in the under-17 age group, and Alex Tripp enjoying a big victory in the under-20s.

Competitors in the senior and under-20 women's race stream over the Iron Bridge during the Suffolk C

Competitors in the senior and under-20 women's race stream over the Iron Bridge during the Suffolk County Championships at Culford School. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Top-class runner Ruby Vinton triumphed in the under-13 girls’ race by a huge margin of 57 seconds, over the 3K course, from Lila Battell and Amy Goodard. Vinton had won the under-11 race at the start of 2017.

Holly Fisher retained her under-15 championship, finishing just nine seconds ahead of April Hill, with Katie Challinor in third. All three are members of Ipswich Harriers.

Twin sisters Maddie and Millie Jordan-Lee, of Stowmarket Striders, were first and second respectively in the under-17 women’s race. Both were credited with the same time. Lily Woodruff won the under-20 accolade.

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