Desborough’s Matt Almond (Coventry Godiva Harriers) and Kettering’s Nicole Roberts (Birchfield Harriers) were clear winners at the Stanwick 10km road race on Easter Monday.
Almond, who set the course record with 31.20 in 2009, was soon at the front of a much classier field than last year and was leading a group of six as they approached the 2km mark.
Also in the leading group were John Pike (Newham & Essex Beagles), James Drinkwater (Bedford & County AC), the 2010 winner Ben Sharman (Birchfield Harriers) and the Rugby & Northampton AC pair of Wellingborough’s Stuart Nelson and Rory Grant while Luke Montgomery (Corby AC) was an isolated seventh.
Soon after Almond was out on his own as he gradually increased his lead throughout to finish exactly a minute ahead of the runner-up in a time of 32.07.
Pike, Nelson and Drinkwater were involved in an exciting battle for second place, leaving Grant and Sharman to fight it out for fifth place.
Despite running with two cracked ribs, Pike edged out Nelson by two seconds to take the runner-up spot with Drinkwater a further three seconds adrift in fourth.
Grant and Sharman were joined by a rejuvenated Montgomery as they entered the village with 1km to go.
In a sprint for the line Grant, who was already assured of the top Under-20 prize, just edged out Montgomery (third last year in 35.16) to clinch fifth spot as the pair recorded the same time of 33.50 with Sharman two seconds behind in seventh.
Corby’s Danny Keating – running for Leicester Coritanians – finished 11th in 35.46 to finish third in the Veteran-40 section while Phil West ran well when coming 13th in 36.36 to front the Kettering Town Harriers squad who won the team competition.
Also scoring for the Harriers was Under-20 Liam Kirk, who finished a fine 22nd in 38.47 and Sean Gallagher who ran the distance in 42.06 to finish 50th.
Top finisher for Wellingborough & District AC was Jon Kemp who clocked 37.56 for 19th position.
Corby’s John Thomas came out top in the Veteran-70 section when finishing 111th in 48.12 while Darren Gibson (Team Balancise) was awarded the trophy for the first Stanwick male resident home.
First runner home for his club was Francis Hale who came 15th in 36.54 to place sixth in the Veteran-40 group.
Roberts, who failed to finish last year, made no mistake on this occasion as she coasted to a convincing victory in the ladies race.
Fresh from the cross country and about to embark on what she hopes will be an equally successful track season, the 20-year-old romped home in a time of 37.04.
In her wake Rebecca Hall turned in an excellent performance to finish second in 39.11 and lead Corby to victory in the team competition while third place in 39.58 went to former winner Maree Jesson (R&N).
Showing good form was the Team Balancise pair of Elaine O’Sullivan and Rachel Cave.
O’Sullivan’s fifth place in 41.49 easily won the Veteran-45 section while Cave, who was only two seconds behind in sixth, ran almost five minutes faster than last year to again win the trophy for the first Stanwick female resident to finish.
Also scoring for Corby was Hayley Veasey whose fine effort when covering the distance in 43.05 slotted her into 10th position and new recruit Jemma Anderson who ran well when clocking 43.13 to finish 11th.
Trudi Pike (16th in 44.29) also showed good form for Corby as did Wellingborough’s top finisher Louise Kemp who ran 44.37 to finish 17th.