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Saltaire Striders march to excellent finishes
Andy Bedford and Steph Wilson put in the performances of their lives in the third event of the five-race PECO Cross-Country League.
Bedford helped Saltaire Striders to third place in the overall table, while Wilson led the club’s ladies to fourth.
Valley and Abbey are fighting to be top men’s team, while Kirkstall Ladies are being chased by Abbey and Horsforth among the 20 teams in the two-division league.
Simon Pass was first Strider home in a fine fourth place after clocking 28min 12sec.
But Tom Adams of Ilkley put in an international-calibre run to win by over a minute in 26:13, ahead of Paul Marchant (Rothwell) and Christian Holmes (Wharfedale).
Fast-improving Bradford-Airedale youngster Pete Hopson pushed Pass hard in fifth (28:19).
Bedford finished 14th in 28:43, claiming the scalp of Kevin Ogden. Team captain Will Kerr was tenth and Gareth Ward, also improving, finished 45th (30:39).
Team positions in cross-country rely on scores from the second half of the scorers and strength in depth to push scores of rival competitors down.
Saltaire have grown into the leading club in Bradford city, with over 40 Striders members joining 735 runners congregated at Middleton Park.
Mick Chambers was an excellent 105th and first over-60. Jack Verity (111th) and the returning Andy Thornton (176th) were the club’s two over-50 counters, alongside three over-40s – Pass, Martin Fillingham (65th) and second-claimer Ian Ogden (91st).
This sextet have lifted Saltaire to the top of the PECO veterans standings.
Wilson was 13th lady (35:20), with Jen Willlingham (22nd in 36:04) and Laura Marchant (32nd in 37:15) close behind.
As with the men, the remaining counters are crucial, with Tracy Foy finishing 61st and second-claimer Tamsin Treasure-Jones 57th.
Claire Hern of Eccleshill has returned after childbirth better than ever and posted an excellent ninth place (34:44).
Rachel Pilling (Pudsey & Bramley) was seventh, with Kirkstall’s second-claimer Emma Ballantyne the fastest woman in 31:26.