Saltaire Striders romp it in Peco Cross-Country League

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford-Airedale's Gerard Mills was 35th in the Peco Cross-Country League race at West Park Bradford-Airedale's Gerard Mills was 35th in the Peco Cross-Country League race at West Park

Saltaire Striders’ men won the fourth race in the Peco Cross-Country League at West Park in Leeds on February 16.

With three in the top ten and the final three scorers packing well, they scored 293 points for a clear victory over Abbey and Rothwell.

Simon Pass enjoyed the tough two-lap course over drenched playing fields and treacherous muddy climbs and descents through the woods behind Beckett Park.

Several runners lost their footing and returned caked in mud, though it did not dampen the enthusiasm of almost 600 diehards.

Pass was outsprinted by Colin Walker (Pudsey & Bramley), who won in 33min 25sec.

Despite the bright sunshine, the underfoot conditions made the five-mile course produce times worthy of a 10K.

The top eight had a minute’s gap on the field. Saltaire’s Andy Bedford was fifth, while team captain Will Kerr, in eighth, suffered from running the Bradford parkrun the previous day.

Newcomer Girma Ayana ran his first cross-country, finishing an impressive 18th. Team-mate Sam Wallis was 38th of the scorers.

Airecentre Pacers’ Will Morris ran excellently in 11th, while Ilkley’s Matthew Newell (13th), Eccleshill’s James Goodall (30th) and Bradford-Airedale’s Gerard Mills (35th) were all prominent.

Saltaire host the final race this Sunday at Northcliffe Park, Shipley, lying in third place. They retain an outside chance of overhauling Valley Striders and current leaders Abbey Runners.

The club also top the Veterans' League with an almost unassailable lead.

Mick Chambers has been scoring impressively as the over-60 counter, while Jack Verity and Stuart Dunbar in the over-50s have been well-supported by over-40s Simon Pass, Martin Fillingham, Ali Nash and others throughout the season.

Saltaire Ladies are tied for fourth with the strong Wetherby Runners, for whom Pauline Morris was first finisher at West Park (36:36 and 27th overall). Steph Wilson was 12th, just behind Eccleshill’s Claire Hern.

The final race in the West Yorkshire Winter League is also this Sunday, at Stainland.

Baildon were overtaken by Leeds-Bradford Triathlon at the penultimate race at Temple Newsam, but still have prospects for a best-ever third spot.

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