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Northern Cross Country Championships

- 26th Jan 2009

Stockport Harriers’ cross country international Steve Vernon was in sparkling form at this year’s North of England Cross Country Championships held at a muddy Sherdley Park, St Helens on Saturday.

Steve who finished second last year turned the tables on reigning champion David Webb with a convincing piece of cross country running to win by over 38 seconds.

In the early part of the 12km muddy race Salford’s Andy Jones took the pace out fast and whittled the group down to five runners including Steve and Olympic 1,500 metre runner Tom Lancashire of Bolton United Harriers.

Steve took the lead going out onto the first of the three large laps around the hilly course and pushed the pace at the start of the 2nd lap and had a healthy 30 metre gap as early leader Jones and Lancashire faded.

Last year’s winner Dave Webb of Leeds City tried in vain to close the gap that had grown bigger as Steve put the hammer down on the final lap to win convincingly by over 38 seconds from Webb.

Steve who trains with the Lloyds TSB Endurance Squad at Woodbank Stadium has been in good form recently and ran a close second place position behind Olympic 1,500 metre finalist and fastest miler in the World in 2008 Andy Baddely at the Edinburgh 4k Cross International two weeks ago.

Next up for Steve is one of the oldest and unique races on the international calendar that draws athletes from around the world the Cinque Moline Cross Country in Milan.

The race has been won by such luminaries as Lord Sebastian Coe and recently double Olympic champion Kenenesa Bekele, the race involves running through five water mills on route to the finish.

Andy Nixon bridged the gap from junior to senior level and had recovered sufficiently from last weekend’s race in Cardiff representing the North of England to finish 20th.

Andy has been clocking 75 miles a week over the last three months in anticipation of the move up to the senior ranks which paid off, next up for Andy the National at Parliament Hill.

Past winner of this race Bashir Hussain was next in for the team in 45th followed in by Jamie Loxam in 54th.