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Steve Vernon takes National Crown

- 21st Feb 2011

They say endurance is patience concentrated and on Saturday Steve Vernon’s patience paid off in a big way by taking the English National Cross country Senior Men’s title at Alton Towers on a wet and muddy course.

Having finished third twice and second in his previous attempts finally at the age of 30 years old his name will go down in cross country running history for the club and himself which has added significance for the club in our centenary year.

Steve has been a club member since the age of 14-years-old and first started running at the Saturday morning Stockport Harriers’ Primary Schools Cross Country League races when he was just 8-years-old.

Steve was following in the footsteps of the cross country giants on Saturday in winning the title and will have his name etched on The Chesham Trophy alongside such running greats as Sydney Wooderson, Ron Hill, David Bedford, Brendan Foster in a race that dates back to 1867.

In the race Steve was to the fore as the gun went and the 2,000 runners fought their way around one of the muddiest courses for years.

The early battle was between Olympian and Northern Cross Country Champion Tom Lancashire of Bolton United Harriers Southern winner Neilson Hall and GB cross international Mike Skinner of Blackheath and Bromley.

At the start of the second lap the mud had taken its toll on Hall as he went backwards and Lancashire off the pace in third.

Steve began the fight for the title and pushed on with 2 miles left opening the gap on the Blackheath man who could not hang on to Steve who seemed to glide over the mud.

10 metres at first then more eventually to 100 metres as they both took the final climb and back onto the flat to huge cheers from the thousands who had congregated in the finish area to see the golden vest of Steve Vernon Stockport Harriers break the finish line tape.

Steve received congratulations from across the world at his win from the Queen of distance running Paula Radcliffe and past national winner and England team cross country manager Eamon Martin.