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Superb Starkey takes age group win in the Preston Marathon

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

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IN THE Preston Half Marathon Oliver Starkey won the Under-20 award with a fine performance in kind conditions.

By the halfway point Starkey found himself in fourth place, but he lost ground to three others before hauling a place back in the final run-in to the finish.

He crossed the line in sixth place, beating his personal best by more than two minutes.

In the Weston Five Mile road race Mark James went off fast and had battled to hold third place by halfway.

As the race unfolded James was passed and slid down to seventh position, before finding the speed to overhaul two others in the final sprint and finish in a best placing of fifth.

James recorded a PB over the five-mile distance in a time of 28 minutes, 45 seconds, only three seconds outside his father John's PB.

James senior also ran, recording a time of 42.45 for 205th place.

In the McCain UK Challenge series Rachel Underhill continued her return to racing after a long autumn injury, improving seven places on her 2012 result.

Underhill finished in 26th and placed second for her university team, helping them to go on to win the team victory.

In the more challenging environment of the Brecon Beacons, Austin Blackburn took on the Fan Dance Race, which is a 14-mile out and back mountain race departing from the Storey Arms, climbing over Pen Y Fan and down to the Talybont Reservoir.

An early mistake cost Blackburn and a small group of lead runners ten minutes, with low cloud proving hard to navigate through.

They worked their way back through to the front of the field by halfway.

The deep snow and icy descents made the going difficult, and as Blackburn summited Pen Y Fan for the second time he found himself in second place.

As he raced down the final descent with only one mile remaining Blackburn stopped to assist a walker who had sustained a broken leg after falling on the ice, eventually finishing in sixth position.

TWO MILE TRACK RACE: 1 Kyran Hale (U20) 10:04.5, 2 Harry Bishop (U17) 10:26.8 (PB), 3 Mark James 10:38.3 (PB), 4 Matt Atkins 10:41.6 (PB), 5 Oliver Starkey (U20) 11:06.2, 6 Steve Hale 12:26.8.

Hardwicke Four Mile: 2 Harry Bishop (U17) 21.39 (PB), 3 Matt Atkins 22.04 (PB), 7 Oliver Starkey (U20) 23.07, 14 Steve Maguire 24.53.

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