Light stars for Buxton in cross country Manchester mudbath

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Ben Light was Buxton AC’s fastest male finisher in the second round of the Manchester Area Cross Country League at Boggart Hole Clough.

Light has been a star performer for the club on the cross-country scene this year, having been the best Buxton finisher in each of the previous four races.

Light finished 43rd overall and was followed home by Nat Winfield, Rob White (in his second race of the day), David Fryer-Winder, Andy Lidstone and Neil Pearsons, who gave Buxton a 19th place finish out of the 62 competing men’s senior teams.

The race was won by Whaley Bridge based former national champion Steve Vernon.

On a muddy day in North Manchester - testing on the competitors’ thighs - the Buxton club fielded men’s and women’s teams in the senior and veteran categories.

The next veteran to finish was Stefan Ledin who helped Buxton to finish 22nd out of 56 veteran’s teams.

For the women, Amy Clark made an impressive cross-country season’s debut finishing 33rd.

Tania Wilson, Ruth Gowers and Kate Ledin formed a veteran team of three that finished in 23rd position out of 62. The same trio joined Clark to make up a senior team of four that equalled the men’s 19th position.

There were personal bests for all three Buxton AC representatives at the Derby 10 Mile race on Sunday.

In a field of over 1,200 runners, Andrew Wearden was first of the trio to cross the line in 1:16.49 for 233rd place, with Caroline Newton-Phillips 613th in 1:30.30 and Gemma Whelpton 993rd in 1:45.39.

On Saturday, the Pavilion Gardens hosted the monthly 5K, with a bumper field of 104 runners completing one, two or three laps. With the weather conditions cool and calm, there was plenty of potential for fast times and personal bests.

Robert White of Buxton AC led the race from the gun, finishing in 18:01; nearly two minutes ahead of the second placed runner, Jason Southward in 19:50, with Andrew Stokes third in 20:17.

In the ladies race, Elizabeth Nocton also led from the start, however, she needed a strong sprint finish along Broadwalk to claim the win in 25:27, narrowly holding off a late challenge from Annemarie Fitzgerald (second lady in 25:37). Adele Thornton took third place a further 10 seconds back in 25:47.

Making the most of the conditions, Gemma Clarke shaved one minute and 20 seconds off her previous best time, set only a couple of months ago, to finish as fifth lady overall in 26:13.