Athletics: Young gun MacDonald impresses at Roding Valley

ILFORD AC s rising young star Iain Macdonald was the club s star performer at Sunday s Roding Valley half-marathon.

ILFORD AC's rising young star Iain Macdonald was the club's star performer at Sunday's Roding Valley half-marathon.

In pouring rain, Macdonald finished seventh from a field of 800 at the event hosted by Woodford Green with Essex Ladies.

The youngster ran a shrewd race that belied his tender age, starting cautiously and gradually picking his way through the field to finish in a personal best of one hour, 20 minutes and 36 seconds.

In-form Victoria Park Harrier Paul Martelletti established an early dominance and won the race with ease, crossing the line in 1:10.16, nearly four minutes ahead of Woodford Green's Bertie Powell, who still had the previous day's National Cross Country Championships in his legs.

Macdonald was ably supported by Kevin Newell, who also raced wisely to finish 15th in 1:23.02.

Robin McNelis was next home in 1:24.56 for 26th spot, with Rohan Alexander finishing in 1:37.47 for 139th.

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Two of the club's walking fraternity changed discipline for the day with Stephen Crane, 1:39.49, catching Steve Allen 1:40.08 towards the end, as the latter slowed with a calf problem. Gerry Trill completed the men's squad with 2:02.09.

In the women's race, the trio of Bree Nordin, Mel Jones and Sally Gillam used the race for next month's London Marathon preparations.

Although the three ladies were clearly unhappy with the conditions, their respective times of 1:38.17, 1:43.18 and 1:52.55 show their preparations are all well on track.

The previous day, four Ilford runners made the trip to Roundhay Park in Leeds to compete in the English National Cross Country Championships, with almost 1,500 athletes contesting the honours.

Malcolm Muir posted a more than respectable showing over the 12k course finishing in 192nd position (44.19) ahead of a very strong run from Ben Jones, 615th in 50.36. Darren Bottrill was some 200 places back in 813th with 53.13, who in turn enjoyed a similar gap on Matt Maple 1015th in 56.33.

The club now look forward to this Sunday's Essex 20-mile Road Championships at Great Bromley near Colchester.

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