Crane grabs first place

ILFORD AC contested the second event in the current Winter League Series of four races over five kilometres on a testing course at Bexley on Saturday afternoon. Stephen Crane (pictured right) immediately looked a class apart from the others in a large fie

ILFORD AC contested the second event in the current Winter League Series of four races over five kilometres on a testing course at Bexley on Saturday afternoon.

Stephen Crane (pictured right) immediately looked a class apart from the others in a large field, with his only challenger being Kent teenager Jonathan Hobbs, from Medway & Maidstone AC.

Hobbs breathed down his neck early on, but Crane easily won in 24.21 minutes, with Hobbs 62 seconds behind him.

Recent returnee Francisco Reis was in third for most of the race, until Steve Uttley produced a big effort on the final circuit going up a long climb.

The latter went on to finish third in 26.09 with Reis fourth in 26.30, a satisfying result on his third race back after a long lay off.

Former captain Dave Kates looked sharp on his way to a seventh-place finish of 28.40 in his first race since early August. Dave Sharp came 10th in 30.20, while Alan O'Rawe and Olly Browne both clocked a time of 32.23 to finish 13th and 14th, with O'Rawe getting the nod by the width of his vest.

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Ilford won the team award to move to the top of the league table after two events.

Elsewhere, former national and international champion Peter Ryan travelled to the Isle of Man to race in Sunday's 10 Miles Peel-to-Douglas meeting.

Commonwealth Games walker Steve Partington showed the field a clean pair of heels to win, ahead of another former national and international champion in Sean Hands, from the Isle of Man.

Ryan and the Manxman fiercely fought it out for fourth and fifth spots, with the Ilford man placing fifth by a split-second in 1:29.59.

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