In-form Vanessa feels the Burn

ILFORD AC s Vanessa Burns was among a large field of nearly 300 runners who toed the line at the Orion 15-mile trail race in Epping Forest, Chingford on Saturday. The course is famously characterised by some mercilessly tough climbs and is always very mu

ILFORD AC's Vanessa Burns was among a large field of nearly 300 runners who toed the line at the Orion 15-mile trail race in Epping Forest, Chingford on Saturday.

The course is famously characterised by some mercilessly tough climbs and is always very muddy at this time of year, but Burns (pictured), using the race in preparation for next month's London Marathon, was pleased to come through unscathed in a time of 2 hours, 20 minutes and 55 seconds.

This was a good time for the fast-improving Ilford athlete, who only took up running last year following the birth of her first child.

The race was won by Alan Smalls of Colchester Harriers, who defeated former winner Richard McCormick of Barnet with a time of 1:32.00.

On the same day, 72-year-old Pam Jones made the journey to Ruthin near Prestatyn, Denbighshire to compete in the British Masters Cross Country Championships and managed to finish first in her over-70s age group, beating the top two 65-year-olds in the process.

In the male 40s race, an in-form Iain Campbell, running for Metropolitan Police, managed a respectable 23rd in a high-class field of 87 runners, finishing sixth in the male 45 category.