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ATHLETICS: Briscoe in seventh heaven, while Naylor seals hat-trick
OXFORD MAIL CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE AND OXON CHAMPIONSHIPS
IT was a day for multiple winners and extreme mud as Frances Briscoe and Steve Naylor triumphed at Horspath.
The pair were crowned Oxfordshire champions for a seventh and third straight time respectively in an event which doubled up as round three of the Oxford Mail League.
Runners saw the traditional route across Shotover altered, as a downhill section known as the Ridings was deemed too dangerous in the mud.
But it could not stop Briscoe, from Wantage, extending the streak she started in 2007 and Woodstock’s Naylor making it a hat-trick from three att-empts.
Briscoe, 29, clocked 21mins 47secs for the 6km course to come home 29 seconds clear of Oxford City’s Melissa Hawtin.
She has been in good form for her first-claim club Coventry Godiva Harriers this season, but was unsure how she would fare at Horspath.
“I was returning from illness, so was pleased with my performance,” said Briscoe, whose second-claim club is White Horse Harriers.
Hawtin won the Oxfordshire under 20 title, while Headington Road Runners duo Jess Leitch (23.44) and Rachel Hallam (23.47) took county senior silver and bronze respectively.
Naylor, 33, completed the men’s 9km course in 29.26secs to finish 51 seconds clear of David Bruce (Oxford City), with another City man, Darrell Bellinger, third in 31.07.
“Having won there in October’s Chiltern League, it was nice to do the double and chalk up my third straight county title,” said Naylor.
“I made my move half way up the first climb as I had made my mind up that I wanted to push the pace along the top plain.
“I pushed on again at the top of the second climb and by the time I headed into the woods to start my last descent I couldn’t see David behind me.
“The last kilometre through the mud was slightly soul destroying, but once on the grass I kicked for home.”