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Running club enjoy their first ever league win

STARTERS ORDERS: The senior race gets underway in Haverhill Picture: Mark Westley
STARTERS ORDERS: The senior race gets underway in Haverhill Picture: Mark Westley

A Haverhill Running Club member has won a Suffolk Winter League event for the first time in the club’s history, doing it on home turf at the weekend.

The running club hosted the final event of the annual series of six cross country races on Sunday, for only the second time.

And it was led home by the club’s Michael Gilbert, who has just returned from representing the county at the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships, a feat never before achieved by a Haverhill runner.

Race director Hayley Wilson said it was ‘brilliant’ to record, not only the club’s first win, but also to do it in front of a home audience.

She said the event ‘went really well’, and attracted the same number of runners as last year, a sign of the event’s success.

There were 216 runners in the adult race while about 40 youngsters participated in the junior version, held just before.

Wilson said: “It went really well, we’re really pleased with the day.

“I think we do suffer slightly with participation as it is the last race in the series and anyone who has already run enough of the races wouldn’t come after all.

“Plus we are a little out of the way compared to some of the other Suffolk races, slightly harder to travel to and that will cost us too.

“But, even with that, I feel the numbers were good, and it’s an event we can grow over time.

“It’s certainly a goal of ours, we aspire to build the event into one that equals the more established races already in the series.

“The feedback we’ve had has been great, people liked the course, even if it was a tough one.”

Speaking of Gilbert’s achievement, she said: “He’s absolutely brilliant, he’s been developing so well.

“And it’s brilliant for the club too, to record that first win in the Winter League. And to do it on home turf too.”

The Suffolk Winter League (SWL) is a series of six cross country races run throughout winter and is only open to Suffolk running clubs.

The races are held on a Sunday and are approximately five miles over multi-terrain track and fields.

The club gains points for every member that enters and there are team prizes as well as individual prizes for age category winners although, to qualify, a runner needs to run four out of the six races.

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