SUNDAY’S conditions for cross-country running may have been energy sapping, but there were some excellent performances in the annual Ryde Harriers Championship.

It may have been muddy and slippery under foot for the 97 runners who completed the 10km course from Smallbrook Stadium, Ashey, but it did not stop Gary Marshall — a new addition to the Harriers ranks — finishing well ahead of the rest of the field, to win it in 43 mins 21 secs.

Gary, 39, of Staplers Road, Newport, who is waiting for confirmation he has qualified to run in this year’s London Marathon, one of his great ambitions as a runner, was delighted with his performance.

“Last year’s experience of doing the race helped me a lot. Doing well in it was on my radar,” he said.

“The victory was very pleasing.”

Another Harriers success was Bob Somers, first vet 70, who finished in 1.15.28, while the first junior was Jimi Eldridge, who clocked 57.28.

In the women’s championship, Charlie Metcalfe (47.36) came first, making it a fourth win in succession.

Charlie, 43, of Lake, said: “I’m very pleased with how it went, but there was a lot of deep, energy-sapping mud, which obviously affected my time.

“My main focus now is the London Marathon.”

Harrier, Kath Levrier, was the first vet 65 in 1.27.09.

Running as guests in the championship were Natalie Lawrence (54.29) and Janet Fletcher (56.04), both of Wight Tri, who came second and third respectively in the women’s race.

Men’s race guests included Sean Williams, also of Wight Tri, who came third in 46.49.

The next race in the Ryde Harriers cross-country series will be the Isle of Wight Cross-Country Championships on Sunday, February 16.