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Kent AC's John Gilbert proves uncatchable as he secures hat-trick of titles at the Kent Cross-Country Championships

Battle commences in the senior men's race at the 2013 Kent Cross-Country Championships. Picture: Martin Apps

John Gilbert of Kent AC was the only defending champion to retain a title at the Kent Cross-Country Championships at the County Showground, Detling on Saturday.

Gilbert, right, clinched a third successive senior men's crown with a 1min06sec win second win over Blackheath & Bromley's Andy Rayner. Michael Coleman, of Medway and Maidstone, was third. Tonbridge AC's junior champion from last year, Keiran Reilly, finished fourth.

Tonbridge won the team and the 12-to-score Duodec trophies.

The senior women's title went to Elaine Murty of Blackheath and Bromley, although not before an impressive effort from last year's junior winner, Emily Hosker-Thornhill.

Thornhill took an immediate lead before withdrawing with illness while Claire Elms, of Dulwich, took second and, at 49, became the oldest-ever athlete to win an individual county medal. Maria Heslop of Paddock Wood was third.

Blackheath took the main team honours with Medway and Maidstone taking the six-to-score prize.

In the young athletes boys' events there were wins for Noah Armitage Hookes (Cambridge Harriers, under-13s), Chris Cohen (Tonbridge, under-15), Corey De’ath (Tonbridge, under-17) and Adam Gilbert (Medway and Maidstone, under-20).

In the girls' events Holly Page (Dartford Harriers, under-13), Sabrinha Sinha (Cambridge Harriers, under-15), Amy Old (Invicta, under-17) and Nicola Wilkinson (Tonbridge, under-20), took the honours.

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