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Valek victorious by seconds

FORTUNATELY for the 150 intrepid competitors, the sixth annual Thanet Quicksand 15 mile multi-terrain race failed to live up to the fearful prospect suggested by the race title, writes Alan Newman.

No victims were claimed by the shifting sands between Margate and Ramsgate as the hosting club, Thanet Road Runners, celebrated the victories of Paul Valek in 1hr 37min 55 sec and the women's team headed by Stacy Pierce in sixth place.

The winning margin was just two seconds as Valek held off the late challenge of Mark Wilkins of Invicta East Kent.

The race for the final podium position was equally fierce with 22 seconds covering the next four finishers. Gary Sage (Ashford and District) was the strongest of the bunch, leaving Steve Cable (Istead and Ifield), John Wilkins (Invicta M50) and Mike Stacey (Maidstone Harriers M40) to scrap for the minor places.

Wilkins was significant in Invicta's team success as well as taking the over-50 award while Stacey was the first veteran over 40 to finish.

Heather Fitzmaurice-Cotton (Sevenoaks) had three minutes to spare over the women's field with Catherine Roberts (Tunbridge Wells) a distant runner-up and Sally Dawson (Herne Hill Harriers) claiming the first veteran prize in third place.

Results: 1 Paul Valek (Thanet) 1:37.55, 2 Mark Wilkins (Invicta) 1:37.57, 3 Gary Sage (Ashford & Dist) 1:38.26, 4 Steve Cable (Istead & Ifield) 1:38.41, 5 John Wilkins (Invicta M50) 1:38.42, 6 Mike Stacey (maidstone HM40) 1:38.48, 7 Greg Stevens (Sevenoaks M40) 1:39.01, 8 Nigel Cook (Thanet) 1:39.54, 9 Paul Tee (Ashford M40) 1:40.41, 10 Trevor Edgely (Invicta M50) 1:41.16, 11 Paul Mann (Thanet) 1:41.34, 12 Geoff Wiseman (Thurock) 1:41.36, 13 Jamie White (Tunbridge Wells) 1:42.59, 14 Bill Murphy (Maidstone H M40) 1:43.00, 15 Peter Taylor (Tunbridge Wells M40) 1:43.16, 16 Graham Baker (Road Runners M50) 1:43.44, 17 Tim Sutton (Invicta) 1:43.45, 18 Andy Fletcher (Paddock Wood M40) 1:44.14, 19 Wayne Vallis (Ashford & Dist) 1:44.33, 20 Darrell Palfrey (Tunbridge Wells) 1:44.57.

Team: Invicta East Kent.

Women: 1 Heather Fitzmaurice-Cotton (Sevenoaks) 1:59.04, 2 Catherine Roberts (Tunbridge Wells) 2:02.14, 3 Sally Dawson (Herne Hill W35) 2:04.31, 4 Lyndsey Turner (Tunbridge Wells) 2:11.09, 5 Carol Emery (Paddock Wood W35) 2:12.10, 6 Stacy Pierce (Thanet) 2:17.43, 7 Emma Nixon (Bishops Stortford W35) 2:19.12, 8 Pauline Hall (Thanet W45) 2:21.00, 9 Lena Gazzani (Bearbrook Joggers W45) 2:21.57, 10 Judith Jolly (Brittania Ac W55) 2:28.00.

Team: Thanet Road Runners. (132 finished).

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