Published: 00:00, 18 January 2002
AN EXCITING finish is in prospect with one race still to go in the Kent Fitness League. Invicta East Kent AC took the lead at the top of the table for the first time after clinching a win over Medway & Maidstone AC by a single point at Maidstone's Mote Park.
After six races these two giants of the league are separated by just one point. While the team championship still hangs in the balance, the men's individual championship was settled on the day when Darren Mitchell (Invicta) registered his fifth win in as many attempts and so moves into an unassailable position in his category.
On this occasion, he had to work hard for his win. At the halfway point, he was trailing in fourth place, with two previous champions setting the pace. Steve Roberts (Paddock Wood) was the champion in 1997 and set out with intentions of outsmarting the young pretender as he led the field of 250 runners at the Midway point of the race, accompanied by last year's champion Alan Lee (Sevenoaks) and Patrick Curran (M & M).
Mitchell made his decisive move on a long incline with about one mile from the finish and extended his led to nearly 100 metres over Curran. Alan Lee was followed in by his younger brother, David, as Roberts was relegated into fifth place.
Maidstone Harriers, the promoting club, had two in the top 10; David Law finishing sixth just ahead of Dave Davies who was the leading veteran runner. The bitterly fought battle of the over 50s was won this time by Phil Wallace (Medway & Maidstone) who managed to pull away from Invicta's Tony Culshaw on the second lap.
The over 60 winner was the amazing Joe Cleverley (New Eltham Joggers), now in his 70th year, who fought off his closest rival Patrick Collins (Bromley Vets). In the women's race, Janice Moorekite (Invicta) also wrapped up the individual championship by taking her fifth win of the season, over a minute clear of her rivals. Team mate Liz Batty came home a comfortable second place with a new arrival on the scene Martine Ryan (Plumstead) finishing third. Sevenoaks AC had two women in the top 10 as did Maidstone Harriers with Sharon Hawkins (ninth) and Paula Stockton (10th).
Men's race: 1 Darren Mitchell (Medway & Maids AC) 27.19, 2 Patrick Curran (Medway & Maids AC) 27.41, 3 Alan Lee (Sevenoaks AC (Gst) 27.55, 4 David Lee (Sevenoaks AC) 28.05, 5 Steve Roberts (Paddock Wood AC) 28.29, 6 David Law (Maidstone Harriers) 28.48, 7 David Davies (Maidstone Harriers) 29.00, 8 Ray Pearce (Istead & Ifield H) 29.20, 9 Michael Clark (Sevenoaks AC) 29.29, 10 Daniel Evans (Medway & Maidst AC) 29.42.
WomenÕs race: 1 Janice Moorekite (Invicta EK AC) 33.02, 2 Elizabeth Batty (Invicta EK AC) 34.22, 3 Martine Ryan (Plumstead Runners) 34.45, 4 Alison Wilson (Bromley Vets AC) 35.15, 5 Sally Dawson v Sevenoaks AC 35.19, 6 Kathy Harvey (Medway & Maidst AC) 35.23, 7 Heather Fitzmaurice (Sevenoaks AC) 35.26, 8 Jane Frogley (Swanley & Dist AC) 35.49, 9 Sharon Hawkins (Maidstone Harriers) 36.00, 10 Paula Stockton (Maidstone Harriers) 36.01.
Team results: 1 Invicta 145 pts, 2 Medway & Maidstone 146, 3 Maidstone H 290, 4 Sevenoaks AC 297, 5 Paddock Wood 395, 6 Istead & Ifield H 395.
League placings after six races: 1 Invicta 90; 2 Med & Maid 89; 3 Sevenoaks 77; 4 Istead 75; 5 Maidstone H 74; 6 Paddock Wood 66.