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Teenager Mitchell heads cross country field

MEDWAY and Maidstone AC began the cross country season in great shape when they headed the team race in the Kent Fitness League at Canterbury. The combined efforts of their best men, women and veterans put them more than 50 points clear of Canterbury Harriers and set them on their way to defending their title in the seven race series.

They were led in by Darren Mitchell, a 17-year-old, who has advanced in stature during the past 12 months. In damp and soggy conditions around the footpaths in Blean Woods, he took the field apart and was almost half a minute clear of the opposition by the time he crossed the finish line. His closest challenger was Sam Coombes of Dartford Harriers running as a guest but the second scoring runner was David Lee (Sevenoaks AC), brother of Alan, last season's individual champion.

The women's race was won by Invicta's Janice Moorekite who picked herself off the deck after falling close to the start to finish nearly a minute clear of Heather Fitzmaurice-Cotton from Sevenoaks. However, all of the women and nearly all of the men were upstaged by the appearance of Charlotte Dale, the newly-crowned Kent 10k champion who made a guest appearance to improve her distance training in preparation for the Reebok Inernational Cross Country series. The 17-year-old Invicta girl went around in under 29 minutes to finish in among the top three men.

Two hundred and twenty eight runners in all completed the gruelling five and a half mile circuit. The next race is at Swanley on Sunday, November 11.

Results. Leading men: 1 D Mitchell (Med & Maid AC) 28.24, 2 S Coombes (guest) 28.50, 3 D Lee (Sevenoaks AC) 29.29, 4 S Roberts (Padd Wood AC) 30.02, 5 R Palmer (Canterbury H) 30.10, 6 D Law (Maidstone H) 30.28, 7 N Cook (Thanet RR) 30.33, 8 S Kendall (Canterbury H) 30.39, 9 R Steer (Canterbury H) 31.04, 10 M Poppy (Sittingbourne St) 31.08, 11 R Cheesman V50 (Padd Wood AC) 31.20, 12 M Boulton (Istead & Ifield H) 31-23.

Leading women: 1 C Dale (guest) 28.52, 2 J Moorekite V40 (Invicta EKAC) 34.36, 3 H Fitzmaurice-Cotton (Sevenoaks AC) 35.23, A Wilson V45 (Bromley Vets) 36.33, F Roberts (Invicta EK AC) 37.16, P Stockton (Maidstone H) 37.31, N Barty (Med & Maid AC) 37.35, J Frogley (Swanley & Dist) 37.49, 9 J Cobby (New Eltham J) 37.54, 10 K Prescott (Canterbury H) 38.03.

Team placings: 1 Medway and Maidstone AC 215pts, 2 Canterbury Harriers 267, 3 Istead & Ifield H 281, 4 Paddock Wood AC 298, 5 Maidstone Harriers 338, 6 Invicta East Kent AC 351.

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