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Mature teenager's road race triumph

ANDREW PICKETT of Dartford Harriers showed a clear pair of heels to a field of 212 in the Chas Ryman Memorial Sittingbourne 10-mile road race. The 19-year-old has a preference for the track where he has a personal best of 15min 15sec for 5,000m but to his credit but he displayed maturity beyond his years to win this race by a minute from Steve Adams of Dartford Road Runners.

The early leader was Paul Firmin of Medway and Maidstone with a group of six athletes tucked in behind in the very windy conditions. The steep climb into the second mile saw the lead change and the two athletes from rival Dartford clubs began to pull away from the Sittingbourne pairing of Michael Poppy and leading veteran Martyn Sedge.

Firmin was joined by his Medway and Maidstone clubmate, Alan Newman, of Ditton, and this was the leading six until Stuart Scott of Kent AC moved through with purpose to eventually finish fifth. After making his move at the eight mile marker, Pickett later confirmed that he had bided his time until he was confident of being able to finish strongly as he was running in only his second race over this distance.

Adams had no answer to his rival's final surge as Poppy and Sedge were joined by Paul Jasnoch (11th) in the victorious team.

Firmin ran the last mile as quickly as the first to overhaul Newman and lead Medway and Maidstone to second place with John Wilson (17th) completing the team.

The women's race was closer than the winning margin of 46 seconds indicates. There was little daylight between Alyson Parlett (Bexley) and Sue Martin-Clarke (Dartford Road Runners) from Larkfield until the final descent after the crossing of the M2 motorway bridge.

Parlett stretched away to victory with a powerful finish as Martin-Clarke was forced to settle for second place.

Carol Reid (Canterbury Harriers) and Janet Cobby (New Eltham) were five minutes in arrears of the leaders but ensured a clean sweep of the top four places by veteran athletes.

With the leading individuals being veterans the age category prizes were claimed by Cherry Burnett (W45) of Maidstone Harriers and Maureen Guard (W55) of Dartford Harriers.

New Eltham were clear winners of the team prize from Dartford Harriers and Maidstone Harriers.

The special awards for the first local athletes went to Sittingbourne residents Martyn Sedge and Virginia Gifford.

Results: 1 A Pickett (Dartford Harriers) 59.53, 2 S Adams (Dartford Road Runners) 60.53, 3 M Poppy (Sittingbourne) 62.18, 4 M Sedge (Sittingbourne M40) 62.54, 5 S Scott (Kent AC) 63.37, 6 P Firmin (Medway & Maidstone) 64.07, 7 A Newman (Medway & Maidstone M45) 64.32, 8 P Gibson (Istead & Ifield M40) 65.13, 9 A Irchad (Unattached) 65.26, 10 T Brightwell (New Eltham M50) 65.44, 11 P Jasnoch (Sittingbourne) 66.02, 12 S Warnett (Unattached) 66.58, 13 K Waters (South West M40) 66.59, 14 S Throssell (Unattached) 67.11, 15 P Worsley (Dover M50) 67.43, 16 T McBride (Unattached) 67.50, 17 J Wilson (Medway & Maidstone M40) 67.52, 18 T Farmer (Dartford Harriers M50) 67.52, 19 A Moody (Kent Police) 67.53, 20 S Day (Unattached) 68.09.

Over 60: David Northcroft (Maidstone Harriers) 72.07.

Teams: Sittingbourne Striders 18 points, Medway & Maidstone 30, New Eltham 60, Dartford Road Runners 76, Canterbury Harriers 92, Dartford Harriers 93, Sittingbourne Striders B 108, Maidstone Harriers 121, Istead and Ifield 128, Gravesend Road Runners 132.

Women: A Parlett (Bexley W35) 68.05, S Martin-Clarke (Dartford Road Runners W45) 68.51, Carol Raid (Canterbury Harriers W35) 73.28, J Cobby (New Eltham W35) 73.40, J King (New Eltham) 74.47, E Tiptaft (Unattached) 77.58, V Gifford (Sittingbourne) 81.05, K Jay (Sevenoaks W35) 81.52, C Burnett (Maidstone Harriers W45) 82.32, S Lam (Cambridge Harriers W35) 82.52, G Mette (Sevenoaks W35) 82.59, M Farmer (Dartford Harriers W45) 83.51, S Cousins (Dartford Harriers W45) 84.18, S Jarman (Plumstead) 85.41, J Bright (Maidstone Harriers W45) 85.56, H Turner (Thanet) 85.57, C Miller (New Eltham) 87.08, M Guard (Dartford Harriers W55) 87.25, A Soakell (New Eltham W35) 90.45, J Smith (Dartford Harriers W35) 91.35.

Teams: New Eltham 26 points, Dartford Harriers 43, Maidstone Harriers 65, Sittingbourne Striders and New Eltham B 76, Thanet Road Runners 95.

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