TWO Cornwall Athletic Club athletes Justin Thomas and Emma Stepto stormed to victory in the Storm Force 10 mile road race at Camborne on Sunday.
Stepto set personal best and new course record of 56 minutes 09 seconds and Thomas also clocked a personal best for the distance, running 25 econds faster than his winning time last year.
His time of 54 minutes 23 seconds was just two seconds outside the course record set by Dan Alsop in 2012.
This race marked the start of the 2014 Cornwall Grand Prix Series, sponsored by Cornwall Glass and Glazing and the attraction of these road races show no sign of diminishing, with 531 runners lining up for the start along the Barripper Road, on the outskirts of Camborne.
Thomas had planned on running hard from the start and by the two mile point, just past Carnell Green, he was already 150 metres clear of team mate Noel Kindon.
Settling into a smooth rhythm he had doubled his lead by six miles along the fast flat stretch of road between Leedstown and Praze, eventually winning by one minute and 46 seconds.
History was being made behind the leader, as Kindon came under pressure from Stepto.
The international marathon runner closed and then passed Kindon on the hill at five miles and never looked back, achieving the distinction of being the first lady to finish in a top three overall position in a major mixed gender race in the county.
After the race Stepto said: "I didn't really know what to expect today, as I have not raced since November and I have had a quieter training time in December, so I am really pleased with my run."
Kindon held onto third overall, 20 seconds ahead of Jez Mancer (St Austell Running Club), who passed Mile High's Andrew Martin in the closing stages. One of the few Devon visitors to the race Ami Yetton (Plymouth Harriers) made the journey across the Tamar worthwhile, collecting the Ladies runners up prize behind Stepto, with young Eleanor Davis (Newquay Road Runners) finishing third.
The defending Grand Prix Men's Team Champions, Cornwall AC, began the defence of their title with a clear win, with Steve Wherry (12th), Ceri Whitmore (13th) providing close support to Thomas and Kington.
The team was completed by Adrian Ball (22nd) whose presence was sorely missed throughout much of 2013 due to injury and a recent recruit, Mike Dowrick (29th), who has recently transferred from Hayle Runners. The Penryn-based squad Mile High proved to be the surprise package filling the runners-up spot, ahead of the much larger clubs, St Austell Running Club (3rd), Hayle Runners (4th) and Newquay Road Runners (5th).
The Mile High performance was even more impressive as their number one runner, Tony Brewer, could only spectate due to injury and his presence would surely have secured the club's first Grand Prix team title.
The defending Grand Prix Ladies' Team Champions, Cornwall AC, also began 2014 on a winning note, with Stepto joined by Kathryn Burgess (8th), Julia Pearce (15th), Jenny Almey (19th), Karen Harrison (22nd) and Jayne Angilley (25th) in the victorious team.
Truro Running Club proved to be the 'Mile High' of the Ladies' race, finishing second, which is probably their highest Grand Prix team placing to date.
Only 20 points separated second to fifth teams, with Hayle Runners sneaking into a podium place in third, just four points behind Truro.
Hayle Runners got their road racing season off to a good start at Sunday's Stormforce 10 road race with 54 club members taking part.
The Hayle Runners women's team ensured a good start to the season by taking third place despite some off their more experienced runners being unavailable.
Faye Toms led the team home with a personal best time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 54 seconds, while her colleagues Charlotte Bennett, Nikki Rudd, Kim Riggall, Lucy Paull and Narina Shorland all achieved a personal best for the distance. For Kim, this was her debut for the distance.
Meanwhile Jordan Morant led the men's team home in a time of 58 minutes 56 seconds and earned himself a trophy as the third man under 35.
Stewart Townend and Timothea Cardell were both awarded individual trophies for winning their 70-74 age category.
The club's next major outing is the Marazion 10k on Sunday February 2.
Full results, Digest page 70.