ATHLETICS: Champ Naylor retains crown in super style

Steve Naylor (88) battles it out with       runner-up Chad Lambert in the early stages Picture: Mark Easton

Steve Naylor (88) battles it out with runner-up Chad Lambert in the early stages Picture: Mark Easton

First published in Sport

Steve Naylor retained his Apex Sports Chiltern Cross Country League title with a dominant final-round victory at a very windy Campbell Park in Milton Keynes.

The triple Oxfordshire cross country champion, from Cassington, only needed a top-eight finish to retain the senior and overall Division 1 men’s crowns.

And Naylor (Bedford & County) eased to the title, finishing 43 seconds clear of Chad Lambert (Milton Keynes) after completing the muddy and technical 4.7-mile course in 26mins 27secs.

“It’s actually been a while since I felt that level of euphoria and achievement after a race,” said Naylor. “Last year when I won the title, I was ill and didn’t hang around for the presentations.

“At the start of the season I had set out to try and defend my title and, knowing it’s a strong competition, I’m actually surprised that I’ve won it with fewer points than last year.”

Naylor ended up winning the title by 12 points after picking up two wins and two second places and led Bedford to the team title.

He added: “With only two of us at the front for the majority of the race, I decided to kick at the start of the last lap.

“This happened to be up the steepest and longest hill on the course, so it would either make or break me.

“By the time I had reached the top I had already pulled out a 20-metre lead and just kept the pace up pretty much until the final bend.

“I was amazed that the winning margin was that big as the wind and mud made it hard to run consistently strong.

“It was nice to end the season on a high and win the series in genuine fashion.”

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