ABINGDON’S Paul Fernandez powered to victory at a very wet and muddy Cholsey Chase.

Fernandez led home a field of 198 over the challenging nine-mile multi-terrain course in 55mins 11secs as the race was revived by Reading-based Barnes Fitness after an eight-year absence.

David Jackson, from Benson, was second in 56.48, while Dan Hamilton, another Abingdon athlete, finished third in 1hr 24secs.

Cholsey-based Sarah Dudgeon (Serpentine) took the ladies’ honours in 1.06.51, with Olney Roadrunners' Juliette Mintner second in 1.09.32.

Third overall was another Cholsey resident, Becky Hibbert, in 1.11.55, while Abingdon’s Sarah Lackman was the third senior lady in 1.12.37.

Race director Ellie Barnes said: “It’s a tough route at the best of times and it was particularly challenging this year because of both the mud caused by recent flooding and the weather on the day.

“But we’ve had only positive feedback and we’re looking forward to making the Cholsey Chase a regular fixture from now on.

“We attracted a mixed field with a lot of club runners from around the region – Abingdon AC made it a club championship event – but also a good number of unattached runners.”

Scott Smith-Bannister (Aldershot) took the vet 50 men’s honours after finishing fifth in 1.01.48.

Abingdon’s Matthew Hart was the vet 40 champion in 1.05.26, while Mike Hollis (Handy Cross) won the vet 60 category in 1.15.36.

Reading AC member Susan Francis, from Goring, took the vet 40 ladies’ prize in 1.13.59.

Kate Williamson showed she is still a force to be reckoned with when landing the vet 60 honours.

The 68-year-old Eynsham Road Runner, who is consistently in Britain’s top five for her age group, clocked 1.20.30 to finish 68th overall.

Her Eynsham clubmate Katherine Bates was the first vet 50 lady home in 1.18.36.