Stratford AC duo lead England to gold medal

Stratford AC's Roger Wilson, right, and Phil Brennan, left, on their way to team gold.

EVERGREEN duo Phil Brennan and Roger Wilson helped England claim a team gold in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International in Derry on Saturday.

Stratford AC supplied half of the four-man England M75 team with Wilson defending the title he won last year and Brennan representing England for the first time.

Competitors from all of the masters age group categories arrived in Northern Ireland for the 30th running of the event.

The 6k course, which was heavily waterlogged in places, was in three laps and at the end of the first lap the four leaders were in contact with each other.

Les Haynes (England) was in the lead, Gordon Orme (Wales) was second followed by Brennan and Wilson.

For the rest of the race, the positions were unchanged, but the gaps widened, and the finishing times were Haynes (28.00) Orme, (28.21), Brennan, (29.35) and Wilson (29.51).

With three of the first four to finish, the England team scored a comprehensive victory over the other nations, while Brennan also picked up an individual bronze on his England debut.

Brennan said: “Although everyone we met, particularly from the host nation, was amazingly friendly, the awards ceremony was almost as challenging as the race.

“It was a celebration dinner with 500 people present and including speeches from Northern Irish dignitaries and famous athletes.

“We were the last category to get called to the podium, at well past 11pm, but the reception we got made up for it.”