Firefighters retain cross country titles

Sun 13 Oct, 2013


The start of this afternoon's race at Stowe.


Nearly 100 runners gathered at Stowe School this afternoon to take part in the annual UK Fire Services Cross Country Championships, incorporating the annual Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service Cross Country Race.

Piers Vallance from Great Holm Fire Station and Libby Gassor from Aylesbury Fire Station won their respective races in the Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service Cross Country Race for the third successive year. Piers completed the men’s 8km course in 32 minutes 45 seconds, and Libby the women’s 4km course in 22 minutes 30 seconds.

The winner of the men's race in the UK Fire Services Cross Country Championships - for the fourth year in a row, and the sixth time in seven years - was Nigel Stirk from Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service (8km course - 29 minutes 35 seconds). Nigel won the race in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and was second in 2009.

Second place went to Brendan McMillan from Tyne and Wear Fire & Rescue Service (30 minutes 48 seconds). Mark Lawlor from West Midlands Fire & Rescue Service was third in 31 minutes 32 seconds.

The winner of the women's race in the UK Fire Services Cross Country Championships, for the second year in a row, was Natalie Batey from Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service (4km course - 18 minutes 43 seconds). Second was Bryony Martindale from Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service (19 minutes 32 seconds) and third Charlene Mitchell from London Fire Brigade (20 minutes 54 seconds).

Piers Valance and Libby Gassor were placed fifth and sixth in their respective races in the UK Fire Services Cross Country Championships.

The field included nearly 30 guests from clubs including Bearbrook Runners, Buckingham and Stowe, David Lloyd Runners and Vale of Aylesbury.

Individual and team winners were presented with their medals after the race by Jason Thelwell, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's Chief Operating Officer.

Race organiser Eddie Gutteridge, Life Vice-President of the Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service Sports Association, said: "The use of this venue for cross country running is a special privilege to the fire and rescue service. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the National Trust and Stowe School for the use of facilities, and to tenant farmer Chris Whitehead for his support."