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Kirsty takes top spot for 2012.

KIRSTY LONGLEY won a classic women's race to become Merseyside Cross Country Champion for 2012.

The seasoned Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton (LPS) campaigner battled the Sherdley Park gusts and the rolling hills to edge a battle with Liverpool Harriers Jenny Clague and Maria Barrett which saw all three women lead at different stages.

DOMINANT: Jonny In what was by far and away the closest women's cross country race the championship has seen for many years, Longley triumphed by just 11 seconds in 31:26.

Following a brief break from the sport for the birth of her first child, Longley, 35, eased back into action during the summer track season and hit form late in 2012 when cross country action returned. Coming out on top in Saturday's superb race earned her a first Merseyside title.

Clague (31:37) and Barrett (31:57) completed the podium, with the Wirral AC pairing of Sarah Kearney (33:11) and Lisa Grantham (33:44) completing the top five.

An excellent Sarah Jarvis run (34:00) secured the top six place good enough to earn athletes a Merseyside vest for the forthcoming Intercounties Championships in Bir mingham.

Jonny Mellor breezed to a 55 second victory to tie up his second Merseyside men's title in 39:55. The Liverpool Harriers athlete is now unbeaten in local cross country competition since December of 2007.

London based Hywel Care retur ned to his home county to take second place in 40:50, with Southport Waterloo athlete James Tartt bouncing off an excellent run in the Ribble Valley 10k to take third and complete an eclectic club podium in 41:02.

Strong runs by John McCole (41:30), Lee Siemaszko (41:37) and Mellor's last local cross country conqueror Richard Burney (41:59), wrapped up the team title for the yellow vested Harriers and confirmed the six men who will don the purple Merseyside vest for 2012 Intercounties competition.

Elsewhere on the day, LPS athlete Toby Loveridge impressed to take the men's under-20 title in 26:05 and Katherine Walker of Liverpool Harriers crushed her rivals to take the women's under-17 title in 18:40 from Wirral's Emily Kearney (19:23).

CAPTION(S):

DOMINANT: Jonny Mellor CONVOY: Maria Barrett, Kirsty Longley and Jenny Clague
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 12, 2012
Words:374
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