Declan Reed led a rampant City of Derry Spartans’ men’s squad to a successful defence of their NI & Ulster senior Cross Country Team Championship title in Lurgan on Saturday.
And in doing so Reed - at 44 years old - became the event’s oldest ever individual gold medallist with an equally emphatic winning run over the testing 12K distance.
Foyle Valley, led home by sixth place finisher Chris McGuinness, added to the local podium presence with an excellent collective effort for team bronze medals behind runners up North Belfast Harriers.
Reed and defending individual champion, Aaron Doherty, followed the early blistering pace of North Belfast’s Mark McKinstry and with Neil Johnston of Springwell, had to work hard to retain contact.
However perennial runner-up McKinstry just couldn’t sustain his pace and as Doherty dropped off, it was down to three.
Pre-race favourite Johnston then lost momentum on the penultimate lap and Reed moved past the tiring McKinstry to stride powerfully on for a clear victory in 41m 40s, McKinstry hanging on for second 13 seconds behind with Johnston in bronze on 42m 02s.
The Spartans romped to the ‘six to score’ team title with Aaron Doherty (4th), Mark Long (7th), Greg Roberts (8th), Allan Bogle (10th) and John Lenehan (11th), magnificent packing and worthy winners of their historic fifth McAlinden Trophy.