Spa Striders’ Mel Venables was crowned British 100k champion after a superbly paced run at the Anglo-Celtic Plate in Perth, Scotland on Easter Sunday.
The annual event, featuring the four home nations, saw runners starting out at 7am to complete 42 laps of a 2.38k course around North Inch Park.
Venables was making her first appearance in an England vest, joining defending champion, Katie Samuelson (Cambridge & Coleridge) in a four-strong team.
Team-mate Edwina Sutton and Scotland’s Sophie Mullins went straight to the front of the women’s race and by the end of the first lap, Venables was back in seventh place.
The 42-year-old continued to race at her pre-race pace of sub 12-minute miling and was more than nine minutes down on the leading duo by the 13th lap.
However, after three-and-a-half hours of running she had moved through the field to fourth place and during the 31st lap she had lifted herself into the silver medal position.
Sutton was now starting to suffer and Venables eased past her on the 36th lap, eventually going on to claim victory by more than eight minutes.
Venables’ winning time of 8hr 15min 54sec was a personal best by eight minutes and such was the consistency of her performance that her first 50k was covered in 4:07:58, with her second being two seconds faster.
Sutton held on to take second place and help England win the women’s international team race.
The men’s race was won by Paul Navesey (Crawley AC) in 6:58:52 to complete a clean sweep for the England team.
After the race a delighted Venables said the victory was down to a complete trust in her pacing plan.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “Twelve months ago I had never run 100k and now I have gained international honours and am British champion.
“I had a plan and I kept to it and everything worked out better than I could possibly have hoped.
“Running 100k is a team effort and I would like to thank everyone who has helped me achieve this dream.”