BRITISH international cross-country runner Rob Whalley grabbed glory at the Chester Round the Walls men’s race on Boxing Day.

The Bristol and West AC member, who has represented Great Britain five times at the World Cross Country Championships, crossed the finishing line at Chester Racecourse in 23 minutes and four seconds.

He finished the 4.5-mile course well clear of last year’s walls race winner Bashir Hussain (Stockport Harriers), who clocked 23:56 for second spot.

Tattenhall’s Peter Taylor was 15th in 26:50 and Ken Begley (City of Chester Triathlon Club) won the over-45 veteran prize with 27:25 and finished 17th overall.

Martha Hall triumphed in the women’s race, finishing 28th overall with a time of 29:15 ahead of runner-up Jennifer Van Deelen (Canterbury Harriers) in 29:45.

Local finishers included Ellesmere Port’s Michael Burns (41st in 30:01), and City of Chester Tri pair Gareth Blizzard (42nd in 30:02) and Chris Hulse (51st in 30:20).

West Cheshire AC’s Chris Rhodes finished 52nd in 30:24, ahead of other purple-vested colleagues Tom Booth (77th in 32:05) after his fun run victory earlier in the day.

Ian Crozier was West Cheshire’s next finisher, posting 111th place in 33:53, ahead of Mark Povey (126th in 34:17), Aidan Stoakley (144th in 34:58), Amanda Scott (221st in 38:12), Kerry Riley (255th in 39:43) and Steve Russell-Ingram (259th in 39:58).

Almost 400 athletes finished and among them were a strong contingent from Chester Tri, including Simon Greenwood (31:49), Chris Loney (32:12), Linda and Mark Worrall (33:04), Chris Morgan (33:08), Andy Penny (34:29), Kathryn Chase (36:10), Claire Sutcliffe (36:25), Dominique Miller (36:46), Dave Humphries (37:36), Derek Mason (38:28), Kim Mason (40:49), Sally Napthen (41:13), Amy Edwards (41:40), Susan Walsh (42:56), Diane Duret (44:21) and Janet Morgan (46:05).

Fixtures this weekend include the fourth round of the Borders Road Running League at Caernarfon on Sunday (11am start), and the Manchester Area Cross Country League fourth round, also on Sunday, at Woodbank Park, Stockport.