A host of top UK runners made the trip to Cheshire on Sunday for what is regarded as Britain's fastest 5 mile road race, the Brooks Alsager 5. The event turned out to be as competitive as the entry list suggested, with less than a second separating leading pair Matty Hynes and Ben Fish.
Hynes, who finished off his 2012 season with victory at Plymouth 10K, carried his impressive form into the new year with a winning time and PB of 23:57. Blackburn Harriers' Ben Fish finished marginally behind, (23:58), with Sunderland Harriers' Patrick Mann rounding off the top trio of performers.
Fish, who started off his 2013 with victory at the Lancashire County Championships, seemed pleased with his performance, tweeting: "23:58 and second in Alsager 5, very happy with that. Got rid of a 6 year old pb!"
Like the men's competition, there was very little separating the top two in the female field, with GB international Gemma Steel (26:34) marginally ousting her Charnwood team-mate Juliet Doyle (26:35) to victory. The times represent PBs for both runners. Katrina Wooton of Coventry Godiva Harriers took third place in 26:50.
The Brooks event, which begins at the Alsager Leisure Centre in Crewe, drew a field of 794 competitors. With the mid-point runner finishing in 39:09, the overall quality of the field seems to have been particularly high, with many taking advantage of the flat course and favourable conditions to record fast times.
Results of the Brooks Alsager 5 are available at northernrunningguide.com