Athletics

Civil Service Runners Beat RAF In 2020 Sir Sefton Brancker Race

A RAF Air Force runner won the women's race, but the Civil Servants were triumphant in the men's and both team title chases.

Civil service runners have dominated the 2020 Sir Sefton Brancker Cross Country race.

In the 90th edition of the event at RAF Halton, it was a new addition to the Royal Air Force team, Leading Aircraftswoman Chloe Richardson, who won the women’s race.

Owen Hind races as a civil servant and won the men’s race with his service also grabbing the team titles.

The women’s numbers were down on recent years, but RAF duo LAC Richardson and Tamsin Rutter led from the start.

It was LAC Richardson who edged out her Air Force teammate to take the individual win in her first appearance in the event.

She said: "I’ve ran since I was young and always competed. I love it.

"[Running] definitely was a massive influence on joining the RAF. I’d heard that people compete and can take time out of work.

"I love competing so it is good that it goes with the job."

Despite the RAF finishing first and second, the civil service won the team award thanks to a strong middle of the pack.

More than 100 competitors registered for the men’s race, but the RAF had a depleted team and were without many of their star runners.

The Civil Service were dominant from the start of the men's race with Owen Hind picking up the victory.

That left an opportunity for a strong civil service and Mr Hind was the leader of five non-military runners who finished first.

He said: "We’ve been targeting this for a couple of months.

"I think we are all aware that the RAF had won this since 2007 and this was a strong team.

"We had to show it by winning."

The top RAF runner in the men’s race was Senior Aircraftsman Will Gardner who finished sixth in his first senior race.

"All the top dogs are injured or away with work and duty,” said SAC Gardner.

"It’s nice to step up and take the win for the RAF team.

"I’ve done four seasons of the junior and now it’s my race for the senior team.

"I’m pleased to come back as the first RAF back."