BLACKBURN Road Runner Jason Cook raced his first marathon at the age of 44 last weekend – and won by 10 minutes!

Described as the ‘biggest race of my life’, Cook was first past the post at Sunday’s Lakeland Trails Marathon Challenge at Coniston, regarded as one of the most scenic trail marathons in Britain.

Starting two hours ahead of the main marathon, the Challenge is a less competitive race suitable for novice trail runners.

Cook, who has been with the Road Runners for the last two years, was the only athlete to enjoy a sub four-hour time, chipping 3.56.32.

He left the other 220 runners competing trailing in his wake, second place going to Richard Ebbs of Downham Market.

“I had never done a marathon before and I just wanted to test the water,” said Cook. “I’m a total novice so I didn’t know how things would go.

“I was totally surprised to have ran so well. I felt good and I’m more than happy with my time.”

“I actually went off too quick. Had I paced myself a bit more, my time could have been a little bit better.”

Cook, who hails from Greater Manchester but now lives in Blackburn, was a long-distance athlete in his teens but gave up running in 1989, before returning to the sport in 2005.

He added: “I’m glad I gave it a go. I’m now looking forward to my next one.”

In the Lakeland Trails Marathon Race, Sarah Ridehalgh of Accrington Road Runners was the leading East Lancashire athlete.

Ridehalgh was the second fastest female, behind Jo Zakrewski of the Dumfries Running Club, in 3.27.44, and ninth overall.

Chorley’s Chris Hatton was 18th in 3.37.58.

Meanwhile, Hyndburn AC U12 duo Joshua Boyle and Blythe Fourie kept up their fine form with victories at the fifth round of the FRA English Junior Championship took place in Hawkswick, Yorkshire.

Blackburn Harrier Elizabeth Greenwood triumphed in the U14 girls race. Clayton’s Lucy Horrocks was second girl in the U12 event, while Rossendale’s Marcus Preedy was second in the U14 boys.