Brierfield’s Ben Lindsay has become the first local athlete to win the Ribble Valley 10K Road Race this millennium, after an exciting race ended with the first five being covered by just 12 seconds.

Meanwhile in the women’s contest, Preston’s Olympian Helen Clitheroe scored her fourth successive victory with two-and-a-half minutes in hand.

The event, from Edisford Bridge on the outskirts of Clitheroe, is now firmly established as one of the premier road races in the North West, both in terms of size and quality.

By the half-way mark it seemed as if the title would once again elude our locals as Luke Cragg from Mansfield and Liverpool Harrier Jonny Mellor had opened a small gap over Lindsay, Ben Fish from Blackburn Harriers, and Alan Buckley of Leeds.

According to Fish, the two leaders appeared to slow slightly and by the seven-kilometre mark, he and Lindsay were on terms.

With a kilometre to go, the Blackburn man made his move but Lindsay accelerated as they descended to the bridge over the Ribble, and caught his rival at the top of the short climb away from the river.

Lindsay’s final sprint is a weapon which he used to great effect when finishing fourth U23 in the European Cross Country Championships a fortnight earlier, and once again he turned on the power over the last 300 metres.

He crossed the line in a new personal best of 29:55 and two seconds later Fish also broke the elite 30-minute barrier for the first time in his career.

The host club won the team prize this year with Tom Cornthwaite in 11th backing Fish with 31:02.

Matt Nuttall completed the counters and claimed the over 40 title with 29th in 33:03.

Just behind in 32nd, Karl Billington was the winning junior with 33:11 and there were top 50 finishes for Josh Tighe, Longridge Seven winner Scott Monk, Paul Bradshaw and John Sutton.

The Burnley-based Marc Hartley, who won the Pendle and Burnley Grand Prix in the summer, ended the year on a high with 16th in 31:40 while Andy Buttery of Rossendale took 25th in 32:37 just ahead of the Chorley-based Horwich Harrier Gareth Booth, 28th with 32:52.

As usual, Clayton Harriers shone in the veteran classes with Andy Stubbs second over 40 and Phil Hall third over 45 both featuring in the top 50 while Mike Wallis and Dave Scott were second in the over 50s and over 65s.

In recent years, Helen Clitheroe has made this race her own.

Her four winning times have only varied by 24 seconds and this year’s 32:31 was just 11 seconds off her course record.

Chorley athlete Katie Ingram was in the chasing group of three, the Horwich Harrier eventually finishing third in 35:12.

Accrington Road Runner Sarah Ridehalgh beat her own club record for the second time in a matter of weeks with ninth in 37:33, and England track star Cath Riley from Fence was 11th in 37:38.

Blackburn Harriers were the runners-up to Blackpool in the team standings with a young squad of Alison Leonard 17th, Rachel Wood 21st and Charlotte Atkinson who won the individual junior title in 40:10.

Clayton’s Maureen Laney was inside 40 minutes at the age of 55 to be an outstanding class winner as club mates Marion Wilkinson and Kitty Garnett headed the over 65s and over 70s.