ST HELENS Sutton chairman Matt Crehan produced a personal best time as he challenged a quality field that included Olympian medalist Jonny Brownlee in the Ribble Valley 10k.

Crehan took on his rivals in gutsy style, taking 40 yards out of the field after the first kilometre.

He held that lead until the halfway point where the group finally swallowed him back up.

Crehan's new personal best of 32mins 22secs over the tough hilly route on New Year's Eve sealed him 31st place overall and 24th in the incorporated North of England 10k Championships

“It was a tough way to try and race a 10k, but I and the rest of Sutton are looking forward to helping put St Helens back on the running map once more,” said Crehan.

Marc Scott, the Richmond and Zetland Harriers athlete who represented Great Britain in the World Championships 5000m in London earlier in the year, won the event in 29mins 37secs.

Brownlee, a two-times Olympic triathlon medalist, was second for Bingley Harriers in 29mins 54secs.

Tom Griffiths and a returning John Appleton were the first Sutton athletes to be competing over the festive break.

They took part in the Rudolf’s Red Nose Race in Blackpool, where Griffiths took second place overall in 28mins 35secs and Appleton was fifth in 32mins 32secs.

Next up was the pairing of John and Pam Appleton, who took part in the historic and classic running of the Chester Round the Walls Race.

John finishing as first over 65s veteran in 34mins 23secs, while Pam was third over 60s vet in 40mins 16secs.