It was a case of third time lucky for Heanor Running Club star Joe Rainsford, who streaked to a brilliant win in the Derby 10k race last weekend.
After finishing sixth in 2015 and then fifth 12 months ago, Rainsford graduated to top spot this time to earn the biggest success of his running career so far.
The 23-year-old’s victory was made even more praiseworthy by the fact that, only 24 hours earlier, he had run a short stage for the club at the English Road Running Association’s National 12-Stage Road Relay Championships in Birmingham.
“I was really proud to take the win,” said Rainsford, who hails from Derby. “Winning my home-town 10k was definitely on my bucket-list.
“It was made even more special by having all my friends and family there to see it. The whole achievement hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
A total of 44 athletes from the Heanor club took part in the Derby 10k, and all made the most of excellent conditions on what was the warmest day of the year so far.
International triathlete David Bishop led the masses out with a swift sub-three minute first kilometre, closely pursued by Rainsford and one of his clubmates, Ben Rhodes.
Ticking off the out-and-back section along Pride Park, Rainsford moved up alongside Bishop around the 4k mark before hitting the front as the pair approached the Cockpit Island.
Running through Derby city centre, past the Cathedral Quarter and back out again towards Pentagon Island, the Heanor RC flagbearer increased his lead with every stride as the race wended its way back towards the finish outside Pride Park Stadium, home of Championship football club, Derby County.
With victory assured well before the finish, Rainsford crossed the line 85 seconds clear in 31.25 minutes, which was the second-best time of his career and just six seconds outside his personal best.
Bishop ended up well beaten by the impressive winner, clocking 32.50 to take second, while another Heanor RC runner, 2016 winner of the Matthew
Walker 10k, Matt Bickerstaff, came through to finish third in 33.07.
Two further top-ten finishes from Heanor RC athletes, Chris Rainsford in fourth and Rhodes in eighth, ensured it was quite a day to remember for the club and meant that the the yellow-and-blue vests were well represented at the sharp end of the event, among the 3,208 finishers overall.