MATTHEW WILLIS turned in another strong performance at elite level while running at the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark.

Competing in the men’s U20 race in Aarhus, Wrexham’s Willis was Great Britain’s fastest finisher and second fastest European as he rounded the 7.7km course in a time of 26:14 to finish 25th outright in a 102-strong field.

Reflecting on his performance, Willis said: “I’m absolutely delighted.

“People were shouting on the course that I was second European and that acted as motivation to keep me going. It’s a real shock to me.

“I knew it was going to be a burner from the start and I tried to use my weight on the downhills and try to limit the damage going up the hills – and I think I managed to get it right.”

Milkesa Mengesha timed his run to perfection to lead an Ethiopian 1-2 finish in the race, clocking 23:52 to edge compatriot Tadese Worku into second place by two seconds.

Hope played host to the latest Borders Road Race League meeting, where a field well in excess of 300 contested the race.

The men’s race saw Buckley Runners man Ricky Challinor top the rankings with a time of 25:52 on the five-mile course as he narrowly beat second-placed Wrexham runner James Mills (25:55).

Other strong performers in the men’s race included Wrexham’s Sam Sussex (fifth in 26:43), Buckley Phil Pumford (10th in 27:31), Wrexham’s Luke Northall (11th in 27:46), Sean Merryweather (27:55 in 12th) and Joel Gomes (15th in 28:11), and Buckley’s Jez Brown (18th in 28:15) and David White (19th in 28:16).

Buckley RC’s first nine counters in the Mens’ race were all home in the first 35 places, and bolstered their Division One lead over second placed Wallasey AC by another 95 points, to all but guarantee their retention of the title.

In Division Two, Wrexham AC boasted five finishers in the top 15 – a performance which took more than 200 points out of the league lead held by Ellesmere Port Running Club and all but confirmed the promotion of both clubs.

Meanwhile in Womens’ Division One, Helsby’s victory on the day over Buckley was by a margin of just one point - but the Flintshire club remain title favourites.

Jen Adams (32:28) was Buckley’s fastest finisher in the women’s event as she took fourth place, with Deeside’s Rheagan Edwards (33:00) in sixth, Buckley’s Ceri Cook (34;10) in 10th, and Deestriders’ Jay Jennions (34:38) in 12th.

Sion Roberts headed West Cheshire’s charge, finishing 13th after negotiating the five miles course

The final round of the Borders Road Running League will take place on Wednesday, April 24, at Ffrith in Prestatyn.

Peter Hughes was Wrexham AC’s sole representative at the Conwy Marathon, where a strong time of 3:42:30 clinched him 35th place outright.

Clubmate Sean Merryweather (1:23:31) clinched an impressive top 20 finish at the Ironbridge Half Marathon, with fellow Wrexham runner Paul Holland (3:00:44) following on.

ParkRun race action returned to Erddig after a month-long break, with Wrexham’s Richard Shearer (17:41) third fastest on the 5k course.

Deeside teenager Daniel Parkinson stormed to a new PB of 19:53 to top the rankings at the recent Wepre ParkRun, where he was followed over the line by club-mate Stephen Jolly (sixth in 21:55), Wrexham’s Mike Robbins (eighth in 23:00), Deestriders’ Nigel Parr (ninth in 23:14) and Deeside youngster Lily Roberts (10th in 23:31).

Wrexham pair Joshua Evans (8:38) and Zac Campbell (9:06) took second and fourth-place respectively at the Alyn Waters 2k ParkRun.

West Cheshire’s Carys Roberts will represent the North West in London later this month.

The teenager has been selected to run for the region in the London Mini Marathon which takes place on April 28 and is the official British Athletics three miles road championships for young athletes aged between 11 and 17.

Roberts has produced a string of impressive cross country performances during the winter months, including a second-placed finish at the Northern Championships at Pontefract.

The Deeside Open Meeting takes centre stage this weekend, with the action set to start at 11am on Sunday while the Chester Spring Five Miles Road Race takes place on Wednesday from the Cheshire Sports Club in Upton (7pm start).