KENDAL runner Tom Addison is in pole position heading into next month’s penultimate English Championship race at Sedbergh Hills.
The 24-year-old has won all three races he has competed in this season and can secure the championship if he finishes ahead of nearest rival Rob Hope in next month’s 22.5km run in the Dales.
Helm Hill’s Addison won his first ever race in the championship at Pendle and has gone on to make his mark in the sport with further wins at Coniston and last week’s Kentmere Horseshoe.
But while confident in his ability, the runner, who is sponsored by inov-8 and Pete Bland Sports, is not in party mood yet.
“I am delighted with the three wins I’ve had so far but it will be nerve-racking come Sedbergh,” he said.
“I feel fit and I will put the training to do the best I can.
“I have done the course once before and I know how hard it is. Long races are not my sort of race at the minute.
“All through the season Rob has been battling with me and he has come second three times. He has pushed me all the way and I know I can’t afford to ease off.
“I’ve got to be the most focused I’ve ever been and make the previous victories count.
“There’s a job still be done. If someone said to me I would be in this position at the start of the season I wouldn’t have believed them. I am almost waiting for the bubble to burst.”
Addison missed much of last season through injury and illness and is keen to put that ghost behind him.
“It was a disappointing season,” he said. “I am determined to prove to myself I can do it and learn from mistakes.”
This weekend Addison and girlfriend Lauren Munro-Bennett were both victorious in a gruelling race in the French Pyrenees.
The race’s course runs 14km and finished on the 2,222m summit of Dent D’Orlu, which sits close to the Spanish border.
Even more impressively, Addison, competing in the race for the first time, was just three minutes off the course record and finished five minutes ahead of the second runner in 1:27:36.
Munro-Bennett was the first woman home in 2:12:22.
“I didn’t know how I was going to perform,” he said. “I set off and didn’t know who to look out for. I ran my own race and set off at a pace I thought I would be good enough and held that all the way.
“I felt really strong on the really steep climb and that is where I opened up the gap. All my training in the Lakeland fells really paid off.”