WYE Valley Runners consolidated their place in pole position, and favourites to retain their title, in the second race in the 2016 Herefordshire Summer Off Road League held at Westhope.

The event was hosted by Hereford Couriers, with some testing long climbs to challenge the competitors from 13 participating clubs.

Reigning men’s individual champion Tim Iveson of Builth Wells, having missed the opening fixture, set about defending his title by taking an early lead on the uphill start.

Iveson gradually increased the intensity as his pursuers dropped off the pace one by one and finally coasted home 17 seconds clear of Ludlow Runners’ Jamie Shingler.

First race Matt James, of Hereford Couriers, completed the top three.

Croft Ambrey R.C.’s in-form Gemma Mallett again dominated the women’s race with another commanding run.

She finished in 20th place overall, a minute-and-a-half clear of Ludlow’s Amy Fulford with winter cross country league champion Nicola Davies, of Maldwyn Harriers, in third.

Wye Valley’s strength in depth was once more the decisive factor in securing first place, with eight runners in the top 20.

Christian Jones led the way in fourth place, with Steve Flowers (eighth), Liam Grice (ninth) and Ian Sockett (11th) providing strong support.

Laura Tootell (36th) and Becky Davies (41st) supplied the female backup to complete the team.

Croft Ambrey finished 20 points adrift, with Mallett’s outstanding effort backed by Mark Lamonby (7th), Sam Mayglothling (10th), Nigel Taylor (17th), Greg Davies (19th) and Steph Main (56th).

Home club Hereford Couriers returned to form in third place thanks to Matt James in third, Eliot Taylor fifth, Charlie Jones sixth, Paul Jones 15th, Sheryl Evans 58th and Roxanne Jones 66th.

Wye Valley have now built a substantial 74 point lead over Croft Ambrey in the series, with Couriers a further 37 points behind.

The third race in the four-race series will be held at High Vinnalls, near Ludlow, on Wednesday, July 6.