Awesome foursome for Baker

123745-01_MY_hayling_run'Runners start the Hayling Road and Trail Race.'Pic Mick Young'25/11/2012
123745-01_MY_hayling_run'Runners start the Hayling Road and Trail Race.'Pic Mick Young'25/11/2012
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Champion Piotr Meller with duathlon organiser Rob Piggot.  Picture: Neil Marshall (170306-18)

Defending champion ready for Portsmouth Duathlon mission

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James Baker fired a warning to his rivals and insisted: I’m getting better with age.

The 35-year-old Chichester ace stormed to a fourth successive victory in the Hayling 10-mile road and trail race at the weekend with another dominant display of running on a course where he is seemingly invincible.

Baker clocked a winning time of 54mins 29secs – almost 90 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger –and did it after finishing second in a Sussex League five-mile cross country race just 24 hours earlier.

He said: ‘I’ve been pretty consistent throughout the year.

‘I’ve been increasing my mileage and do 80 to 90 miles per week. Sometimes I will even do 100 miles per week.

‘But I’m running my best times now I am in my mid-30s.

‘I was fairly average when I was 20 but then I started to improve a lot a few years ago.

‘I haven’t really slowed down yet and I still think I can run some more personal bests. I’m always looking to improve.’

Baker, who was fourth in the Gosport half marathon a week before, made a cautious start and tucked in behind Victory’s Daniel Bailey (55:57) and Denmead’s Julian Manning (57:03) for the opening phase.

But he soon grasped the initiative, and even though he admitted he was still feeling the effects of his cross country exertions, Baker was pleased with his latest success.

He said: ‘That cross country race was an absolute mudbath and I felt a bit tired from that, so I set off steadily and then pulled clear after about two miles or so.

‘It was tough conditions, especially running into the wind along the seafront for the last mile or so.

‘I think I would have been under 54 minutes if it wasn’t so windy.

‘But I really enjoy running the Hayling course. It’s a bit stony in places along the Hayling Billy line but it’s quite firm ground and a bit different to a normal road race.’