The new year got off to a flying start for a Frizington runner who clinched a county title.

Zoe Brannon, 11, laced her running shoes up to race for Keswick Athletics Club at the Cumbria Cross Country Championships.

The undulating equestrian fields of Hunter Hall School at Penrith, were the setting for the competitors and the fine weather and good going ensured the races would be fast paced.

Zoe led the girls’ race from the start but the descent of the final field and a long finish straight across the playing fields resulted in a thrilling chase to the line.

Plucky rival Daisy Fielding, from Sedbergh, who was hot on Zoe’s heels on the final stretch of the race, was determined to ensure her opponent would not enjoy a comfortable finish to the day’s racing

Zoe crossed the line one second ahead of Fielding to take the Under-11s County Championship title and ensure a perfect start to 2020 for the speedy youngster.

Fielding was forced to settle for second, while Lucy Hetherington, of Eden, took third.

Zoe said: “I’ve been training really hard during autumn and winter and it isn’t easy when the weather is bad and after I’ve had a hard day at school so I’m really pleased it has paid off, and proud, especially when you are up against some really good runners.

“I love racing and my best rivals are also my best friends so it’s all good fun.”

The win came just three weeks after Zoe won the Cumbria Athletics Cross Country Series, which culminated with a win at Carlisle following wins at Cockermouth, Keswick and Workington events.