GUS Withers led the way in the Leigh 10k - despite not ever having raced the distance before.

The 16-year-old, from Leigh, completed the hilly course in 35 minutes, 12 seconds.

And the youngster - who was representing Leigh on Sea Striders - was delighted to triumph after being hit by injury in the summer.

“The win was particularly pleasing for me due to being injured throughout the the track season which meant I didn’t know what kind of shape I was in,” said Withers, who normally runs for Basildon AC.

“I had never done a 10k race in my life either so the performance itself was very pleasing.

“I didn’t expect a fast time due to the awful conditions and the hills so I just had my eyes set on coming as high up in the standings as possible.”

Withers finished ahead just ahead of Southend’s Rhys Gillard.

And he also enjoyed tackling the testing course.

“The course itself was interesting as it never allowed you to get fully into your rhythm either down to the hills or the wind along the seafront blowing you off balance,” said Withers.

“Belton Way, being only a kilometre in to the race, felt surprisingly easy in contrast with the hill up Chalkwell Avenue.

“But I did use the hills to my advantage and powered down them to try and ease a slight gap which could then be worked on along the flat.

“However, I hope now to go a lot faster than this time, on a quicker and flatter course.”

Andrea Hughes was the first female to finish.