No wonder Baker loves long-distance scene

James Baker has been in top long-distance form

James Baker has been in top long-distance form

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Having already notched up two long-distance wins in October, James Baker made it a hat-trick by defending his Exmoor Stagger fell race title at Minehead.

The 39-year-old has gradually shaken off his injury problems of the late summer and seems to be returning to his best.

He won his home Chichester Half Marathon, then went to Hastings to win their special 950th anniversary Battle of Hastings race on a course between Way and Battle, before once again travelling to the west country for the category-one Stagger.

This year’s course was longer than previous years at 16.4 miles but this did not deter Baker, who once again broke the two-hour barrier with a time of 1hr 54min 37sec, just over five minutes ahead of his nearest challenger.

What makes the time even more impressive is that runners have to scale the highest point on Exmoor, Dunkery Beacon, and negotiate a boulder-strewn descent in the process.

West-country athletes must be tired of the sight of the Chichester man as he has recorded seven straight wins in the event since first entering in 2010 and had minutes to spare over all challengers during that time.

Just a couple of months before his 40th birthday, all eyes will be on Baker to see if he can continue his remarkable success into the veteran ranks.

Just a couple of months before his 40th birthday, all eyes will be on Baker to see if he can continue his remarkable success into the veteran ranks.

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