DAN Cliffe won the senior men’s title for a magnificent seventh time at the Cheshire Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

The 28-year-old from Latchford, a teaching assistant at Cobbs Infant School in Appleton, won the crown for five successive years until injury issues left him third in the 2019 race at Birchwood Forest Park.

But having also won the title in 2011, he made it seven successes when he revelled in the muddy conditions at Knights Grange Sports Complex on Saturday to win by an incredible 66 seconds.

Cliffe, who started out with Warrington Athletics Club but now represents Liverpool Harriers, also won the Cheshire Cross Country Championships at each of the age groups.

Warrington Guardian:

Dan Cliffe leads at the start of the race

“I’d been struggling with injury running up to the race last year and I wasn’t fully fit, so it feels good to come back in better shape and get the result,” said Cliffe, a former student at Bridgewater High School and Priestley College.

“This is the start of the cross country season and this gives me something to build on for putting in some good performances at the Northerns and hopefully the national championship.

“So this is a good confidence builder.”

Warrington Guardian:

Dan Cliffe about 300 metres from home, having lapped many of the other competitors

Cliffe regularly trains with Vale Royal Athletics Club undoubtedly benefited from his knowledge of their Knights Grange course, with its long incline start and boggy sections.

“I train there once a week, so I know the course quite well. When it’s muddier, the better it is for me,” he said.

“I feel like I’m not as good on the faster ground. When it’s muddy and it’s tougher, that suits me better.

“People do say I’m mad. Uncoachable is another word people use, but I just like running and cross country is my favourite surface.

RESULTS, PICTURES, VIDEOS: What a day for Warrington Athletics Club

“Starting from under 11s, I think I’ve won the Cheshire Championships at every age group – sometimes more than once – so to win it again this year is good.

“I run every day, three other sessions per week to push myself as much as I can.

“My aim this year is just to finish as high up as I can in the major races, the Northerns and the national.

“And then go into the track season trying to get a few personal bests for 5k and 10k.”

Cliffe has also linked up with Warrington Athletics Club again.

“Warrington’s a good club. I only moved to Liverpool because there wasn’t as many senior athletes back then, though it’s good to see there is now,” he said.

“I’ve started helping coaching at Warrington. I volunteer there on a Monday night.”