Lincolnshire's Matt Bowser crowned Northern Athletics 10km champion
International competition is still on the menu for Lincolnshire's newly-crowned Northern Athletics 10km champion, writes Beren Cross.
Matthew Bowser, 29, claimed his first senior Northern title in Clitheroe on Sunday, 11 years after his first as a junior athlete.
The Lincoln Wellington endurance ace finished second to Bristol & West's David Bishop, who was ineligible for the area championship.
In what was the slowest race on the Lancashire course for six years, Bowser ran 30 minutes six seconds in poor conditions to get within 14 seconds of his personal best.
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"It is one of the best ten kilometre races I have had. Some of the guys behind me were classy runners," he said.
"I hadn't even considered making the top-ten, let alone a medal. It was only in the last kilometre that I started thinking about it."
Bowser is Wellington's record holder for both 1,500m and 5,000m on the track.
His times of of 3:43.41 and 14:13.31 respectively, have stood since 2009, but he still harbours hopes of representing his country.
"I am trying not to say too much about what I think I might be capable of," said the former junior Great Britain international.
"My attentions are turning towards the 5,000 metres and I would expect to break 14 minutes at the first attempt.
"I do still give some thought to international vests. I look at the qualifying standards for the Commonwealth Games and think that is achievable."
The three-time City of Lincoln 10K winner is in a rich vein of form having recorded his personal best (29:52) for the distance in Telford on December 16.
And Bowser's impressive winter form has encouraged him to set even faster targets in to the new year.
"I think I could run sub-29 (minutes) at the Great Manchester Run in May," he said.
"It's a notoriously fast course and one which could offer the perfect chance to make that big step.
"I think I could get into the top-five at the Northern Cross Country Championships depending on who turns up on the day.
"Beyond that, there is the National Cross Country Championships, where I will be even fitter, top-ten is achievable."
Fellow Wellington athletes Ian Kimpton and Sophie Cowper finished 15th and 17th in their respective races at Clitheroe.
Bowser admits Kimpton and team-mate Tom Doe are reasons for his upturn in form.
"The competition to become number one at Lincoln Wellington has never been far from my thoughts," he said.
"Ian and Tom have run quickly of late and I have been keen to get the better of them. I'm pleased I have done that now."