HE 32nd Sweatshop/Dressers Arms Through The Villages race certainly lived up to its reputation as a tough, hard road race.

The 8.45-mile course over some of the more difficult hills around the West Pennine Moors had the added problem of the occasional dense areas of fog.

Rob Affleck, of Preston Harriers, showed a clear pair of heels in the final third of the race to clock a winning 47 mins 18 secs — 22 secs ahead of second-placed team-mate Gary Pennington.

Horwich’s vet 40 Richard Howarth finished comfortably ahead of Barlick Fell Runner Julian Hood who just dipped below 50 mins.

Paul Muller, nine times previous winner, finished for the 26th time within the first 10 runners. Dominic Raby produced an excellent performance to give Chorley Athletic & Triathlon Club a boost by finishing second M40 in a superb time of 53 mins exactly. In the veteran team competition, Darwen were winners and Chorley second, two points behind.